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In this issue:
Laser Acceleration of Electrons Excites Physicists
Colloquium Monday: Energy Policy and Energy Efficiency
SLAC's David Fritz Receives Distinguished Dissertation Award

SLAC Today

Friday - April 20, 2007

Laser Acceleration of Electrons Excites Physicists

Chris Sears leans over the experimental chamber where researchers hope to accelerate electrons with laser light.

A new experiment aims to accelerate electrons using dark red light.

Physicists on experiment E163 are replacing microwave power from klystrons with laser-generated visible light to boost the energy of particles. The laser could give particles up to 30 times more energy per meter than they gain from microwave power in the SLAC linac.

What's more, the researchers aspire to revolutionize accelerator design by one day placing major components—the laser and the accelerator structures in which particles travel—on mass-produced silicon chips. This accelerator-on-a-chip idea would allow for shorter and cheaper accelerators.

"This is a distant dream, it's not something we even know how to do in 10 years," said experiment spokesman Eric Colby. "But companies already know how to deposit microscopic lasers on silicon, and they can write optics and mirrors onto chips, too. A microscopic accelerator structure could be printed out of the silicon itself." Read more...

Colloquium Monday

Energy Policy and Energy Efficiency

Image courtesy of SLAC's InfoMedia.

According to Professor Jim Sweeney of Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency (PIEE), improvements in energy efficiency—economically efficient reductions in energy use—can be beneficial to California, the United States, and the world in at least three ways. Reductions in energy use can have important environmental benefits, for example, by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases; security benefits, for example, by reducing the use of oil; and economic benefits, for example, by reducing costs of energy services facing producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.

In next week's colloquium, Sweeney will discuss these three motivations as well as the status and plans for the PIEE, which was established in October 2006 with the goal of improving the opportunities for and implementation of energy efficient technologies, systems, and practices, with an emphasis on economically attractive deployment.

The colloquium takes place Monday at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium. All are invited to attend. Learn more...

SLAC's David Fritz Receives Distinguished Dissertation Award

Congratulations to David Fritz, whose research at SLAC's Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source (SPPS) experiment helped him win the University of Michigan's Distinguished Dissertation Award. Of the 751 dissertations defended at the university last year, Fritz, who now works on the Linac Coherent Light Source Ultrafast Science Instruments project (LUSI), was one of eight students to receive the distinction.

"I feel extremely fortunate," he said. "This honor should be shared with many collaborators and SLAC staff members that were involved with the SPPS project."

Under the guidance of his advisor, David Reis, Fritz conducted more than two years of research for his dissertation, Mapping the Interatomic Potential of Photoexcited Bismuth: Ultrafast Optical and X-ray Studies, here at SLAC. A portion of the work tackled the question of how to synchronize light pulses with x-ray pulses. The methods developed at the SPPS will be implemented in Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) instruments that will record atomic scale movies.

"It was a difficult experiment, but I think almost all experiments at the cutting edge of physics are difficult," he said. "We were lucky to have pulled off a tough experiment and to have gotten quality results."

The award is the highest honor attached to a Ph.D. degree granted by the University of Michigan. A ceremony will take place for award winners at the Michigan campus next Thursday.

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