Panel calls for unified proposal for ambitious X-ray laser

Jul 31, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog

( —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: X-rays in the fast lane

More information:

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

Using antineutrinos to monitor nuclear reactors

15 hours ago

When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. ...

Imaging turns a corner

19 hours ago

( —Scientists have developed a new microscope which enables a dramatically improved view of biological cells.

Mapping the road to quantum gravity

Apr 23, 2014

The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity – the two great theories of modern physics – has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Phase transiting to a new quantum universe

( —Recent insight and discovery of a new class of quantum transition opens the way for a whole new subfield of materials physics and quantum technologies.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

A 'quantum leap' in encryption technology

Toshiba Research Europe, BT, ADVA Optical Networking and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's National Measurement Institute, today announced the first successful trial of Quantum Key Distribution ...

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.