Illuminating the Atomic World: the X-ray Laser at SLAC

03/14/2013 - 6:45pm
Persis S. Drell


Professor, Stanford University


The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is the world’s brightest source of hard X-ray laser light. Not only is this light a billion times brighter than any previous hard X-ray source, it also comes in strobe-like pulses just a few millionths of a billionth of a second long. This combination of high intensity and ultrafast shutter speed allows scientists to make stop-motion images of very fast processes at a very small scale—the scale of atoms and molecules. Dr. Drell will focus on the conception, construction, and start up of the LCLS, as well as some of the first experimental results, with a view to the new frontier of science that this remarkable tool has opened.