Light produced by these sources is much less intense than that at the big national facilities, however. That’s one reason why physicist Emma Springate, who runs Artemis, part of the Central Laser Facility at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Didcot, UK, wants access to both technologies. Artemis already has one of KMLabs’ ultrafast extreme-ultraviolet sources, which it combines with access to a synchrotron source. “The synchrotron gives you a static, really clear high-resolution picture, and the ultrafast source gives you a slightly fuzzy movie,” Springate says.
Tabletop X-ray sources could still be several years away, Murnane says, but she hopes that they will one day be as common in labs as electron microscopes are. Shpyrko, for one, is looking forward to that day. Waiting to get an experiment accepted at a national facility, he explains, can feel like waiting for a space shuttle to launch. “If you have one of these in your own lab, you can dream up an experiment and try it tomorrow,” he says.