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We present an extended theoretical background of so-called fluence scan (f-scan or F-scan) method which is frequently being used for offline focused short-wavelength (XUV, soft X-ray, and hard X-ray) laser beam characterization (Chalupský et al. 2010 Opt. Express 18 27836). The method exploits ablative imprints in various solids to visualize iso-fluence beam contours at different fluence and/or clip levels. By varying the pulse energy, an f-scan curve (clip level as a function of the contour area) can be generated for a general non-Gaussian beam. The fluence scan method greatly facilitates transverse characterization of focused non-Gaussian beams and provides important information about energy distribution within the beam profile. Here we for the first time discuss fundamental properties of the f-scan function and its inverse counterpa...
We present the results of an experiment where amorphous carbon was irradiated by femtosecond x-ray free electron laser pulses. The 830 eV laser pulses induce a phase transition in the material which is characterized ex-situ. The phase transition energy threshold is determined by measuring the surface of each irradiated area using an optical Nomarski microscope. The threshold fluence is found to be 282 +/- 11 mJ/cm^2, corresponding to an absorbed dose at the surface of 131 +/-5 meV/atom. Atomic force microscopy measurements show volume expansion of the irradiated sample area, suggesting a solid to solid phase transition. Deeper insight into the phase transition is gained by using scanning photoelectron microscopy and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Photoelectron microscopy shows graphitization, i.e. modification from sp3 to sp2 hybridizatio...
In this article, we describe the experimental station and procedures for investigating the interaction of short-wavelength free-electron lasers (FELs) pulses with solids. With the advent of these sources, a unique combination of radiation properties (including wavelength range from tens of nanometers down to sub-Angstroms, femtosecond pulse duration, and high pulse energy reaching milli-Joules level) creates new research possibilities for the systematic studies of radiation-induced structural changes in solids. However, the properties of the intense FEL radiation generate, apart from the new experimental opportunities, extreme demands on the experimental set-up (mostly in terms of radiation hardness of detectors and their saturation levels). Thus, radiation-induced phase transitions in solids, beyond the fundamental scientific interest...
We studied experimentally and theoretically the structural transition of diamond under an irradiation with an intense femtosecond extreme ultraviolet laser (XUV) pulse of 24–275 eV photon energy provided by free-electron lasers. Experimental results obtained show that the irradiated diamond undergoes a solid-to-solid phase transition to graphite, and not to an amorphous state. Our theoretical findings suggest that the nature of this transition is nonthermal, stimulated by a change of the interatomic potential triggered by the excitation of valence electrons. Ultrashort laser pulse duration enables to identify the subsequent steps of this process: electron excitation, band gap collapse, and the following atomic motion. A good agreement between the experimentally measured and theoretically calculated damage thresholds for the XUV range s...
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