Nonlinear refraction of hard x rays

A. Fratalocchi*, C. Conti, G. Ruocco, F. Sette

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We study the nonlinear refraction of x rays in highly ionized condensed matter by using a classical model of a cold electron plasma in a lattice of still ions coupled with Maxwell equations. By employing a group-theoretical technique, we reduce the governing equations of the system to an integrable set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations, discussing the existence and stability of nonlinear waves. This allows us to define the effective Kerr coefficient n2 at x rays. With reference to real-world crystalline materials (B, C, Li, and Na), we consider beam self-defocusing and predict that nonlinear processes become comparable to the linear ones for focused beams with powers on the order of m c3/r0 (≈10 GW), the classical electron power. As a consequence, nonlinear phenomena are expected to largely affect imaging experiments in currently exploited x-ray free-electron lasers and in their future developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245132
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 25 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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