Laser light in the deep infrared

Aug 23, 2006
One of the undulators at the FZR
One of the undulators at the FZR.

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 of the free-electron laser facility went into operation, producing light up to the hard-to-access range of the deep “far” infrared.

An undulator is the heart of a free-electron laser, because it transforms the energy of fast electrons into intense laser light through a special arrangement of magnets.

The Dresden FEL now covers the wavelength range, invisible to humans, from 3 to 150 micrometers. The asset of every free-electron laser is its tunability, i.e., the wavelength or the “color” of the light can be adjusted at will over a large range.

Scientists at FZR have a particular interest in this far-infrared light, which is located between the ranges of microwaves and the infrared and is often called Terahertz (THz) radiation. The generation and application of this radiation has become a very hot topic recently, with many researchers worldwide active in this field. While many practical applications will eventually require compact and cheap sources, basic research needs also intense sources - and to date there are virtually no other intense THz sources available apart from free-electron lasers.

At FZR, THz radiation is used in particular to study the dynamical behavior of electrons in semiconductor nanostructures. Such knowledge is important for the development of ever faster electronic devices, and thus, computers. The FEL at the Forschungszentrum Rossendorf is supported by the European Union (EU) as a user facility under the name FELBE.

200 experts from all over the world will have the chance to visit the new light source at FZR on August 30. They are participants of the FEL2006 Conference, taking place in Berlin from August 27 to September 1. This 28th international FEL conference is jointly organized by BESSY, the organization who runs the well-known synchrotron source south of Berlin, and FZR.

Source: Forschungszentrum Rossendorf

Explore further: Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Related Stories

Google big Android Wear update adds functions, fun

51 minutes ago

Android Wear's Monday announcement of new features is drawing many compliments from those watching out for what's next in making a smartwatch purchase. The new attractions include the lightness of wearing ...

Extending climate predictability beyond El Nino

41 minutes ago

Tropical Pacific climate variations and their global weather impacts may be predicted much further in advance than previously thought, according to research by an international team of climate scientists ...

Data deluge: MLB rolls out Statcast analytics on Tuesday

2 hours ago

Which outfielder sprints the fastest and runs the longest to snag line drives into the gap? Which shortstop is best at throwing from the grass to nip the runner at first? Which catcher gets the ball to second ...

Recommended for you

Heat makes electrons spin in magnetic superconductors

Apr 24, 2015

Physicists have shown how heat can be exploited for controlling magnetic properties of matter. The finding helps in the development of more efficient mass memories. The result was published yesterday in Physical Review Le ...

ICARUS neutrino experiment to move to Fermilab

Apr 23, 2015

A group of scientists led by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia will transport the world's largest liquid-argon neutrino detector across the Atlantic Ocean from CERN to its new home at the US Department of Energy's ...

National security on the move with high energy physics

Apr 23, 2015

Scientists are developing a portable technology that will safely and quickly detect nuclear material hidden within large objects such as shipping cargo containers or sealed waste drums. The researchers, led ...

User comments : 0

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.