Attosecond X-rays from Relativistic Plasmas: How to fit a Particle Accelerator on a Table


Frist 307

A powerful short-pulse laser shining on the surface of a solid will create a plasma, accelerate electrons to almost the speed of light and produce a flash of bright x-ray radiation shorter than a millionth of a billionth of a second. These bursts of x-ray light can be used like a camera shutter -- the fastest camera shutter ever built -- to capture the dynamics of the most rapid processes in nature. This project describes the mechanism of attosecond x-ray generation and discusses efficiency improvements to maximize intensity, showing how kilometer-scale synchrotron facilities can be shrunk to fit on a laboratory tabletop.