XPP instrument blasts past key milestones

Oct 05, 2010 by Lauren Rugani
Instrument Scientist David Fritz in the XPP instrument hutch. (Photo by Julie Karceski.)

(PhysOrg.com) -- The X-ray Pump Probe instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source is installed and ready for its first user experiments several weeks ahead of schedule, thanks in part to funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The instrument will take advantage of the ultrafast X-ray pulses delivered by the LCLS beam to observe important chemical and biological processes, including the photosynthetic generation of and the atomic-scale dynamics of proteins.

The XPP project received more than 40 percent of its funding from the Recovery Act, "which helped allow completion of most of the final instrument configuration in time for the first user experiments in mid-October," said LCLS Ultrafast project manager Tom Fornek.

The first of two XPP installation phases, called the "Early Science" milestone, was scheduled to be completed on October 19 and included the commissioning of several components that would provide a basic instrument for the first user runs.

Additional capabilities weren't planned until early 2011, but the instrument team was able to incorporate them into the early science installations, which they completed on August 27. These final components included a reference laser, X-ray focusing lenses and a monochromator.

"Infusion of Recovery Act funds enabled this project to not only deliver the XPP earlier than planned but to enhance its capabilities for early experiments," said Hannibal Joma, the Federal Project Director at SLAC's Department of Energy site office. "Next generation instruments such as XPP are of high priority to the DOE Office of Science because they provide the functionalities required to address grand scientific challenges."

XPP experiments will use an pulse to stimulate biological, chemical and physical transformations on the atomic scale—changes that involve the motions of electrons, atoms and molecules over billionths of a meter and quadrillionths of a second. As precisely timed femtosecond X-ray pulses hit the optically excited samples, scattering patterns can be used to determine photo-induced changes and new molecular structures with unprecedented detail.

When the first XPP users arrive this fall, they will be able to conduct experiments with much more than a basic instrument, which XPP instrument scientist David Fritz said "will enhance our chance of success."

Explore further: How did evolution optimize circadian clocks?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hard X-rays Reach LCLS Pump Probe Instrument

Jun 09, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- On June 7, the X-ray Pump Probe instrument became the first of the Linac Coherent Light Source's scientific instruments to receive hard X-rays.

First Test of New X-ray Laser Strips Neon Bare

Sep 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- It takes a lot of energy to strip all ten electrons from an atom of neon. Doing it from the inside out, knocking away the most-closely-held, innermost electrons first, is an even rarer feat. ...

Early results from the world's brightest X-ray source

Jun 22, 2010

The first published scientific results from experiments at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source are out. The report, published today in Physical Review Letters, is the first look at how molecules respond to ult ...

Recommended for you

How did evolution optimize circadian clocks?

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —From cyanobacteria to humans, many terrestrial species have acquired circadian rhythms that adapt to sunlight in order to increase survival rates. Studies have shown that the circadian clocks ...

High Flux Isotope Reactor named Nuclear Historic Landmark

Sep 12, 2014

The High Flux Isotope Reactor, or HFIR, now in its 48th year of providing neutrons for research and isotope production at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been designated a Nuclear ...

Extension of standard model by knot algebra

Sep 12, 2014

This paper makes a connection between the quantum group SLq(2), which described knots, and the elementary particles of the standard model. The elements of the fundamental (j = 1/2) representation of SLq(2) ...

User comments : 0