We report what is to our knowledge the first demonstration of a transient x-ray laser pumped by a 350-fs pulse in a traveling-wave irradiation geometry. For a 500-fs pump pulse the traveling-wave irradiation was found to have a strong effect on enhancing the Ni-like silver 4d-4p lasing emission at 13.9 nm. The signal enhancement was significantly less when the pulse duration was lengthened to 1.7 ps. The experimental observations are well reproduced by a simple model when the duration of gain is taken of the order of 15-20 ps. For the 500-fs pulse a gain coefficient of 14.5 cm(-1) was measured for plasma lengths up to 7 mm. Refraction of the amplified photons is believed to be the main cause of the limitation of the effective amplification length. (C) 2000 Optical Society of America.
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics