The main motivation for the two currently constructed X-ray Free Electron Lasers (FEL) is the neef of an experimental platform for revolutionary applications such as diffraction imaging of single particles or biomolecules. The first hard X-ray laser will become operational in about 5 years. Until then, there is an urgent need for alternative and much cheaper XUV sources of extreme intensity, with broad availability for potential users. With this proposal, we wish to exploit a unique opportunity to engin eer a leap in the development of compact XUV sources adapted to biology and complementary fields. In the first step, we will dramatically increase the intensity available from High Harmonic Generation (HHG) XUV sources by six orders of magnitude compared to present state, by combining optimized tunable HHG and subsequent amplification in laser plasma. The source development consists of high risk/high impact approachfor ultra-intense, tabletop, XUV generation, extending the concept of a laser chain to the XUV range. Using HHG as a seed oscillator, and a perfectly controlled laser-produced plasma as an amplifier, our goal is to generate pulses with energy of 0.1-1.0 mJ near 13nm, with high repetition rate. The tremendous potential of this source will be dir ectly demonstrated in biological flash imaging and in novel High Field experiments. We note that small, extremely intense XUV sources will have a significant impact on a very broad area in science and industry. These new sources represent a technological leap on laser chains, extending the high intensity domain to the XUV range on small-scale facilities. The brightness of the amplified harmonic beam will be at the same level as the first-stage VUV-FEL, enabling many European groups to start research link ed to this cutting-edge development in laser science.
Call for proposal
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