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Measuring the temporal structure of few-femtosecond free-electron laser X-ray pulses directly in the time domain

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Helml,  W.
Attosecond Dynamics, Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Max Planck Society;

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Maier,  A. R.
Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Max Planck Society;

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Schweinberger,  W.
Attosecond Dynamics, Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Max Planck Society;

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Grguraš,  Ivanka
Extreme Timescales, Condensed Matter Dynamics Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

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Cavalieri,  A. L.
Extreme Timescales, Condensed Matter Dynamics Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Helml, W., Maier, A. R., Schweinberger, W., Grguraš, I., Radcliffe, P., Doumy, G., et al. (2014). Measuring the temporal structure of few-femtosecond free-electron laser X-ray pulses directly in the time domain. Nature Photonics, 8, 950-957. doi:10.1038/nphoton.2014.278.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-B9BB-4
Abstract
Short-wavelength free-electron lasers are now well established as essential and unrivalled sources of ultrabright coherent X-ray radiation. One of the key characteristics of these intense X-ray pulses is their expected few-femtosecond duration. No measurement has succeeded so far in directly determining the temporal structure or even the duration of these ultrashort pulses in the few-femtosecond range. Here, by deploying the so-called streaking spectroscopy technique at the Linac Coherent Light Source, we demonstrate a non-invasive scheme for temporal characterization of X-ray pulses with sub-femtosecond resolution. This method is independent of photon energy, decoupled from machine parameters, and provides an upper bound on the X-ray pulse duration. We measured the duration of the shortest X-ray pulses currently available to be on average no longer than 4.4 fs. Analysing the pulse substructure indicates a small percentage of the free-electron laser pulses consisting of individual high-intensity spikes to be on the order of hundreds of attoseconds.