European XFEL cooperates with leading Spanish laser research facility
European XFEL and the Spanish CLPU Institute will cooperate to develop new ultrafast optical lasers for research at the European XFEL.
European XFEL and the Spanish Center for Ultrashort Ultraintense Pulsed Lasers (CLPU) in Salamanca will join their efforts to promote research in high-energy density science and to develop new ultrafast lasers to analyse physical and chemical processes in conjunction with the X-ray beams of the European XFEL. On 10 October 2011, both research institutions signed a memorandum of understanding at the European XFEL headquarters in Hamburg expressing their intention of common action in these new and challenging fields of research with X-ray free-electron lasers. In the framework of this cooperation, an optical laser expert from CLPU has now joined the European XFEL Optical Lasers Group for an initial period of six months.
High-energy density science is expected to contribute to fundamental physics, to the development of new astrophysical models for planets, and to the promotion of fusion research for future energy generation here on Earth. New optical laser technologies in combination with the unique features of the European XFEL will enable scientists to film ultrafast processes like chemical and biochemical reactions that provide a basis for the development of more efficient industrial production processes or new medical products and devices. While the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL will in most cases be used to actually take the pictures, the optical lasers are needed for instance to heat materials or excite molecules, in order to produce high-energy density materials like plasmas or to start chemical reactions. For many applications, optical lasers with high pulse rates similar to those of the European XFEL will have to be developed.
“We are both very interested in the development of scientific applications and instruments for intense and ultrashort-pulse laser technology,” said Thomas Tschentscher, one of the Scientific Directors of European XFEL. “CLPU is one of the leading research centres in this area and we are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration.”