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Scientists Create World's First Atomic X-Ray Laser

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the what-could-go-wrong? dept.

Shark 145

New submitter newmission33 writes "Government researchers have created the fastest, purest X-ray laser pulses ever achieved, and have fulfilled a 1967 prediction that an atomic scale X-ray laser could be made in the same manner as visible-light lasers, according to a statement released Wednesday. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used the Linac Coherent Light Source to aim a powerful X-ray source beam, a billion times brighter than any previous source, at a capsule of neon gas and triggered an 'avalanche' of X-ray emissions to become the world's first 'atomic X-ray laser.'"

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1950s buzzword salad (5, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835393)

Throw in a "jet" and "rocket" and I think we'll be all set.

Re:1950s buzzword salad (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835407)

"Slipstick"

Re:1950s buzzword salad (4, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835761)

"Nylon"

Re:1950s buzzword salad (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835931)

"space age polymers"

Re:1950s buzzword salad (3, Funny)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835577)

We are LIVING in the FUTURE, people! Now we can have x-rays of sharks with x-ray lasers strapped to their fricken heads.

Re:1950s buzzword salad (2)

Shark (78448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835815)

I call that invasion of privacy.

And they will run Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835905)

"For example, the GPLv2 in no way limits your use of the software. If you're a mad scientist, you can use GPLv2'd software for your evil plans to take over the world ("Sharks with lasers on their heads!!"), and the GPLv2 just says that you have to give source code back. And that's OK by me. I like sharks with lasers. I just want the mad scientists of the world to pay me back in kind. I made source code available to them, they have to make their changes to it available to me. After that, they can fry me with their shark-mounted lasers all they want. " - Linus Torvalds (2006)

Re:1950s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836815)

Hi honey how was your day? OH my god why are you GLOWING in the dark?

Death ray (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835587)

I bet this could be used to make a death ray.

My Ray needs are different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836793)

I'm from Arkansas. I was really hoping it could be used to make a Meth-Ray.

Re:Death ray (2)

bratwiz (635601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836871)

How come its always DEATH rays. Why not make a LIFE ray???

Re:Death ray (2)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837035)

You mean sperm?
Seriously now, what do you expect, magical healing? Ressurection?
It's usually easier to destroy something than it is to create it.
All you need to do is give entropy a little helping hand.

Re:Death ray (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38837081)

Don't want to be picky, picky but sperm is not actually a -ray-. Please consult your mummy and daddy, they will help.

Re:1950s buzzword salad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835591)

The Politbyro will be shocked to hear the Americans have their nuclear lasers. After a long discussion it will be decided that the Soviet Union should immediately begin the preparations for countering this threat by the capitalistic America. During the session a distinctive cry was heard: "But I though they had it already at 1963!" No members will be banished to Siberia, this time.

Re:1950s buzzword salad (1)

snicho99 (984884) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835849)

This'll really put the whole "sharks can't get cancer" thing to the test.

Quick! Get the LASER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835417)

Analyze those bacteria!

Re:Quick! Get the LASER! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835465)

That will be difficult since your average bacterium lacks an anus - wait, what?

Re:Quick! Get the LASER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835589)

God damn, if only I had mod points...

Re:Quick! Get the LASER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836071)

It is fun replying to my own messages.

Re:Quick! Get the LASER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836615)

Only on Thursdays.

See you next Wednesday

Re:Quick! Get the LASER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836703)

That's "analize"

is an xray pump laser truly needed? (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835437)

I don't mean if this is useful or not, the article clearly states how it is.

I mean, the pump laser, the one that excites the lasing medium (in this case neon gas). Does it have to be x-ray?

Would a coherent beam of some other, more easily produced frequency, or even a highly charged cathode beam, be sufficient to induce the xray emission cascade as well?

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (3, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835773)

"A laser is coherent light? So it talks?"

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835909)

"A laser is coherent light? So it talks?"

More intelligently than many of the threads on Slashdot.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836275)

It was a line from the movie Real Genius [imdb.com]

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (5, Informative)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835799)

As far as my knowledge goes, yes the pump laser has to be X-ray. The energy of the emitted photons from the laser are always lower than the excitation energy of the lasing medium. So you need the high photon energy of x-rays to excite the medium to lase photons of lower (but still x-ray) energy.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835855)

You might try to excite the medium with an electron beam, but when the electrons hit the vessel you have the neon in, they'll make x-rays anyway. The trouble is they'll scatter.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835997)

while normally true there is a type of laser called an up-conversion laser, whereby two or more photons excite an ion to release energy greater than the pumping frequency.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (2)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836087)

Don't forget about parametric conversion or harmonic generation. I'm not sure how well developed our x-ray nonlinear materials are though.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835889)

There's a big rave next weekend. I'd like to take one of these. Where do you purchase them?

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836077)

The LCLS isn't really a laser. It's a coherent synchrotron radiation source. But yes, intense x-rays are required to knock electrons out of the inner shells of the neon atoms.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836123)

What if you strongly ionized the neon prior to pump excitation?

If you shred off the outer valences, and simultaneously expose the gain medium to a very strong positive static potential, the neon ions would be much easier to excite.

Part of the energy in the emission would come from the already altered groundstate of the gain medium, rather than having to come from the pump source.

Eg, you use a very hard UV laser, (much easier to make) and hold the neon in an electrically agitated state.

It might not be as "clean" in terms of being a pure xray laser..(electrons bumped out of the containing vessel by the uv photons would be snatched up by the very electron hungry neon ions, releasing other species of photon.) But it would be easier to assemble.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837033)

It might not be as "clean" in terms of being a pure xray laser..(electrons bumped out of the containing vessel by the uv photons would be snatched up by the very electron hungry neon ions, releasing other species of photon.) But it would be easier to assemble.

I have this image in my head.....

Crazy Karlov's Weapon Emporium

Karlov - "Why go to all the expense of purchase of commercial Death Ray? For just a fraction of price I build for you economical Death Ray from used weapons lab parts sold at auction by my cousin Mikhail. Ehhh, 70% powerful as those really expensive "military grade" models. Might leak some radiation and possibly explode, but nobody lives forever right!? Besides, one fried asshole smells like another fried asshole. I sweeten deal with some hand grenades and American cigarettes. Take home to kids. Of course, any weapon explodes, you get 50% of next purchase!"

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836079)

For this type of atomic X-ray laser I think the pump needs to have a higher photon energy that the lasing output. It is very much like a conventional laser except that the transitions occur at higher energies. If this is the experiment I am thinking of it was done a while ago but probably just published. Its a very nice demonstration.

Joe Frisch
SLAC / LCLS

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836453)

Not having read the research, I feel unencumbered by facts so I'll speculate. Irresponsible, I know, but such fun!

Maybe it wouldn't take an X-ray excitation source if a lower energy source were bright enough. I presume there's some energy transition in the Ne electronic structure that SLAC's X-ray flashlight pumps to make the coherent X-ray emission they seek. Maybe the X-ray pump is high enough energy that each X-ray photon has enough energy to pump the Ne transition. This sounds like linear absorption to me. So the question is, can this transition be pumped by photons of lower energy that individually don't have the energy to excite whatever transition in neon's electronic structure that gives them the X-ray output?

Maybe.

If two (or more?) photons, each of which has less energy than is needed to excite an absorption mechanism, arrive at the potential absorber within a sufficiently short time, and if th sum of the two photons' energies is greater than that needed to effect excitation, the excitation can happen. See "two photon absorption".

So perhaps, if you had a source of low energy photons that was bright enough (enough photons/unit time), multiple photon mechanisms might pump a Ne X-ray laser. Maybe we wouldn't have to have SLAC to make it happen.

Don't know if this is possible or practical. I think it's possible, but I think the absorption probabilities are pretty low so it would take a hella bright low energy source to match the SLAC X-ray pump flashlight re Ne excitation rate.

I'd be delighted if somebody who actually knows about this stuff could set me straight.

Re:is an xray pump laser truly needed? (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836753)

It would have to be a higher energy (shorter wavelength) pumping input, e.g. a gamma ray pulse [wikipedia.org] .

This (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835441)

Sounds way more impressive than it probably actually is.

Re:This (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835475)

Nonsense.

This is a fantastic advancement. Remember those photographs of alkanes that showed the P orbital zones slashdot ran a story on sometime last year

Remember how fuzzy they were?

This badboy would make thoe pictures much, much clearer.

Re:This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835551)

So. Do you have a Link to the Alkane-Photographs?

Re:This (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835631)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8225491.stm [bbc.co.uk]

These were taken with an AFM, (atomic force microscope. Essentially a single atom stuck to the end of a nanoscopic cantelever) but this xray laser light source would theoretically permit direct image capture, at very high speeds.

Xray wavelengths are very tiny. The only light with a smaller wavelength is gamma ray emissions.

Xrays are frequently used to study crystal structues, but the very precise nature and rapid activation speed of this source makes it useful for a whole lot more.

Re:This (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836129)

hmm i wonder when when they will build a gamma wave laser so we can image fundamental particles.

Re:This (3, Informative)

Ruie (30480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836325)

That's how LHC works, they just use particles other than gamma rays. 3.5 TeV corresponds to wavelength of 2e-19 m.

Re:This (5, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835755)

Remember how fuzzy they were?

This badboy would make thoe pictures much, much clearer.

Actually, those pictures are fuzzy partly because the orbitals themselves are fuzzy. You probably can't get much more detail than that; the detail doesn't exist.

At any rate, X-rays interacting with a single molecule like this one would likely knock electrons right off of it, thereby disrupting the very thing you're trying to image. Crystal X-ray diffraction imaging doesn't have that problem because of the countless copies of molecules available.

Re:This (5, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836047)

You probably can't get much more detail than that; the detail doesn't exist.

You just have to Zoom, then Enhance.

Re:This (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836999)

Don't forget to uncrop first.

Re:This (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837059)

Remember how fuzzy they were?

Actually, those pictures are fuzzy partly because the orbitals themselves are fuzzy.

::sigh:: "it can't be helped."

Not x-rays (0)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835457)

They weren't x-rays they were z-rays but z is just as good as x in fact better.

I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835461)

...but I want one!

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (5, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835509)

Disect the terms.

Atomic = the lasing medium is made of single, free atoms of the same element.

Xray = emits photons in the xray portion of the spectrum.

Laser = light is amplified by the stimulated emission of radiation. A source light source causes electrons in the laser's gain medium to fall out of their normal orbitals. When the fall back in, they emit a photon of a very specific wavelength. These photons bump more electrons out, more photons get produced, and the beam amplifies.

So, an atomic xray laser is a laser using atomic monomers as the gain medium, that produces coherent xray radiation.

Now then. Xray radiation is a powerful ionising radiation. This is not a toy. It does very bad things to living tissue, and can destroy chemical bonds purely from the beam's energy. It is a penetrating radiation, and is therefor dangerous even through walls. Keep out of reach of children and slashdot posters.

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835733)

HIgher energy X-rays are penetrating, but these are of fairly low energy. The Nature abstract (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7382/full/nature10721.html) gives a bit more info. The X-ray energy is 849 eV. X-rays at this energy which are actually attenuated pretty well by air, and certainly by walls.

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835749)

Fantastic. I shall read it when I have more time!

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835897)

You make me wish I'd paid greater attention in my high school chemistry course. Thanks for the details! :)

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (3, Informative)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836095)

We treat the X-ray safety in a way similar to the high energy beam safety at the lab. Shielding, interlocked doors, monitoring, etc. For the soft X-rays in this experiment there is very little risk, they don't go far through air, but for hard X-ray operation we need to use more protection.

-- -Joe Frisch

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837007)

Hardcore X-ray operation-... now WITHOUT protection!
(Surely I can't have been the only one to think this)

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836469)

I don't care what you say, I'm totally bring one to the next Burning Man Festival.

aRe:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836527)

I would like to point out that the neon is not actually a gain medium. They lose an enormous amount of power in this process; however, they get a much tighter distribution of frequencies and are able to more precisely control the pulses. The source of radiation for this is a laser. It's a free electron laser; until now, nobody was ever able to get any atomic medium to meet lasing conditions.

The reason this is is interesting is that as laser frequency increases (and thus photon energy) it becomes extraordinarily difficult to maintain a population inversion. Very cool stuff.

Please do not look into the atomic x-ray laser (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836735)

WARNING: Do not look into the atomic x-ray laser with remaining head.

Re:I don't know what an atomic x-ray laser is... (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836195)

I bet the TSA has one first.

Hello, San Diego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835481)

"atomic"... Spooky.

Obligatory... (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835487)

"The Crossbow Project. There's No Defense Like a Good Offense."

Re:Obligatory... (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835723)

What else did you think a super phase conjugate tracking system is for?

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835919)

Yes, but would you be prepared if gravity reversed itself?

Re:Obligatory... (1)

tickticker (549972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836011)

I'm just pondering the immortal Socrates who said, "I drank what?"

Re:Obligatory... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837099)

"The Crossbow Project. There's No Defense Like a Good Offense."

I find this offensive. Furthermore, you neglect to acknowledge several defensive strategies than are like a "Good Offense"... Such as derogatory remarks followed by the phrase "No Offense".

Now we have a DEATH Ray! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835499)

Yay. Too bad it doesn't really help society much.

Family Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835559)

Chorus: A.N.N.A. rules!

Peter: 'Cause I kick all the bad guys in their jewels!

Chorus: A.N.N.A. won!

Peter: Thanks to my gamma ray atomic gun

Chorus: Dance and shout, he's the world's greatest ninja there's no doubt

Peter: Though they try to defeat me, they can all just freakin' eat me

Brian: 'Cause he blew all of us away

Peter (and Chorus): On the planet of Siam there's no one as tough as I am, just as surely as Paul Lynde was gay!

http://familyguy.wikia.com/wiki/A.N.N.A._Rules [wikia.com]

Memories... (2)

Fawkes-force5 (2561623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835625)

of reading Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and wishing I could find an abandoned museum with a freakin' x-ray laser in it.

Re:Memories... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837121)

of reading Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and wishing I could find an abandoned museum with a freakin' x-ray laser in it.

Yes, I too suffer from not being able to find certain artifacts within my own memories...
Now where did I put that Epsilon-Ray laser?

But will it blend? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835659)

But will it blend?

Not like a standard laser (4, Informative)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835681)

I wouldn't call this laser "the same manner as visible-light lasers" really, it lacks one of the fundamental features of a normal laser - self amplification via feedback from mirrors.
It sounds like this could be the _basis_ for a laser, as a pump source causes superluminescence, but without feedback it won't be particularly directional.
Perhaps if it can be triggered to start the avalanche at one end a directional burst could be achieved though, kind of like a nitrogen laser [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not like a standard laser (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835713)

I can't think of any materials with which to create an xray mirror... not of sufficient quality anyway. Without some of those, and an xray beam splitter, you couldn't possibly self amplify...

If this were built on a very tiny scale, so that the neon atoms were all in a row (trap them inside a nanotube maybe?) Perahps a nanoscale version could be made directional? (Or at least have a directional bias)

Re:Not like a standard laser (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38835875)

I could be way off base, but ISTR hearing that X-rays reflect well off some metals (or metal-on-glass) at low (grazing) angles of incidence, which would permit a multiple-mirror resonance circuit. Of course, it'd be hell to align, and the multiple reflections might cause too much loss...

Re:Not like a standard laser (5, Informative)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836105)

Grazing incidence mirrors work well - we use them to steer the main X-ray beam. The mirror system we have works up to 24 KeV X-rays but with shallower angles you could go higher.

You can also use crystals to reflect X-rays over large angles - even 180 degrees using Bragg diffraction. The limit here is that the X-ray beam needs to be almost exactly a single wavelength.

--- Joe Frisch

Re:Not like a standard laser (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835819)

This would be neither as directional nor as coherent as a conventional laser because of the lack of those mirrors. Those are properties that follow from having a high quality resonator. It may be (IMO is) impossible to duplicate those properties with x-rays.

Re:Not like a standard laser (3, Interesting)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836111)

The main LCLS X-ray laser also works without mirrors, but it has so much gain that the final beam is pretty close to transform limit in the transverse - almost a coherent as a conventional laser.

--- Joe Frisch
SLAC

Re:Not like a standard laser (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836127)

A resonator is not an essential feature of a laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated emission of Radiation).

Re:Not like a standard laser (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836183)

Yes, a resonator is an essential feator of a laser. The acronym is a bit of a misnomer. A light amplifier itself does not make a laser. A Laser must make coherent light, and that happens through 1) a gain medium and 2) an oscillator.

Re:Not like a standard laser (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836353)

LASER - light amplification by stimulated emissing of radiation. So it could just be an amplifier. However, even if you want directionality the resonator is still not necessary - you just need to assure that the mode of your choice has higher gain than other modes.

For example, make your lasing medium into a long thin rod - it will emit along the rod axis (in both directions).

Re:Not like a standard laser (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836867)

Yes, a resonator is an essential feator of a laser.

No, it's not as this example [wikipedia.org] demonstrates.

Even better, a quote from here [wikipedia.org] :

Because of high gain in the lasing medium, short upper-state lifetimes (1–100 ps), and problems associated with construction of X-ray mirrors, X-ray lasers usually operate without any resonator.

Burning question (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835751)

Where are the atomic-level sharks with atomic-level lasers attached to their heads?

Re:Burning question (3, Funny)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836117)

The main X-ray laser is about a mile long. We are working on breeding bigger sharks......

100 years from now (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835769)

This will probably be handheld.

Re:100 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836419)

Sounds about right, although 100 years would make it one Star Trek technology that's only on time instead of early.

Re:100 years from now (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836421)

This will probably be handheld.

Bah. Wicked Lasers will be selling it for $300 in 5 to 10 years. ;-)

Does anyone know (2)

lintmint (539531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835771)

Where I can get a few fricken sharks?

Re:Does anyone know (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837141)

If you want fricken sharks you must frack them yourself.
No one's foolish enough to believe they're toothy mermaids anymore.

Scientists Are Awesome (2)

sammcj (1616573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835777)

Just saying...

Re:Scientists Are Awesome (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835795)

Still waiting on my jet pack... (tap tap...)

not a physicist but... (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835805)

the first use I thought for such a device was to make home-size non-Uranium nuclear reactors (Thorium, Hafnium) a practical reality.

fastest? (1)

ebonum (830686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38835813)

My guess is the x-rays travel at 299,792,458 m/s - just like every other photon.

Perhaps the poster's meaning is "pulse with the shortest duration"

Re:fastest? (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836053)

Don't forget the avalanche period.

A laser is a stimulated light source. It emits under stimulation. Part of that stimulation is self generated.

Like a transistor, it continues to operate for a short time when the source of the stimulation gets shut off. Likewise, when the beam is turned on, it takes a tiny amount of time for the photon avalanche to occur. (Speed of photon propogation is not the same as C in vaccuum.)

Thus, the speed of the laser is how fast it is on/offable.

This Might Be Very Useful in Semiconductors (2)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836097)

With fabs already using DeepUV lasers and phase-shifting masks, the ability to do x-ray pulses would seem to me (I am not a phsyicist) to make it possibly to use for wafer lithography to produce much smaller chip geometries than we have today. A pulse laser would make it much easier to do that without damaging the chip (since x-rays are very freaking energetic indeed). So Moore's Law might get a new lease on life, assuming that this technology is capable of being commercialized.

A Waste of Energy will be required. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836727)

For the silicon lithographic process, the X-rays pulses are not sufficient. This process requires longer exposition of the light (as the visible irradiation, overall ultraviolet irradiation) that is generally continuous, but the X-rays are simply discontinous pulses of excessive waste of energies!.

Don't think that it's an easy solved solution.

The laser (e.g. red or green) has a directional canyon of photons as the ruby, and it's optimized. But the X-rays can't, but when they try, almost of the angles are wasted unoptimizely for imitating the laser-like of the X-rays unless that the material engineers discover new materials for X-rays that synchronize the randomity of the irradiations to statistical unidirectional vectors. Generally, these new materials to be discovered in near future should be as crystaline for the frequencies of the light or mainly of X-rays.

JCPM: don't waste resources, and don't use these experiments for evil purposes.

Re:A Waste of Energy will be required. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836851)

For the almost ecologic lithographic process, i should recommend Sun's rays, it has a longer exposition of light but limited to 1/3 of day due to the Earth's rotation unless that their processes are on orbiting satelites.

If the Sun's rays are filtered adequately then their wavelengths could be thinner than deeper UV and much more ecologic than X-rays.

JCPM: please, saludate me honourly.

Footfall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38836383)

Cool, we will be ready to take on the Fithp when they attack us

In other news (1)

eudas (192703) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836535)

Vault-Tec stock is up!

xray laser was done before (1)

bwanaaa (653461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38836811)

since E=h*v, the energy output is amazing- a true death ray - you could fry any missile in flight. what's the name of those russian things the iraqis are shooting at israel? Actually, Edward teller conceived an interesting design for an xray laser. A thermonuclear weapon i space encased by a porcupine shell of tungsten rods. The rods are aimed at their targts an when the thermonuclear weapon is detonated, the gamma rays shoot down the tungsten rods and xrays are generated. presto, goldfinger would be jealous. of course there is the little problem of clean up afterwards...

European XFEL (1)

hvdh (1447205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38837047)

There's a similar project currently being built in Hamburg, Germany, the European XFEL. Compared to the LCLS, it will have 8 times the maximum, 600 times the average brilliance, up to 3 times smaller wavelength, and/or 200 times the flash rate.
http://www.xfel.eu/overview/in_brief [www.xfel.eu]
http://www.xfel.eu/overview/in_comparison [www.xfel.eu]

I have one simple request (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38837145)

And that is to have sharks with frickin' X-Ray laser beams attached to their heads!

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