This novel method could shrink the equipment needed to make laser pulses billionths of a billionth of a second long for studying ultra-speedy electron movements in solids, chemical reactions and future electronics.
Tripling the energy and refining the shape of optical laser pulses at LCLS’s Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument allows researchers to recreate higher-pressure conditions and explore unsolved questions relevant to fusion energy, plasma physics and materials science.
A serendipitous discovery lets researchers spy on this self-assembly process for the first time with SLAC’s X-ray synchrotron. What they learn will help them fine-tune precision materials for electronics, catalysis and more.
The research team was able to watch energy from light flow through atomic ripples in a molecule. Such insights may provide new ways to develop a class of materials that improve efficiency and reduce the size of applications like solar cells and memory storage devices.
Extraordinarily precise measurements -- within millionths of a billionth of a second and a billionth of a hair's breadth -- show this ‘electron-phonon coupling’ can be far stronger than predicted, and could potentially play a role in unconventional superconductivity.