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In this issue:
People: Andrei Seryi
In the News: X-ray Free-electron Lasers Fire Up
Around SLAC: LCLS First Science

SLAC Today

Wednesday - October 7, 2009

People: Andrei Seryi

(Photo - Andre Seryi)
Andrei Seryi.
(Photo by Diana Rogers.)

Since beginning his career in 1986, SLAC senior scientist and project manager for FACET Andrei Seryi has worked at five labs in three countries, with the last 10 years at SLAC. In this decade, Seryi has led international collaborations to design and build linear accelerator experimental facilities, all while continuing his accelerator research and design projects at SLAC.

Today, Seryi devotes most of his efforts at SLAC to the FACET project—Facilities for Accelerator Science and Experimental Test Beams at SLAC—an experimental facility created for studies of advanced methods of plasma wakefield acceleration of electron and positron beams.

"Plasma acceleration is a very promising technique that may change the design of future machines and I am very happy to lead the dedicated FACET team," Seryi said.

Seryi is also the deputy spokesperson of the Accelerator Test Facility International Collaboration, responsible for the ATF2 test facility, a prototype of the beam delivery system for a linear collider. ATF2 was recently installed at the high energy physics research organization KEK, in Japan.

"The work on beam delivery started for me as early as 1988, when I was working on my PhD," Seryi said. His doctoral thesis explored beam delivery system designs for linear accelerators. He returned to the field to lead the group of nearly one hundred scientists from around the world in making a technical design for the beam delivery system for the International Linear Collider and ATF2.  Read more...

In the News:
X-ray Free-electron Lasers Fire Up

(Photo - LCLS metrology work)
SLAC researchers calibrate the magnets at the Linac Coherent Light Source. (Photo by Peter Ginter.)

Heinz Graafsma is tired of the "pretty, but useless" images of proteins that regularly adorn the pages of journals such as Nature. "Chemistry depends on changes," says Graafsma, the head of detectors for photon science at DESY, Germany's high-energy physics laboratory in Hamburg. "The static world is boring."

Get ready for the movies. A new generation of light sources—including one just completed in California, one under construction in Japan and one being built outside Graafsma's office—are getting set not only to put atoms and molecules under the spotlight, but also to illuminate their dynamics.

The devices, called X-ray free-electron lasers, produce flashes of X-ray light with angstrom-level wavelengths—small and coherent enough to image individual atoms. The flashes are also more intense than any created before—stuffed with enough photons to create and study extreme states of matter such as plasma.

But perhaps most importantly, the bursts of light are short—just hundreds of femtoseconds long, the time it takes for light to cross a human hair. Pulses as brief as this can record functions, not just forms: the folding of a protein, the action of a catalyst, the splitting of a chemical bond.

"That is the revolutionary thing," says Joachim Stöhr, director of the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. The US$420-million machine, the first free-electron laser in the world to operate at wavelengths this short, began its first experiments last week. 

Read more in Nature News...

Around SLAC:
Celebrating LCLS First Science

(Photo - fire extinguisher training class)
Visiting scientists from Argonne National Laboratory celebrate with LCLS colleagues. (Photo by NIcholas Bock.)

Scientists working with the Linac Coherent Light Source convened for a sparkling cider toast on the roof of the Near Experimental Hall Tuesday afternoon, commemorating the completion of the first user experiment at LCLS. The five-day experiment, led by Argonne National Laboratory's Linda Young, used the Atomic, Molecular and Optical science instrument to explore how the LCLS beam interacts with matter.


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