[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BioCARS, a NIH-supported national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), has recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline optimized for single-shot laser-pump X-ray-probe measurements with time resolution as short as 100 ps. The source consists of two in-line undulators with periods of 23 and 27 mm that together provide high-flux pink-beam capability at 12 keV as well as first-harmonic coverage from 6.8 to 19 keV. A high-heat-load chopper reduces the average power load on downstream components, thereby preserving the surface figure of a Kirkpatrick-Baez mirror system capable of focusing the X-ray beam to a spot size of 90 µm horizontal by 20 µm vertical. A high-speed chopper isolates single X-ray pulses at 1 kHz in both hybrid and 24-bunch modes of the APS storage ring. In hybrid mode each isolated X-ray pulse delivers up to ~4 × 10(10) photons to the sample, thereby achieving a time-averaged flux approaching that of fourth-generation X-FEL sources. A new high-power picosecond laser system delivers pulses tunable over the wavelength range 450-2000 nm. These pulses are synchronized to the storage-ring RF clock with long-term stability better than 10 ps RMS. Monochromatic experimental capability with Biosafety Level 3 certification has been retained.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Femtosecond time-resolved small and wide angle x-ray diffuse scattering techniques are applied to investigate the ultrafast nucleation processes that occur during the ablation process in semiconducting materials. Following intense optical excitation, a transient liquid state of high compressibility characterized by large-amplitude density fluctuations is observed and the buildup of these fluctuations is measured in real time. Small-angle scattering measurements reveal snapshots of the spontaneous nucleation of nanoscale voids within a metastable liquid and support theoretical predictions of the ablation process.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ultrafast decay of the x-ray diffraction intensity following laser excitation of an InSb crystal has been utilized to observe carrier dependent changes in the potential energy surface. For the first time, an abrupt carrier dependent onset for potential energy surface softening and the appearance of accelerated atomic disordering for a very high average carrier density have been observed. Inertial dynamics dominate the early stages of crystal disordering for a wide range of carrier densities between the onset of crystal softening and the appearance of accelerated atomic disordering.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intense femtosecond laser excitation can produce transient states of matter that would otherwise be inaccessible to laboratory investigation. At high excitation densities, the interatomic forces that bind solids and determine many of their properties can be substantially altered. Here, we present the detailed mapping of the carrier density-dependent interatomic potential of bismuth approaching a solid-solid phase transition. Our experiments combine stroboscopic techniques that use a high-brightness linear electron accelerator-based x-ray source with pulse-by-pulse timing reconstruction for femtosecond resolution, allowing quantitative characterization of the interatomic potential energy surface of the highly excited solid.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigate high amplitude coherent optical phonon dynamics in bismuth through femtosecond X-ray and optical scattering. From these experiments, we present the first detailed measurements of changes in the interatomic potential following high-density photoexcitation.
Lasers and Electro-Optics, 2006 and 2006 Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference. CLEO/QELS 2006. Conference on; 06/2006
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sub-Picosecond Photon Source (SPPS), in operation since May 2003, makes x-ray pulses of 100 fs. Spontaneous radiation originates from a short pulsed electron beam that passes through an undulator at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. New techniques characterize the x-rays, the electrons, and the timing jitter in real time. These results provide a framework for discussion of possible strong field experiments at SPPS and at future fourth-generation photon sources like the recently funded Linac Coherent Light Source.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The melting dynamics of laser excited InSb have been studied with femtosecond x-ray diffraction. These measurements observe the delayed onset of diffusive atomic motion, signaling the appearance of liquidlike dynamics. They also demonstrate that the root-mean-squared displacement in the  direction increases faster than in the  direction after the first 500 fs. This structural anisotropy indicates that the initially generated fluid differs significantly from the equilibrium liquid.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The motion of atoms on interatomic potential energy surfaces is fundamental to the dynamics of liquids and solids. An accelerator-based source of femtosecond x-ray pulses allowed us to follow directly atomic displacements on an optically modified energy landscape, leading eventually to the transition from crystalline solid to disordered liquid. We show that, to first order in time, the dynamics are inertial, and we place constraints on the shape and curvature of the transition-state potential energy surface. Our measurements point toward analogies between this nonequilibrium phase transition and the short-time dynamics intrinsic to equilibrium liquids.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linear-accelerator-based sources will revolutionize ultrafast x-ray science due to their unprecedented brightness and short pulse duration. However, time-resolved studies at the resolution of the x-ray pulse duration are hampered by the inability to precisely synchronize an external laser to the accelerator. At the Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source at the Stanford Linear-Accelerator Center we solved this problem by measuring the arrival time of each high energy electron bunch with electro-optic sampling. This measurement indirectly determined the arrival time of each x-ray pulse relative to an external pump laser pulse with a time resolution of better than 60 fs rms.