X-Ray Frontiers

Coordinators: Lorenz Srulek Cederbaum, Chris H. Greene, Jianwei Miao, Robin Santra

Scientific Advisors: Hans Aagren, Philip H. Bucksbaum, C. William McCurdy, Margaret M. Murnane, Jan Michael Rost, Albert Stolow

X-rays allow us to probe matter in an element-specific way with high spatial resolution and penetration depth.  These specific characteristics of x-rays have led to, for instance, significant progress in protein structure determination.  Current developments in x-ray source technology promise to enable further breakthroughs in physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science.  This program provides an opportunity to bring together theorists and experimentalists with the goal of maximizing the science impact of these new x-ray sources.

Particularly promising for the generation of extreme ultraviolet and soft-x-ray radiation are laser-based, table-top sources exploiting the process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG).  Novel properties of short-wavelength radiation produced via HHG are the ultrashort pulse duration (femtosecond and sub-femtosecond) and the high degree of transverse and longitudinal coherence.  Important new sources for the generation of both soft and hard x-rays are the accelerator-based free-electron lasers (FELs).  The first of the x-ray FELs, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, comes online in the fall of 2009.  LCLS provides femtosecond pulses at a peak intensity that is about nine orders of magnitude higher than state-of-the-art synchrotron radiation sources.  Another important characteristic of LCLS is the full transverse coherence of its x-ray pulses.

In this program we would like to discuss scientific applications made possible by x-rays of
1) high intensity, 2) ultrashort pulse duration, and 3) full transverse coherence.  This will be an excellent opportunity for researchers from various scientific disciplines to enter this exciting new field and to contribute to its development.  Areas covered will include coherent diffraction imaging; x-ray multiphoton processes; optical strong-field physics; high-intensity radiation damage; dynamics in electronic many-body systems; and ultrafast chemical dynamics. 

The tentative working plan is described in the following schedule:

Working Plan

The program will begin with a one-week conference entitled X-ray Science in the 21st Century, to be held August 2-6, 2010.  Further information will be posted here as it becomes available.

KITP is eager to have program participants come for as long as possible and strongly encourages theorists to stay for a minimum of three weeks.