International laser conference and workshop to convene at Duke

August 09, 2000

Scientists from around the world will meet at Duke University from Sunday, Aug. 13 through Friday, Aug. 18 for this year's International Free-Electron Laser Conference and Workshop, the largest annual gathering in the field.

Between 200 and 250 specialists from as far away as China and Russia are expected to attend the first such international meeting hosted by the Duke Free-Electron Laser Laboratory (DFELL), a facility with both ultraviolet and infrared free-electron lasers as well as the capacity to produce intense gamma ray beams.

Free-electron lasers are the only kind that create light within electrons that have first been separated from their normal captivity within atoms and are then accelerated in a vacuum to just shy of the speed of light. Because these electrons are "free," the light they emit can be "tuned" to a large range of different wavelengths, a flexibility that is strongly limited when electrons are under atomic control.

The meeting's five days of oral and poster sessions will include those by medical, chemistry and physics researchers from Duke and other universities who are using DFELL's lasers to study subjects like corneal wound healing and the dynamics of nanostructures on silicon.

A Vanderbilt University research group, which also includes DFELL Director Glenn Edwards, will describe Vanderbilt's infrared free-electron laser uses for neurosurgery. Edwards formerly directed Vanderbilt's free-electron laser facility before coming to Duke, and he still collaborates with scientists there.

A team from DFELL and the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk, Russia, will also report on the OK-5, an advanced ultraviolet free-electron laser currently under construction in Novosibirsk for use at Duke.

In 2001, the OK-5 is scheduled to replace DFELL's OK-4, which in 1999 itself set a record short wavelength of 193.7 nanometers for ultraviolet free-electron laser emissions. Vladimir Litvinenko, DFELL's associate director of light sources and the international conference's chairman, said the OK-5 in its current configuration will have a goal of reaching 50 nanometers wavelengths. One nanometer is about .000000039 inches long.

On Thursday, visiting researchers will have the opportunity to tour DFELL, where the OK-4 ultraviolet and the Mark III infrared free-electron lasers are housed in a 52,000-square-foot facility that includes a large electron storage ring. The laboratory recently dedicated its new Keck Life Sciences Research Laboratory, which provides another 13,000 square feet of science and office space.
Contact: Monte Basgall

Note to editors: The International Free-Electron Laser Conference and Workshop will be held at the Washington Duke Inn off N.C. Highway 751 just across from the Science Drive entrance to Duke's West Campus.

Duke University

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