In one of the provinces of China near the city of Dalyan, in the north-east of the country, the construction of a scientific complex will be completed very soon, on the basis of which the world’s brightest ultra-violet free-electron laser (Free Electron Laser) will start functioning. The newest laser is able to generate about 140 trillion photons per pulse, and the pulse duration is less than 1 picosecond.
Construction of the facility is handled by specialists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Dalian and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The cost of creating a laser is 140 million yuan (about 20 million US dollars). According to one of the project leaders, academician Yang Xuoming,
“Flashes of light from a new laser” will illuminate “the most minute aspects of the processes and phenomena of the microscopic world. High-speed sources of ultraviolet light allow us to conduct research at the level of individual atoms, molecules and nanoscale particles of various materials. The higher the brightness of the pulse, the more clearly we can see phenomena of a microscopic scale. And since a lot of physical and biological processes, chemical reactions occur in the femtosecond time scale, we need a very fast “flashlight”. “
It should be noted that the laser will be used to study combustion processes, which will improve the efficiency of fuel combustion and reduce the emission of harmful substances into the environment, as well as in the study of new materials that will form the basis of semiconductor chips of the next generation. The construction of a new laser is the first stage of the program to create a whole series of free-electron lasers of the next generation.