First X-ray free-electron laser gets funding

Jan 19, 2005

Plans by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) to build a revolutionary new synchrotron X-ray source received a major boost this year thanks to $54 million in funding provided by Congress in the fiscal 2005 budget appropriation.
"The Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences—which funds synchrotron programs—has given the project very high priority and got our full request through Congress," said SLAC physicist John Galayda, director of the project, called the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). "I was euphoric. We've been treated very well, which is particularly notable in very tough budget times."

Said Professor Keith Hodgson, director of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) at SLAC: "LCLS will be the world's first X-ray free electron laser and will provide a powerful combination of laser properties delivered at X-ray wavelengths." LCLS X-ray pulses will be 1,000 times shorter and 10 billion times brighter than pulses available at existing synchrotron sources like SSRL's SPEAR3. That will enable breakthrough science such as the creation and study of exotic states of matter, imaging the structures and dynamics of biological and chemical molecules on the atomic scale and probing the fundamental aspects of atomic structure.

Congress began funding project engineering and design work for LCLS in fiscal 2003 with $6 million. Last year, LCLS received $7.5 million for engineering and design, and $2 million for research and development. The big step up to $54 million marks the first phase of construction. Actual groundbreaking and construction of new buildings will begin in 2006. Construction will include 800 meters of tunnel and 100,000 square feet of work space, including underground experimental halls and a central laboratory office support building.

"For this fiscal year, Congress provided the full funding required to accelerate engineering design and buy the first components," Galayda said. "[Progress] requires a big step upward in activity this year."

Thirty million dollars goes to long-lead procurement—buying components that are needed early on to meet the overall schedule. SLAC will transfer some of the funds to Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois to buy raw materials and supervise construction of specialized undulator magnets to induce the electron beam from SLAC's linear accelerator (linac) to emit X-rays. Argonne is a Department of Energy laboratory and collaborator on LCLS, along with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., and the University of California-Los Angeles. SLAC will build a magnet measurement facility to test, adjust and align the complex magnet structures.

Another early phase task is building an injector to produce an intense electron beam ready to travel at nearly the speed of light down the last kilometer of SLAC's 3-kilometer linac. The LCLS will not interfere with operation of the B-factory, SLAC's primary high-energy physics experiment.

Project engineering and design will continue this year with $20 million of the funds, with $4 million remaining for research and development, primarily into X-ray optics and diagnostics. The project total is approximately $315 million.

"In parallel with the construction effort, we're also planning the experimental program," Hodgson said. An international scientific advisory committee evaluated and ranked proposals for the initial suite of instruments. Working in close cooperation with researchers who will use LCLS, the project is beginning research and development and design on the instruments using $1.5 million of additional new funding provided by the Department of Energy.

The main campus, in close cooperation with SLAC and SSRL, is preparing to take advantage of the unique research capabilities of LCLS with a new center for ultrafast science that will share the LCLS facility. The Department of Energy awarded $4.7 million for three years, and the W. M. Keck Foundation in early January awarded Stanford $1 million for developing research programs in the center.

"The LCLS offers a new opportunity for Stanford to build research programs that will strengthen the ties between SLAC and the main campus in very substantial ways," said Professor Arthur Bienenstock, vice provost and dean of research and graduate policy at Stanford.

"LCLS will represent a major investment in scientific infrastructure at [SLAC], making yet another innovative use of the SLAC linac to deliver a scientific tool of unprecedented capabilities," said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan. "Together with our SPEAR3 facility, SLAC will be among the premier laboratories in the world for synchrotron science in the coming decades."

Scientists expect LCLS to deliver "first light" to experimenters in 2009. For more information, see www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu

Source: Stanford University

Explore further: X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Five ways to put tiny targets in front of an X-ray laser

Feb 03, 2015

X-ray devices have long been used to see the inner structure of things, from bone breaks in the human body to the contents of luggage at airport security checkpoints. But to see life's chemistry and exotic materials at the ...

Exploring heat and energy at the smallest scales

May 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —In a recent experiment at SLAC's Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), scientists "tickled" atoms to explore the flow of heat and energy across materials at ultrasmall scales. The ...

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

First glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state

Mar 27, 2015

In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, the research group led by ICREA Prof at ICFO Morgan Mitchell has detected, for the first time, entanglement among individual photon pairs in a beam ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.