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Femtosecond and nanometre visualization of structural dynamics in superheated nanoparticles

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Epp,  S. W.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

Erk,  B.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;
Photon Science DESY;

Hömke,  A.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

Kühnel,  K.-U.
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

Rudek,  B.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB);

Schmidt,  C.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

Ullrich,  J.
Max Planck Advanced Study Group, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science;
Division Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB);

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Citation

Gorkhover, T., Schorb, S., Coffee, R., Adolph, M., Foucar, L., Rupp, D., et al. (2016). Femtosecond and nanometre visualization of structural dynamics in superheated nanoparticles. Nature Photonics, 10(2), 93-98. doi:10.1038/nphoton.2015.264.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-E0C5-3
Abstract
The ability to observe ultrafast structural changes in nanoscopic samples is essential for understanding non-equilibrium phenomena such as chemical reactions1, matter under extreme conditions2, ultrafast phase transitions3 and intense light–matter interactions4. Established imaging techniques are limited either in time or spatial resolution and typically require samples to be deposited on a substrate, which interferes with the dynamics. Here, we show that coherent X-ray diffraction images from isolated single samples can be used to visualize femtosecond electron density dynamics. We recorded X-ray snapshot images from a nanoplasma expansion, a prototypical non-equilibrium phenomenon4,5. Single Xe clusters are superheated using an intense optical laser pulse and the structural evolution of the sample is imaged with a single X-ray pulse. We resolved ultrafast surface softening on the nanometre scale at the plasma/vacuum interface within 100 fs of the heating pulse. Our study is the first time-resolved visualization of irreversible femtosecond processes in free, individual nanometre-sized samples.