Free-electron lasers in ultraviolet photobiology

Thomas P. Coohill, John C. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The potential uses for a free-electron laser (FEL), tunable in wavelength from 10 to 400 nm, for photobiological experiments is discussed. Inherent problems of cell and molecular absorption, especially in certain regions of the ultraviolet (UV), are addressed. Absorption values for living cells and viruses at selected wavelengths in the UV are tabulated, and a calculation of the flux needed to inactivate mammalian cells is included. A comparison is made of the UV output of a proposed rf-linac FEL with those of a monochromator, a tunable dye laser, and a synchrotron. The advantages of a UV FEL are apparent, especially in the wavelength regions where the cross section for absorption by biological molecules is low, i.e., 300 to 400 nm and 10 to 200 nm. It is apparent that a UV FEL would be an ideal source for a variety of biological studies that use both intact organisms and isolated cells and viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1082
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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