Towards table-top free-electron lasers (FELs) using laser-accelerated electron beams

Thursday, May 28, 2009 (All day)
Matthias Fuchs

Laser-plasma accelerators can accelerate electrons to relativistic energies over distances three orders of magnitude smaller than required by conventional accelerators. Recent breakthroughs have led to stable, quasi-monoenergetic electron beams in the gigaelectronvolt-scale from few-centimeter accelerator lengths. Owing to their unprecedented features, such as intrinsically ultrashort pulse durations and expected low emittances, these electron beams are perfectly suited for driving a next generation of X-ray light sources. Both, unique coherent free-electron lasers (FELs) and spontaneous undulator light sources with femtosecond to attosecond pulse durations could be realized on a laboratory-sized scale. The wide-spread operation of such X-ray sources holds promise for an enormous impact in many fields of science, technology and medicine. In this talk, I will discuss laser-wakefield acceleration, present design considerations for a table-top FEL as well as first experimental breakthroughs towards this end, manifesting itself in the first laser-driven undulator source in the soft-X-ray range.