Free-Electron Laser goes over the rainbow

December 9, 2010 By Kandice Carter
Terahertz Spectrum

Somewhere over the rainbow of visible light is an untapped goldmine of research potential, where energy sources, novel materials and environmental research are possible. That goldmine may soon be open to researchers using the Free-Electron Laser at DOE's Jefferson Lab.

In August, the FEL delivered more than 50 watts of , opening a new band of the for experiments.

The spectrum comprises all the colors of light separated into bands by wavelength. The FEL was originally commissioned as an and is also a prolific source of terahertz light at long wavelengths. Just above these is the visible band: the familiar rainbow consisting of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. On the shorter side of the visible is ultraviolet.

Many research applications will benefit from the ultrafast pulses of ultraviolet light that the FEL can deliver at the wavelength of 124 nanometers (10 eV photon energy). While current sources of this wavelength of light are severely limited, it is highly prized for its potential science and technology development applications, including use as a dating method for samples that are beyond the reach of carbon-14 dating and studying the structure of novel materials, such as high-temperature superconductors.

FEL operators are currently testing the FEL's capabilities and are working to transmit the light to specially equipped labs for experiment.

Explore further: Most powerful tunable laser: 10 kilowatts of infrared light from free electron laser

Related Stories

Free-electron laser targets fat

April 9, 2006

Fat may have finally met its match: laser light. Researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator ...

Laser light in the deep infrared

August 23, 2006

Free-electron lasers (FEL) are large and expensive, but they can deliver unique light for research and applications. On August 21, 2006, at the Forschungszentrum Rossendorf (FZR) in Dresden, Germany, the second undulator ...

Tapering a Free-Electron Laser to Extract More Juice

November 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from the NSLS and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) have demonstrated a technique that could be used to significantly improve the quantity and quality of light produced from ...

Recommended for you

Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

July 29, 2015

Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic ...

Scientists unlock secrets of stars through aluminium

July 29, 2015

Physicists at the University of York have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins of the Solar System.

Rogue wave theory to save ships

July 29, 2015

Physicists have found an explanation for rogue waves in the ocean and hope their theory will lead to devices to warn ships and save lives.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.