Panel calls for unified proposal for ambitious X-ray laser

Jul 31, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog

(Phys.org) —A panel of experts convened by the U.S. Department of Energy has suggested that the DOE fund just one laser, rather than the two that were expected to receive funds for a new type of research facility. In contention are Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park. Both are current DOE funded laboratories engaged in X-ray technology.

Initially it was assumed that the Next Generation Light Source project already approved by the DOE at LBNL would receive additional funding for a new type of X-ray laser, but doubts arose as to whether it could fulfill the requirements of wide variety of researchers. That led to a proposal from SLAC to add on to an existing facility to fulfill the needs of researchers at a reduced price.

At issue is the construction of what be the world's most powerful source of X-rays—achievable by "wiggling" a stream of electrons whizzing around an accelerator using undulating magnets. The result would be a that has an adjustable and speedy pulse rate, useful for experiments where a target is struck once, such as to break apart an atom, then struck again immediately with the next pulse, to break apart its .

At one point, both labs were being considered for funding—one that would provide low energy rays, and another that would provide high energy rays—the different types would be come about by variances in the . But that idea has been shot down apparently as the panel (the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee) has found that building two facilities would simply cost too much. They suggest the two facilities work together to create a proposal that would result in the construction of just one facility that could fulfill the requirements of researchers working at both levels. They suggest a facility that works at a fast X-ray pulse repetition rate and also has a large X-ray photon energy range.

In response to the change of heart by the panel, managers at both facilities are apparently scrambling to amend their individual proposals to meet the newly expanded guidelines. Each reportedly involves increasing the original budget to add features not previously discussed in their prior efforts, with the hope of being chosen as the sole research site.

Explore further: First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

More information: www.lbl.gov/ngls/

Related Stories

X-rays in the fast lane

May 10, 2013

X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) produce higher-power laser pulses over a broader range of energies compared with most other x-ray sources. Although the pulse durations currently available are enormously ...

New test bed probes the origin of pulses at LCLS

Jul 24, 2013

It all comes down to one tiny spot on a diamond-cut, highly pure copper plate. That's where every X-ray laser pulse at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source gets its start. That tiny spot must be close to perfect or it can impair ...

First atomic X-ray laser created

Jan 25, 2012

Scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created the shortest, purest X-ray laser pulses ever achieved, fulfilling a 45-year-old prediction and ...

Recommended for you

First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

Jul 25, 2014

While creating the first-ever images of explosives using an x-ray free electron laser in California, Los Alamos researchers and collaborators demonstrated a crucial diagnostic for studying how voids affect ...

New approach to form non-equilibrium structures

Jul 24, 2014

Although most natural and synthetic processes prefer to settle into equilibrium—a state of unchanging balance without potential or energy—it is within the realm of non-equilibrium conditions where new possibilities lie. ...

Nike krypton laser achieves spot in Guinness World Records

Jul 24, 2014

A set of experiments conducted on the Nike krypton fluoride (KrF) laser at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) nearly five years ago has, at long last, earned the coveted Guinness World Records title for achieving "Highest ...

User comments : 0