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World's first X-ray free electron laser is on course to completion

Argonne reached another milestone in the design and construction of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) undulator system.

LCLS will be the world's first X-ray free electron laser when it becomes operational at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in 2009. It will be the first X-ray laser to combine the brilliance of laser sources with the penetrating power and atomic sensitivity of X-rays. Argonne is a partner laboratory on the project and is responsible for the 130-meter undulator system, including magnets, support structures, beam diagnostics, controls and vacuum systems.

Undulators are the heart of the LCLS free electron laser, providing a precise magnetic field through which an electron beam will travel. The undulators' magnetic fields force the electrons to oscillate back and forth and produce large amounts of X-rays. These X-rays interact back on the electrons and force them to bunch at X-ray wavelengths. When this occurs, the electrons emit their light coherently, causing a large gain in radiation power that raises the X-rays' intensity.

Argonne was tapped to participate in this project due to the expertise demonstrated with the Advanced Photon Source undulator systems, said J. Murray Gibson, associate laboratory director of Argonne's Scientific User Facilities. An X-ray laser such as LCLS will open up new scientific frontiers and represents an immense technical achievement for the United States. We could not have done this without the partnership of national laboratories, universities and industry.

The last of the 40 LCLS undulators was assembled and accepted by Argonne late last month, on time and within budget, from Hi-Tech Manufacturing in Illinois and Metalex Manufacturing in Ohio, said Argonne LCLS Project Director Geoff Pile. The LCLS project remains on course for completion in March 2009.

This is the first time such ultra-precise undulators were mass-produced in America by non-speci
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Contact: Sylvia Carson
scarson@anl.gov
630-252-5510
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
25-Jun-2007


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