The Plasma X-ray Source (PXS), driven by the L1 laser beam is a secondary source producing hard X-ray radiation. The femtosecond laser pulses at a repetition rate of 1kHz, are focused on a renewing liquid-metal target where they ignite a dense plasma. The plasma ionizes the target and accelerates electrons up to hundreds of keV. When these electrons fall back to the atomic ground state they create continuum and X-rays lines depending on the target material. Through an X-ray transparent window, photons will be emitted.
The main strength of the PXS is the emittance of the X-radiation in an ultrashort pulse with a typical temporal length of femtoseconds (~10-20 fs).
Due to the short pulses, the PXS is suitable to resolve the kinetics of chemical reactions on atomic scale via different techniques such as X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques. Artificial photosynthetic systems or photoactive biological molecules can also be tested in the PXS.