The X-ray laser-based sources developed at the ELI-Beamlines facility have the capability, unlike large-scale facilities such as third-generation synchrotrons or X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs), to offer a much broader accessibility because only a few large-scale facilities exist throughout the world. In addition to reducing size and costs, these X-ray sources provide intrinsic synchronization between the optical driver laser and the X-ray pulses that are generated, as well as the full spectrum of different X-ray sources that each deliver specific properties.
Four paths have been developed within the ELI research area for transforming optical laser pulses into brilliant bursts of X-rays:
- High-order harmonic generation
- Incoherent plasma X-ray sources
- Betatron/Compton radiation
- Laser-driven X-ray free-electron lasers.
For each of these research areas, dedicated beamlines will be built to provide a unique combination of X-ray sources to the user community. This is the mission of the Research Activity 2 (RA2). The RA2 application has a well-defined balance between fundamental science and applications in different fields of science and technology. Emphasis will be placed on providing an international user facility. Therefore, most of the areas have been conceived so that potential users from different fields will be attracted by the advanced laser parameters concerning pulse widths, repetition rates, broad wavelength ranges and intensities. Another important feature will be the combination of perfectly synchronized sources of short pulse coherent optical radiation, UV radiation, XUV radiation and X-ray radiation (coherent and incoherent). The available wavelength range of short pulses will be extended in the future to the gamma range well above 100 keV.
Group leader: Jaroslav Nejdl