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Echo-Enabled Harmonic Generation Studies for the FERMI Free-Electron Laser

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Studying ultrafast processes on the nanoscale with element specificity requires a powerful femtosecond source of tunable extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) or x-ray radiation, such as a free-electron laser (FEL). Current efforts in FEL development are aimed at improving the wavelength tunability and multicolor operation, which will potentially lead to the development of new characterization techniques offering a higher chemical sensitivity and improved spatial resolution. One of the most promising approaches is the echo-enabled harmonic generation (EEHG), where two external seed lasers are used to precisely control the spectro-temporal properties of the FEL pulse. Here, we study the expected performance of EEHG at the FERMI FEL, using numerical simulations. We show that, by employing the existing FERMI layout with minor modifications, the EEHG scheme will be able to produce gigawatt peak-power pulses at wavelengths as short as 5 nm. We discuss some possible detrimental effects that may affect the performance of EEHG and compare the results to the existing double-stage FEL cascade, currently in operation at FERMI. Finally, our simulations show that, after substantial machine upgrades, EEHG has the potential to deliver coherent multicolor pulses reaching wavelengths as short as 3 nm, enabling x-ray pump-x-ray probe experiments in the water window.

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