Free-electron lasers

Free-electron lasers create coherent light by constantly accelerating a beam of electrons. Free-electron lasers are particularly useful because they can produce radiation with a short-wavelength, down to just a few tenths of a nanometre. Thus, it is hoped they will become an important tool for atom-level material characterization.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Editorial |

    This month in a dedicated Focus issue, we look back at the first decade of X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) and forward to the challenges and opportunities lying ahead.

  • Research Highlights |

    Over the past decade, several X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) facilities have been constructed and started operation worldwide. New, high-repetition XFELs are expected to open to users in the next 5 years.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • News & Views |

    Increased bandwidth and fluctuations are hurdles on the path towards generating intense fully coherent X-ray free-electron laser output. A recent experiment at FERMI Trieste demonstrated that these difficulties can be overcome by an approach called echo-enabled harmonic generation.

    • Li Hua Yu
    •  & Timur Shaftan
    Nature Photonics 13, 513-515
  • News & Views |

    Irradiating arrays of metal nanowires with intense femtosecond laser pulses produces high-brightness picosecond X-ray pulses. By specifically tailoring the plasma properties, up to 20% conversion efficiency of optical light into X-rays can be achieved.

    • Daniel Rolles
    Nature Photonics 12, 62-63