We put forward a co-axial pump(optical)-probe(X-rays) experimental concept and show performance of the optical component. A Bessel beam generator with a central 100 micrometers-diameter hole (on the optical axis) was fabricated using femtosecond (fs) laser structuring inside a silica plate. This flat-axicon optical element produces a needle-like axial intensity distribution which can be used for the optical pump pulse. The fs-X-ray free electron laser (X-FEL) beam of sub-1 micrometer diameter can be introduced through the central hole along the optical axis onto a target as a probe. Different realisations of optical pump are discussed. Such optical elements facilitate alignment of ultra-short fs-pulses in space and time and can be used in light-matter interaction experiments at extreme energy densities on the surface and in the volume of targets. Full advantage of ultra-short 10 fs X-FEL probe pulses with fs-pump(optical) opens an unexplored temporal dimension of phase transitions and the fastest laser-induced rates of material heating and quenching. A wider field of applications of fs-laser-enabled structuring of materials and design of specific optical elements for astrophotonics is presented.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.