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X-Ray Laser

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posted on 26.01.2011, 00:00 authored by John McCorkindale
This image illustrates the operating principles of a type of X-Ray Laser being developed in the Laboratory for X-Ray Microimaging and Bioinformatics here at UIC. An intense ultraviolet pulse (traveling from left to right in the image) is focused on a jet of gaseous Xenon. When certain conditions are met, a plasma channel is formed in the gas medium and an ultrabright, coherent, highly directional X-Ray beam is the result. This is currently the shortest wavelength laboratory scale X-Ray laser ever created. Once optimized, this source can be used for biomedical imaging and very high resolution holographic microscopy. I took this picture with a Nikon D100 through the view port of our target chamber before it was completely evacuated. The presence of air in the chamber allowed me to capture an image of the ultraviolet beam focusing dynamics which would ordinarily not be seen during an experimental run. The instrument lit up to the right is an X-Ray detector used to determine the relative intensity of the beam.


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Entry in 2009 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences, April 16-May 12, 2009.

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