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Duris, Joseph; Li, Siqi; Driver, Taran; Champenois, Elio G.; MacArthur, James P.; Lutman, Alberto A.; Zhang, Zhen; Rosenberger, Philipp; Aldrich, Jeff W.; Coffee, Ryan; Coslovich, Giacomo; Decker, Franz-Josef; Glownia, James M.; Hartmann, Gregor; Helml, Wolfram; Kamalov, Andrei; Knurr, Jonas; Krzywinski, Jacek; Lin, Ming-Fu; Nantel, Megan; Natan, Adi; O'Neal, Jordan; Shivaram, Niranjan; Walter, Peter; Wang, Anna Li; Welch, James J.; Wolf, Thomas J. A.; Xu, Joseph Z.; Kling, Matthias F.; Bucksbaum, Philip H.; Zholents, Alexander; Huang, Zhirong; Cryan, James P.; Marinelli, Agostino; Marangos, Jon P. (2020): Tunable isolated attosecond X-ray pulses with gigawatt peak power from a free-electron laser. In: Nature Photonics, Vol. 14, No. 1: pp. 30-36
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The quantum-mechanical motion of electrons in molecules and solids occurs on the sub-femtosecond timescale. Consequently, the study of ultrafast electronic phenomena requires the generation of laser pulses shorter than 1 fs and of sufficient intensity to interact with their target with high probability. Probing these dynamics with atomic-site specificity requires the extension of sub-femtosecond pulses to the soft X-ray spectral region. Here, we report the generation of isolated soft X-ray attosecond pulses with an X-ray free-electron laser. Our source has a pulse energy that is millions of times larger than any other source of isolated attosecond pulses in the soft X-ray spectral region, with a peak power exceeding 100 GW. This unique combination of high intensity, high photon energy and short pulse duration enables the investigation of electron dynamics with X-ray nonlinear spectroscopy and single-particle imaging, unlocking a path towards a new era of attosecond science. The generation of ultrashort X-ray pulses with a peak power exceeding 100 GW offers new opportunities for studying electron dynamics with nonlinear spectroscopy and single-particle imaging.