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Figure 1
Mechanism of a free-electron laser for X-rays. (a) The optical amplification is produced by relativistic electrons in an accelerator and is activated by a periodic array of magnets (undulator). (b) The first waves emitted by the electrons trigger the formation of microbunches. (c) and (d) Contrary to non-microbunched electrons (c), the emission of electrons in microbunches (d) separated from each other by one wavelength is correlated. (e) This causes an exponential intensity increase with the distance that continues until saturation is reached as discussed in the text [experimental data from Emma et al. (2010BB8)].

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