European X-ray free-electron laser | laser


The X-rays are generated by self-amplified spontaneous emission (SASE), where electrons interact with the radiation that they or their neighbours emit. Since it is not possible to build mirrors to reflect the X-rays for multiple passes through the electron beam gain medium, as with light lasers, the X-rays are generated in a single pass through the beam. The result is spontaneous emission of X-ray photons which are coherent (in phase) like laser light, unlike X-rays emitted by ordinary sources like X-ray machines, which are incoherent. The peak brilliance of the European XFEL is billions of times higher than that of conventional X-ray light sources, while the average brilliance is 10,000 times higher.[7] The higher electron energy allows the production of shorter wavelengths.[8] The duration of the light pulses can be less than 100 femtoseconds.[7]

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