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The LCLS-II at SLAC Lab is the latest record-breaking scientific research tool from the National Labs. | Video by Chris Smith, SLAC.
Six years ago, the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory answered a bold call by the scientific community: Build a transformative tool for discovery, an X-ray laser so bright and fast it can unravel the hidden dynamics of our physical world.
Since it began operation in 2009, this singularly powerful “microscope” has generated molecular movies, gotten a glimpse of the birth of a chemical bond, traced electrons moving through materials and made 3-D pictures of proteins that are key to drug discovery. Known to scientists as an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source, or LCLS, is a DOE Office of Science User Facility that draws many hundreds of scientists from around the world each year to perform innovative experiments.
The next generation of this ground-breaking technology and science is around the corner, as a major upgrade to LCLS has begun. The project, known as LCLS-II, will add a second X-ray laser beam that’s 10,000 times brighter, on average, than the first one and fires 8,000 times faster -- up to a million pulses per second. The upgrade will greatly increase the power and capacity of LCLS for experiments that sharpen our view of how nature works on the atomic level and on ultrafast timescales. This will tremendously advance our ability to develop transformative technologies of the future, including novel electronics, life-saving drugs and innovative energy solutions.