We report the generation of ultrashort, hard-x-ray pulses from a liquid mercury target irradiated by laser pulses. The new x-ray source is designed for time-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy as well as imaging applications. This marks the first laser-driven plasma x-ray source that continuously recycles the target material, facilitating maintenance-free operation. Theoretical calculations show mercury targets emit shorter x-ray pulses than targets of lighter elements under identical illumination and x-ray detection conditions.
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