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First X-ray laser's early success brings approval for next-phase facility
Date:5/5/2010

Menlo Park, Calif. The U.S. Department of Energy has granted approval for SLAC National Accelerator Laboratoryhome of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world's first hard X-ray laserto begin planning a second X-ray laser at the laboratory. The LCLS, which began operation in April 2009, generates ultra-fast, ultra-bright pulses of X-ray laser light which are already providing new insights into the atomic world. LCLS-II would give investigators access to new regions of the X-ray spectrum and improved control over the X-ray beam. It will also accommodate a larger number of research scientists working simultaneously.

"The LCLS program has been an unprecedented success, from conception to construction, and into operation," said William Brinkman, director of the DOE's Office of Science. "We are very much looking forward to the exciting science to come from this unique facility."

The LCLS stands to revolutionize a variety of fields, including chemistry, biology and energy sciences. The LCLS is the world's first laser to create light in the form of hard X-rays, generated using SLAC's existing two-mile-long linear accelerator. The laser's ultra-fast, ultra-bright X-rays give scientists the ability to visualize matter on the atomic scale, where the action is measured in quadrillionths of a second. Scientists are now using LCLS beams to study how individual atoms and molecules move and behave, with an eye toward creating the world's first "molecular movies," revealing the mechanics of chemistry as it happens.

Although a number of hurdles remain before construction could begin, the current milestone, or "Critical Decision 0," granted by the DOE clears the way for scientific and technical teams to officially begin work on conceptual designs for LCLS-II.

"The success with the commissioning and early experimental operations of LCLS exceeded even our optimistic expectations and paved the way for significant upgrades of capa
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Contact: Melinda Lee
melinda.lee@slac.stanford.edu
650-926-8547
DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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