Technology: X-ray lasers can spot elusive electron motion - - PressFrom - US
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Technology X-ray lasers can spot elusive electron motion

18:30  03 december  2019
18:30  03 december  2019 Source:   engadget.com

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Latest in Tomorrow. X - ray lasers can spot elusive electron motion . Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab have developed a technique, X - ray laser -enhanced attosecond pulse generation (XLEAP), that can observe even the fastest motions of electrons .

A free- electron laser (FEL) is a kind of laser whose lasing medium consists of very-high-speed electrons moving freely through a magnetic structure, hence the term free electron .

Scientists can track the movements of an atom's nucleus relatively easily, but electrons have proven elusive -- they move so fast that they tend to be reduced to blurs. Now, however, those movements could be crystal clear. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab have developed a technique, X-ray laser-enhanced attosecond pulse generation (XLEAP), that can observe even the fastest motions of electrons. The laser pulses at just 280 attoseconds, or billionths of a billionth of a second, and can create snapshots of electrons to track their progress. The trick was to modify the laser in a way that squeezed electrons into tighter groups, making for shorter X-ray bursts.

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X - ray lasers can spot elusive electron motion . 15m ago.

X - ray lasers like LCLS routinely generate light flashes that last a few millionths of a billionth of a second, or femtoseconds. The shorter and brighter the electron bunches, the shorter the X - ray bursts they create, so one approach for making attosecond X - ray pulses is to compress the electrons

smoke coming out of it

X-ray lasers like SLAC's Linac Coherent Lightsource have an undulator, or a magnet that converts some of the energy from electron beams into X-ray bursts. The team added two magnets in front of the undulator to shape the electron groups into narrow, very intense spikes (some nearly 500 megawatts) with a wide variety of energies. From there, they could get attosecond-level X-ray flashes.

It was another matter to measure the X-rays. That required creating a device that sent the X-rays through a gas and stripped them of some of their electrons to create an electron cloud. An infrared laser gives a "kick" to those electrons, leading to different movement speeds that help scientists calculate the length of an X-ray pulse.

This method could lead to breakthroughs in... well, virtually any scientific field that studies atoms. Biologists, chemists and material scientists could more accurately study processes that start at the electron level, such as photosynthesis. And the technology should get better -- SLAC expects both refinements and the next-gen LCLS-II laser (which shoots X-ray pulses 8,000 times faster) to allow for more intense and potentially shorter pulses. It might soon be possible to study the activities of molecules at the shortest possible intervals.

SLAC, Nature

X-rays reveal how the shutter button works on the iPhone Smart Battery Case .
There are some neat electronics in the caseIf you look closely at the picture at the top of this post, you can see two thin circuits running down from the button toward the battery before they take a right turn to the circuit board, which connects to the Lightning port, which transmits data to and from the iPhone connected to the case. Presumably, when you push the button, those circuits are telling the circuit board to tell the iPhone to open up the camera app so you can snap photos.

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