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As electron beam quality and control continue to improve, so do the capabilities of free-electron lasers (FELs). Significant advances have occurred in the field over the last few years and have greatly enabled the end users of the FELs, i.e., those doing cutting-edge research via use of the extremely high-brightness FEL light pulses. After a brief review of the basics of FELs, we describe the present frontiers of FEL research and development (R&D), along with several of the most recent demonstrated advances.
Date of Publication: April 2011