Dr. Sven Bernitt
Abstract: We present a comprehensive experimental and theoretical study on superfluorescence in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength regime. Focusing a free-electron laser pulse in a cell filled with Xe gas, the medium is quasi-instantaneously population inverted by 4d-shell ionization on the giant resonance followed by Auger decay. On the timescale of ∼10 ps to ∼100 ps (depending on parameters) a macroscopic polarization builds up in the medium, resulting in superfluorescent emission of several Xe lines in the forward direction. As the number of emitters in the system is increased by either raising the pressure or the pump-pulse energy, the emission yield grows exponentially over four orders of magnitude and reaches saturation. With increasing yield, we observe line broadening, a manifestation of superfluorescence in the spectral domain. Our novel theoretical approach, based on a full quantum treatment of the atomic system and the irradiated field, shows quantitative agreement with the experiment and supports our interpretation.
Abstract: Thanks to high-resolution and non-dispersive spectrometers onboard future X-ray missions such as XRISM and Athena, we are finally poised to answer important questions about the formation and evolution of galaxies and large-scale structure. However, we currently lack an adequate understanding of many atomic processes behind the spectral features we will soon observe. Large error bars on parameters as critical as transition energies and atomic cross sections can lead to unacceptable uncertainties in the calculations of e.g., elemental abundance, velocity, and temperature. Unless we address these issues, we risk limiting the full scientific potential of these missions. Laboratory astrophysics, which comprises theoretical and experimental studies of the underlying physics behind observable astrophysical processes, is therefore central to the success of these missions.
Abstract: Electron beam ion traps (EBITs) are ideal tools for both production and study of highly charged ions (HCIs). In order to reduce their construction, maintenance, and operation costs, we have developed a novel, compact, room-temperature design, the Heidelberg Compact EBIT (HC-EBIT). Four already commissioned devices operate at the strongest fields (up to 0.86 T) reported for such EBITs using permanent magnets, run electron beam currents up to 80 mA, and energies up to 10 keV. They demonstrate HCI production, trapping, and extraction of pulsed Ar¹⁶⁺ bunches and continuous 100 pA ion beams of highly charged Xe up to charge state 29+, already with a 4 mA, 2 keV electron beam. Moreover, HC-EBITs offer large solid-angle ports and thus high photon count rates, e.g., in x-ray spectroscopy of dielectronic recombination in HCIs up to Fe²⁴⁺, achieving an electron-energy resolving power of E/ΔE > 1500 at 5 keV. Besides traditional on-axis electron guns, we have also implemented a novel off-axis gun for laser, synchrotron, and free-electron laser applications, offering clear optical access along the trap axis. We report on its first operation at a synchrotron radiation facility demonstrating the resonant photoexcitation of highly charged oxygen.