Abstract

The Linac Coherent Light Source is now in operation as an X-ray free-electron laser (FEL) user facility. It produces coherent pulses of 55010,000eV X-rays of duration adjustable from <10 fsto500 fs. Typical peak power is in excess of 20GW. The facility will soon be joined by several X-ray FELs under construction around the world. This article will provide an abridged history of free-electron lasers, a description of some basic physics regarding free-electron laser light amplification, and an overview of the rapidly growing list of examples in which lasers will be used in the control and operation of X-ray FELs.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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