Exploiting X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) for Extreme Conditions Science

3 May 2019, 2.00 PM - 3 May 2019, 3.00 PM

Malcolm McMahon


The creation of extreme states of matter via dynamic compression dates back to the Manhattan Project. Since then, high-energy lasers or even nuclear explosions have been used to generate pressures into the Gbar range where densities of kg/cc are crated.  However, the lack of suitably bright x-ray sources has largely prevented the study of such extreme states using x-ray scattering techniques. XFELs such as the LCLS at the SLAC National Laboratory deliver 1012 photons in sub-100 fs pulses, and have a peak brilliance a billion times higher than any synchrotron. They are thus ideally suited to the study of extreme states of matter that may only exist for picoseconds or nanoseconds. In this talk I will discuss some recent results we have obtained at the LCLS on dynamically-compressed Bi, Sb and Sc [1-4], and then look to what will be possible on the new European-XFEL in Hamburg using both static and dynamic compression. An EPSRC funding opportunity for taking part in Euro-XFEL experiments will also be described.


[1] Recovery of Metastable Dense Bi Synthesized by Shock Compression, M.G. Gorman et al, Applied Physics Letters (To be published).

[2] Femtosecond Diffraction Studies of Solid and Liquid Phase Changes in Shock-Compressed Bismuth, M.G. Gorman et al, Scientific Reports 8, 16927 (2018).

[3] Ultrafast X-Ray Diffraction Studies of the Phase Transitions and Equation of State of Scandium Shock Compressed to 82 GPa, R. Briggs et al, PRL 118, 025501 (2017).

[4] Direct Observation of Melting in Shock-Compressed Bismuth With Femtosecond X-ray Diffraction, M.G. Gorman et al, PRL 115, 095701 (2015).

Contact information

All are welcome to attend. For information about the CES seminar contact Sven.Friedemann@bristol.ac.uk

Free electron laser
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