Table-Top Free-Electron Laser

The novel laser-based electron accelerator scheme not only allows a reduction in size of the accelerator itself, but also has the potential to drive a free-electron laser (FEL) with significantly reduced overall dimensions. The electron accelerator of conventional XFELs are typically on the kilometer scale and the undulator (which is used for radiation generation) on the hundred meters length. A laser-wakefield accelerator is able to generate electron beams over cm acceleration distances with parameters comparable to (and in some regards even better than) conventional sources. The pulse duration unique to LWFAs is intrinsically ultrashort (recently measured to be ~3 fs), which is more than one order of magnitude shorter than those in XFELs. These unique properties of LWFA electron pulses allow to also reduce the required length of the XFEL undulator: from hundreds of meters to only a few meters.

Such a source would lead to a significant reduction in size and cost and to a widespread proliferation of FELs sources on the university scale.

Relevant Publications:

Design considerations for table-top, laser-based VUV and X-ray free electron lasers
F. Grüner, S. Becker, U. Schramm, T. Eichner, M. Fuchs, R. Weingartner, D. Habs, J. Meyer-ter-Vehn, M. Geissler, M. Ferrario, L. Serafini, B. van der Geer, H. Backe, W. Lauth, S. Reiche
Applied Physics B 86, 431-435 (2007)