SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Tabletop X-Rays Light Up
from Nature News
The pressurized, cylindrical chamber fits in the palm of Margaret Murnane's hand. Yet out of one end of the device comes an X-ray beam that packs almost as much punch as the light generated by massive particle accelerators.
Murnane and Henry Kapteyn, both physicists at JILA in Boulder, Colorado, a joint institute of the University of Colorado and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, have reported the first tabletop source of ultra-short, laser-like pulses of low energy, or 'soft', X-rays.
The light, capable of probing the structure and dynamics of molecules, was previously available only at large, billion-dollar national facilities such as synchrotrons or free-electron lasers, where competition for use of the equipment is fierce. But the report by Murnane, Kapteyn and their colleagues, published in the 8 June issue of Science, suggests that the devices might soon lie within the grasp of a university laboratory budget. "For us, it's incredible that we can do this at all in a tabletop system," says Murnane. "Three years ago, people would have said 'only large facilities can do that'."
Science in the Media
Magazines and Web Sites:
The Science-Media Intersection:
... for Sigma Xi SmartBrief, a free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research, delivered straight to your in-box. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.
Click here to subscribe.
Subscribe to Our Content!
Visit our RSS Feeds page to choose among 13 customized feeds, or create a free My AmSci account to request an email notice whenever a specified author, department or discipline appears online.