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Team obtains ground-breaking measurements using IR light

Saskatoon, SK – Scientists at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) have obtained high-resolution measurements in the infrared (IR) spectrum that they say could change the way research is conducted using synchrotron light.

CLS spectroscopist Brant Billinghurst said he and his colleagues were working on methods to produce intense terahertz radiation (at the far end of the infrared spectrum) while conducting research on the Far-IR beamline, an experimental station at the CLS.

The research was recently published under the name “Observation of superradiant synchrotron radiation in the terahertz region” in Physical Review Special Topics – Accelerators and Beams.

Billinghurst said they tried something unusual with the synchrotron that allowed them, for the first time, to make a high-resolution measurement of superradiant synchrotron radiation.

“For this technique to work, you need a synchrotron, electrons in small bunches, and stable beam. So, it’s very specific,” he said.

Unlike the high-energy photons needed for experiments using X-rays, the techniques used in the infrared region benefit from turning the synchrotron energy way down, to 1.5 GeV, making it possible for the technique to work.

Billinghurst said the idea for synchrotron superradiance first appeared in 1962, in a definitive textbook called Classical Electrodynamics by physicist John David Jackson, but no-one had actually reported high-resolution results until now.

He added that the findings could allow for spectroscopy in the Terahertz region at higher resolution than is currently feasible, with implications for research at synchrotrons around the world. However, there are a number of technical issues that would have to be solved before this would be possible.