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Difference b/n synchrotron radiation and Free electron laser

  1. Apr 23, 2014 #1
    Hello All,
    Apart from using undulator or wiggler are there any big difference between synchrotron radiation and FEL? Because I notice it looks similar. In both case electron is forced to travel like a sine wave...and synchrotron radiation is produced..
    Also what is the difference between undulator and wiggler?
    thanks, Rajini.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2014 #2


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    Undulator and wiggler are the same thing; wiggler is less formal, based on American idiom, while undulator is the more formal latin term ... which literally means "wiggler".

    Note that the original "synchrotron" radiation was simply due to the turning of the high energy particle beams; the undulator simply provides more control over the delivery, and of what is delivered.

    The FEL is a newer technology, and hopefully will provide better control with lower costs, and expanded realm of wavelengths. In addition the radiation is coherent ... hence the designation of laser. This is an important difference in how the radiation interacts with matter.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-electron_laser
  4. Apr 24, 2014 #3
    Thanks! Can it be like this:
    Synchrotron Radiation: One uses any charged particle, i.e., protrons, or electrons to produce synchrotron radiation of incoherent nature.
    FEL: One uses only free electron electron for producing synchrotron radiation of coherent nature.
    Am I correct? Why I am confused is..why the word 'laser' comes in? I dont think any laser is produced?
    Thanks, Rajini.
  5. Apr 24, 2014 #4


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    The FEL generates coherent electromagnetic radiation; this is one of the fundamental properties of a laser.

    For the FEL the electron beam supplies all of the energy; it is the lasing medium. This article describes how the FEL obtains coherent radiation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-electron_laser#Beam_creation
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