Light is one of the most important investigative tools for science, and free electron lasers (FELs) generate the most intense source of light currently available to scientists for their experiments. FELs can be used to help us better understand the fundamental processes of life itself as scientists can study chemical reactions in real time, examine how catalysts behave, and increase their understanding of biological processes. This could pave the way for significant advancements in fields such as space, healthcare and sustainable energy.
The 31st international Free Electron Laser Conference, organised by STFC Daresbury Laboratory, is being held at Liverpool’s BT Conference Centre and will attract around 260 specialists in this area of science from 28 countries.
The conference will host a combination of themed sessions and workshops focusing on recent breakthroughs and exciting new developments in FELs from across the world and demonstrate how they are being used to benefit society. FEL light is already being used by doctors to kill sebaceous glands - the cause of pimples - without burning the skin, and it is thought that laser treatment could help people with severe acne avoid permanent scarring without taking existing forms of medication which can have significant side effects.
A highlight of the week will be a detailed talk by a scientist from the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) facility in Stanford, USA on its first results. The LCLS is the world’s newest FEL source which earlier this year demonstrated the world’s first delivery of hard x-rays from a laser.
Talks will also be presented on how scientists are working to realise new and emerging concepts in FELs such as moving beyond using x-rays towards gamma-rays; the feasibility of using small plasma-based wakefield accelerators in place of large-scale conventional particle accelerators; and how FELs are at the heart of a proposal being developed for a New Light Source facility for the UK.
Delegates will get the chance to visit STFC Daresbury Laboratory to see for themselves the world-class science taking place there. As part of their trip they will see the Laboratory’s prototype for the next generation of accelerator-based light sources ALICE (Accelerators and Lasers in Combined Experiments), where the UK’s first operational FEL will be installed later this year.
On behalf of the International Executive Committee of the FEL Conference, Event Co-Chair and Director of STFC’s Accelerator Science and Technology Centre, Mike Poole said: “We are delighted to be hosting the conference. This event is a highlight in the calendar for the FEL community and gives scientists from across the world the chance to come together to discuss progress and new ideas on the physics and technology of this fast-evolving area of science.”
For more information visit the FEL 09 website.
This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.