X-ray Science

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X-rays Capture Electron 'Dance'

The way electrons move within and between molecules, transferring energy as they go, plays an important role in many chemical and biological processes, such as the conversion of sunlight to energy in photosynthesis and solar cells. But the fastest steps in this energy transfer have eluded detection.

Stanford-SLAC Team Uses X-ray Imaging to Observe Running Batteries in Real Time

Most electric cars, from the Tesla Model S to the Nissan Leaf, run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – a pricey technology that accounts for more than half of the vehicle's total cost. One promising alternative is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can theoretically store five times more energy at a much lower cost.

X-ray Laser Probes Biomolecules to Individual Atoms

An international team led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has proved how the world's most powerful X-ray laser can assist in cracking the structures of biomolecules, and in the processes helped to pioneer critical new investigative avenues in biology.

Shaken, Not Heated: the Ideal Recipe for Manipulating Magnetism

Scientists have found a way to distort the atomic arrangement and change the magnetic properties of an important class of electronic materials with ultra-short pulses of terahertz (mid-infrared) laser light without heating the material up. While the achievement is currently of purely scientific interest, the researchers say this new approach control could ultimately lead to extremely fast, low-energy, non-volatile computer memory chips or data-switching devices.

Fifth X-ray Instrument at LCLS Debuts, With a Bead on Disorderly Structures

After five night shifts of shooting pairs of X-ray pulses through soups of fine sand and gold, Aymeric Robert was tired but exhilarated. The first experiment with an instrument he helped bring into being – the X-ray Correlation Spectroscopy (XCS) instrument at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source – had just ended, launching a new tool for understanding liquids, glasses and other less-than-orderly substances.

Shedding Light

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.

Giant Virus, Tiny Protein Crystals Show X-ray Laser's Power and Potential

Two studies to be published February 3 in Nature demonstrate how the unique capabilities of the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser—the Linac Coherent Light Source, located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory—could revolutionize the study of life.