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From the Accelerator Directorate: The LCLS Is Back!

(Photo - Dave Schultz) (Photo - Bob Hettel)
Dave Schultz (left) and Bob Hettel. (Photos by Brad Plummer.)

The Linac Coherent Light Source has turned back on after a very successful downtime that began before the Christmas break. Several major projects involving groups from across the lab were completed in advance of the turn-on, including:

  • K-10 substation replacement: This project, which started preparations before the downtime, replaced an aging electrical substation as a part of a continuing program to renew the SLAC Accelerator and to facilitate LCLS operation. A significant fraction of this project was done during the Christmas break when power could be shut off in the Linac to allow this work to proceed safely. Power was restored after the New Year began, and the project was completed successfully and on schedule.
  • Sector 20 wall construction: This new wall was constructed in order to separate the LCLS from the front two-thirds of the Linac, enabling LCLS to operate without interruption from upstream tunnel access.
  • Linac PPS upgrade: Associated with dividing the Linac at sector 20, the personnel protection system was split to enable upstream tunnel access during LCLS operation. This project began restructuring the backbone of the Linac PPS system which, when complete, will allow much greater flexibility in configuring the system for future Linac partitioning.
  • LCLS beam line installations: In the LCLS photon areas, Front End Enclosure beam lines were installed to allow X-rays to be directed to any of the three Near Experimental Hall hutches, increasing the number of experiments that can be conducted in a beam-sharing mode in future runs compared with the single Atomic, Molecular and Optical experiment last run. The added complexity of this mode will make operations much more interesting, with many more users able to do cutting-edge science.

The completion of these projects enabled the timely turn-on of the LCLS on April 4, and only two weeks were needed to reach full free-electron laser performance. This is a testament to the remarkable robustness of this extremely complex machine and to the metrological and beam-based alignment capabilities that are in place. Now that the LCLS is lasing again, not only will the facility be ready for user operations in early May, but yesterday LCLS achieved another major milestone by delivering first photons to the Far Experimental Hall, a momentous occasion that brings the construction project close to final completion! 

Congratulations and thanks to all those involved with the multitude of LCLS downtime and start-up tasks. We all look forward to the upcoming run.

óDave Schultz and Bob Hettel
SLAC Today, April 23, 2010