Experiments will be described which use the high intensity Hercules laser at the University of Michigan to generate energetic electron beams. These beams simultaneously generate ultra-short bursts of x-rays. Various techniques are used to enhance the x-ray emission which is then used for x-ray absorption spectroscopy with femtosecond resolution. Such electron beams from a LWFA were also used in experiments for the first production of pions from a laser.
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