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.
Crews will install a powerful new instrument, start assembling a new "self-seeding" system that will focus soft X-ray laser pulses into a bright, narrow band of colors, and upgrade several laser systems during two months of routine downtime at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser.
In a new state-of-the-art lab at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, components of ribosomes – tiny biological machines that make new proteins and play a vital role in gene expression and antibiotic treatments – form crystals in a liquid solution.
Signs at the lab's entryway warn of the potential for contamination – these delicate samples can be damaged by human touch, a sneeze or a dust particle.
A high-energy SLAC laser that creates shock waves and superhot plasmas needs to cool for about 10 minutes between shots. In the meantime, the rapid-fire pulses produced by SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, which probes the extreme states of matter produced by this initial laser shot, are unused.