The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has successfully produced its first X-rays after undergoing an upgrade known as LCLS-II. This upgrade creates unparalleled capabilities and will bring about a new era of X-ray research. Scientists from around the world are already lined up to begin a comprehensive science program utilizing these new capabilities.
The LCLS-II upgrade will allow scientists to examine quantum materials with unprecedented resolution, opening up possibilities for advancements in computing and communications. It will also enable the study of unpredictable chemical events and guide the development of more sustainable industries and clean energy technologies. Additionally, researchers will be able to investigate how biological molecules function and develop new pharmaceuticals. The upgraded facility will also unlock the ability to study the world on the fastest timescales, leading to new fields of scientific investigation.
Reaching this milestone is the result of over a decade of work and a collaboration involving thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians across the Department of Energy (DOE) and institutional partners. The upgrade project began in 2010 with the vision of enhancing the original LCLS facility.
XFELs produce ultra-bright and ultra-short pulses of X-ray light, allowing researchers to study molecules, atoms, and electrons in unprecedented detail. This technology has led to significant scientific achievements, such as the creation of the first “molecular movie” and the investigation of processes like photosynthesis.
The LCLS-II upgrade takes X-ray science to a new level by increasing the number of X-ray pulses produced by a factor of 8,000 compared to the original LCLS. It will also generate an almost continuous X-ray beam that is on average 10,000 times brighter than its predecessor. These enhancements make LCLS-II the most powerful X-ray light source in the world.
The success of the LCLS-II upgrade is the result of a collaborative effort involving multiple institutions, including five U.S. national laboratories and a university. This achievement highlights the national and international importance of the project and its contributions to advancing scientific understanding.
– The Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory