Few-cycle pulse generation in an X-ray free-electron laser

David Dunning, Brian McNeil, Neil Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


A method is proposed to generate trains of few-cycle x-ray pulses from a Free-Electron Laser (FEL) amplifier via a compact `afterburner' extension consisting of several few-period undulator sections separated by electron chicane delays. Simulations show that in the hard x-ray (wavelength 0.1 nm; photon energy 10 keV) and with peak powers approaching normal FEL saturation (GW) levels, root mean square pulse durations of 700 zeptoseconds may be obtained. This is approximately two orders of magnitude shorter than that possible for normal FEL amplifier operation. The spectrum is discretely multichromatic with a bandwidth envelope increased by approximately two orders of magnitude over un-seeded FEL amplifier operation. Such a source would significantly enhance research opportunity in atomic dynamics, and push capability towards nuclear dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104801
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2013


  • x-ray free-electron laser
  • few-cycle
  • pulse generation


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