Free-electron lasers are fourth-generation light sources that deliver extremely intense (>1012 photons per pulse), ultrashort (∼10−14 s = 10 fs) light pulses at up to kilohertz repetition rates with unprecedented coherence properties and span a broad wavelength regime from soft (∼10 eV) to hard X-ray energies (∼15 keV). They thus enable a whole suite of novel experiments in molecular physics and chemistry: Inspecting radiation-induced reactions in cold molecular ions provides unprecedented insight into the photochemistry of interstellar clouds and upper planetary atmospheres; double core-hole photoelectron spectroscopy offers enhanced sensitivity for chemical analysis; the dynamics of highly excited molecular states, pumped by vacuum ultraviolet pulses, can be inspected; and vacuum ultraviolet or X-ray probe pulses generally hold the promise to trace chemical reactions along an entire reaction coordinate with atomic spatial and temporal resolution. This review intends to provide a first overview on upcoming possibilities, emerging technologies, pioneering results, and future perspectives in this exciting field.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error