The spectroscopy of clusters by intense pulses of VUV radiation from free electron lasers
Institute of Spectroscopy, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Fizicheskaya 5, Troitsk, Moscow, 108840, Russian Federation
High-power free electron lasers (FELs), recently developed sources for producing intense femtosecond pulses of vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) radiation, offer new ways of studying the interaction of radiation with matter. In this paper, a first series of experiments on the laser excitation of atomic cluster beams is reviewed, which showed that intense VUV pulses interact with clusters very differently than their optical or near infrared (IR) counterparts do. The first experimental results on cluster beam spectroscopy performed with intense VUV-FEL pulses are examined. FEL operation principles and performance parameters are briefly discussed. How intense ultrashort IR and VUV pulses excite clusters is analyzed, the interaction parameters between radiation and clusters are covered, and the formation and heating mechanisms of cluster plasma are explored. What is similar and fundamentally different between the ways IR and VUV radiations excite clusters is pointed out. Some other applications of VUV and soft X-ray FEL radiation are reviewed as well.