Advanced Accelerator R&D
Scientists at SLAC have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light – light that spirals around a central axis as it travels. It has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities and a much wider range of wavelengths, including X-rays, than is currently possible.
Dao Xiang, a SLAC accelerator physicist, has received an international award for his work on a technique for tuning an electron beam with a laser to produce X-ray pulses with more uniform and predictable properties.
A tool developed half a century ago for sorting subatomic particles has been redesigned to measure X-ray laser pulses at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS).
Two SLAC physicists with decades of particle accelerator experience helped a Silicon Valley company design and build X-ray devices that scan cargo containers for nuclear materials and other hazards. A version of this screening system is now in commercial use, and on May 16, the company received national recognition for its successful development from the federal Small Business Administration.
SLAC researchers have demonstrated for the first time how to produce pairs of X-ray laser pulses in slightly different wavelengths, or colors, with finely adjustable intervals between them – a feat that will allow them to watch molecular motion as it unfolds and explore other ultrafast processes.
After months of installation and commissioning efforts, SLAC's newest user facility welcomed its first two groups of experimenters on Friday. They came to use the tightly focused electron bunches delivered by FACET, the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests, for two very different purposes.
In 1971, physicist Burton Richter of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center was building a new type of particle collider called a storage ring. The lab’s two-mile-long linear accelerator—housed in what was then the longest building in the world—would shoot electrons and their antimatter twins, called positrons, into the 80-meter-diameter Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring, and SPEAR would set the beams of particles on a collision course. Richter and his colleagues stood by to examine the debris to see what discoveries came out.