This laser has a wavelength of only 0.15 nanometers. A research team in Japan have built a new laser that's the new record holder for the world's shortest wavelength. (via UEC)

A laser developed by a team of Japanese scientists is now the new record holder for having the world's shortest wavelength. Based out of the University of Electro-Communications in Toyko, the team, led Hitoki Yoneda, created a new atomic x-ray laser with a wavelength of only 0.15 nanometers making it ten times shorter than the previous record. This new laser uses a thin sheet of copper foil with various x-ray pulses. Then the metallic sheet begins to emit photons, which are seeded into a laser beam by another x-ray pulse. Using this approach enhances the coherence and energy extraction of the short wavelength beam. The team originally used one laser pulse on the foil with a stream of electrons, but it wasn't as effective.


That's cool, but how is their short laser beneficial?  Researchers have been trying to make lasers with the ability to generate a coherent stream of x-ray radiation for capturing molecule images for some time. This new advance has the possibility of detecting microscopic objects, like molecules, much better. Because the wavelength of the laser is much shorter, images of molecules will be much clearer since resolution of the images heavily depends on how long or short the beam is. The research team is hoping the new laser will make the technique up to ten times more accurate and may even have the ability to detect even smaller particles.


Though it sounds promising, there's still a lot of work to be done. The team is currently working to make sure the beam is stable and strong enough to be used to create high quality x-ray images. This could possibly have a major effect in the fields of medicine, quantum optics, and particle physics. With this latest development it seems like they're on the right track, but we'll have to wait and see how far they can take it. Read more about it at the Nature Journal.



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