Shown is part of our attosecond beamline, with its target chamber for electron and ion spectroscopy.

Attosecond x-ray science

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Since the inception of the laser, more than 50 years ago, the generation of coherent x-ray light has been amongst the prime objectives of scientists since x-rays are perfectly matched to investigate the flow of energy and information of the nanoworld. Phase transitions of materials, ultrafast changes in magnetism or time-resolved structural investigations of biomolecular assemblies are just a few examples awaiting sources of coherent x-rays. High harmonic generation (HHG) provides such a route with the intrinsic possibility to generate attosecond duration bursts of x-rays. We have, for example, contributed to pioneering investigations into the frequency rate of high-harmonic light and pioneered schemes to increase the notoriously low yield in HHG. Currently we are aiming at coherent x-ray light in the biologically relevant water window around 0.5 keV and beyond. The development of such a tabletop source will have large impact in the before-mentioned fields and provide a route towards the zeptosecond (10-21s) temporal scale.