Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS)
Last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry – shared by Stanford School of Medicine Professor Brian Kobilka and Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University – recognized groundbreaking research in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are embedded in cell membranes. They interact with signaling molecules outside of cells and trigger responses within cells.
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.
Using laser light to read and write magnetic data by quickly flipping tiny magnetic domains could help keep pace with the demand for faster computing devices.
Now experiments with SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser have given scientists their first detailed look at how light controls the first trillionth of a second of this process, known as all-optical magnetic switching.
Blue-glowing diamond crystals hold promise for expanding the research capacity of SLAC's X-ray laser by divvying up its pulses for use in separate, simultaneous experiments.
In a Feb. 6 test, scientists used perfect diamond crystals to separate ultrabright X-ray pulses at the Linac Coherent Light Source into groups of "colors," or wavelengths, for experiments spaced about 250 meters apart.
The founding father of DNA nanotechnology – a field that forges tiny geometric building blocks from DNA strands – recently came to SLAC to get a new view of these creations using powerful X-ray laser pulses.
For decades, Nadrian C. "Ned" Seeman, a chemistry professor at New York University, has studied ways to assemble DNA strands into geometric shapes and 3-D crystals with applications in biology, biocomputing and nanorobotics.
In less than a decade, SLAC has built up an impressive array of dozens of laser systems – and a team of laser scientists and engineers – with capabilities that make it one of the most cutting-edge national laboratories under the U.S. Department of Energy.
Lighting the way
With SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, timing is everything. Its pulses are designed to explore atomic-scale processes that are measured in femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second. Determining the instant in time at which the laser strikes a sample, either by itself or in concert with another laser pulse, can be vital to the success of an experiment.
Menlo Park, Calif. — Opening a new window on the way plants generate the oxygen we breathe, researchers used an X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to simultaneously look at the structure and chemical behavior of a natural catalyst involved in photosynthesis for the first time.