First verification of a new experimental method at FLASH

The single-shot image of a sample made at FLASH – left: the diffractive pattern of the micro structure, right: the image of the probe damaged by the laser pulse.
Credit: H. N. Chapman, J. Hajdu et al.

An international team of scientists achieved a world first by taking a high-resolution diffraction image of a tiny non-crystalline sample with a single extremely short and intense and coherent laser shot of just 25 femtoseconds duration. In spite of highest energy density, the sample evaporated only after the single-shot image was captured. – Yesterday, this result was published online in Nature Physics.

As the only free-electron laser providing such light pulses in the soft x-ray range, FLASH is the world’s first radiation source to permit such and other proof-of-principle experiments. “Due to pioneering efforts in accelerator physics at DESY, FLASH is also the first user facility in this area that is available to a broad scientific community,” underlines DESY’s research director Jochen Schneider. ”The experiment backs up the high hopes for revolutionary experimental opportunities with hard X-ray free-electron lasers, such as the European XFEL facility.”

Further Information: DESY Press Release, Publication in Nature Physics online