New Technology Enables Record-high Average Power Soft X-ray Laser Beams on a Table Top

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers affiliated with the Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology (ERC EUV), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center headquartered at Colorado State University, developed a new type of efficient high-power, ultra-short-pulse, solid-state laser. This device is driven entirely by laser diodes that produce high-energy infrared laser pulses of picosecond duration (one trillionth of a second) at an unprecedented repetition rate of 100 Hz.

Impact/benefits: 

Using this new technology, a compact laser operating at wavelengths 50 times shorter than visible light at 100 shots per second has been demonstrated to produce record-high average power. These results open new applications in science and technology requiring a high average flux of coherent soft-wavelength laser radiation. 

Explanation/Background: 

The generation of pencil-like beams of soft x-ray laser light on a table top has the potential to transform numerous applications in science and technology. An example is defect- tolerant printing of nano-structures.

Bright, soft x-ray laser beams can be generated by heating materials to extreme temperatures (similar to those encountered on the surface of the sun) by irradiation with an intense optical-laser pulse. A conceptual diagram is shown in the figure.