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World's Most Powerful X-Ray Laser Gets Major Upgrade

First Posted: Apr 07, 2016 09:15 AM EDT
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The world's brightest X-ray electron laser beam known as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) is undergoing a major upgrade. The overhauling project, which is called LCLS-II, will increase the brightness of the X-ray laser up to 10,000 times and will also be 8,000 times faster.

Mike Dunne, the LCLS Director and a physicist at Stanford University explained that the LCLS-II will take X-ray science to another level that opens up to a range of studies that are ultrafast and ultra-small. He also said that this can enable the scientists' ability to create transformative technologies in the future that includes life-saving drugs, novel electronics and advanced energy resolutions, as stated by National Accelerator Laboratory.

CS Monitor reports that the LCLS is an exclusive hardware that is managed by the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory. Professor Dunne explained that the LCLS works as a microscope and a machine.

The machines are controlled by the pulses of X-ray light that contain small wavelengths and high energy. When the light circulates into the objects that are hidden to visible light, the X-ray light brightens the individual atoms. Then, the LCLS thumps the bright flashes of X-ray light fast. This permits the scientists to capture the behavior and the movements of the atoms. The brighter the light, the more the scientists can capture its stop-motion recording.

So, why is there a need to upgrade? Professor Dunne said that the machine is a billion times brighter but it has a limitation. The LCLS-II can pulse a million times per second and is brighter and faster. This can make the scientists study and view more in detailed the reactions.

Department of Energy's Office of Science has to prepare $1 billion for the cost of improvements. Professor Dunne stated that the world is waiting for the implementation of this technology. Some countries like Germany, Japan, Korea and Switzerland have the machines already.

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