Free-Electron Lasers: The Next Generation

superconducting cavity Peter Ginter/DESY
Superconducting cavities at the DESY lab in Hamburg

They will make an atom look as big as a football and a microsecond seem like an eternity

Ever watched a protein fold in real time? Or seen what happens when photons strike a molecule of chlorophyll? Nobody has yet: these events happen too fast and involve structures that are too small to image with today’s technology.

That could all change soon, thanks to a new generation of X-ray lasers that will concentrate their energy 10 billion times more effectively than current instruments, allowing scientists to pry open the physics of the smallest and fastest things.
(Read the rest of my article in the January 21 New Scientist)

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