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Staff LCLS Tour

More than 500 lab employees signed up for a firsthand look at the newly constructed facilities for the Linac Coherent Light Source during last Thursday's LCLS tour.

Tours began in the Beam Transport Hall, where electrons from the linac will enter the machine. Participants proceeded through the Undulator Hall, home to a series of 33 magnets that will jostle the electrons so that they emit X-rays. The next stop was the Beam Dump, where the electrons will be separated from the X-rays and carefully discarded. The 3/4-mile walk finished with the Near and Far Experimental Halls that will house the X-ray laser's scientific instrumentation. A 200-meter X-ray Tunnel separates the Near Experimental Hall from the Far Experimental Hall. Each hall contains three experimental stations, in separate shielded hutches. Some experiments, such as those using lower-energy X-rays, benefit from being near to the X-ray source, while others, such as those exploiting the coherence of the LCLS X-ray pulses, benefit from being farther away. The Near and Far Halls will enable a full range of experiments.

Each stop along the tour included explanations and question-and-answer time with engineers, designers and scientists from the LCLS and LCLS Ultrafast Scientific Instruments teams—including visiting LCLS colleagues from Argonne National Laboratory. The guides expressed their excitement over the progress on this huge machine, with the first injector-to-dump electron beam expected this winter, and "first light" X-rays as early as mid-2009.

For a bird's-eye view, see this interactive map of the LCLS.

The first stop on the tour: the Beam Transport Hall. The yellow stands support the beam pipe, diagnostic and failsafe equipment, and magnets that will steer and focus the electron beam. The electrons will enter this area from the SLAC linac already accelerated to energies as high as 13.5 GeV.
The 170-meter-long Undulator Hall, above, is the length of two football fields. As the electron beam travels through this area, 33 undulator magnets, supported on the blue stands and gray girders shown in the background, will cause the electrons to emit X-rays.
An experimental hutch in the Near Experimental Hall. A life-size color diagram of the scientific instrument to be housed in this hutch appears on the back wall. Each of the three hutches in the Near Experimental Hall will host a different experimental setup.
The X-ray Tunnel between the Near and Far Experimental Halls does not yet contain the beam pipe that will transport the LCLS X-rays to the Far Experimental Hall.
The cavernous Far Experimental Hall sits beneath a hillside beyond SLAC's PEP Ring Road, near the Collider Hall. Construction of its three experimental hutches will begin in 2009.

—text by Shawne Workman; photos by Brad Plummer
SLAC Today, December 5, 2008