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U.S. Particle Accelerator School Honors Zhirong Huang

(Photo - Zhirong Huang)
USPAS honoree and SLAC accelerator physicist Zhirong Huang. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

Accelerator physicist Zhirong Huang, head of SLAC's Free Electron Laser group, will receive one of two prizes for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology, awarded every two years by the U.S. Particle Accelerator School. According to the award citation, Huang was chosen "for contributions to the research and development, design, commissioning and operation of the world's first hard X-ray free-electron laser"—the Linac Coherent Light Source.

"Zhirong was actively involved in solving many of the most critical issues affecting the LCLS, and his contributions certainly helped enable the project's success," said Huang's colleague and former thesis advisor, SLAC Professor Ronald Ruth, who nominated Huang for the award.

Ruth said the success of the LCLS is due not only to developing and implementing a robust design—to which Huang also contributed—but also anticipating possible problems. For example, "micro-bunching" instabilities in the electron beam that is used to generate LCLS X-rays could arise due to tiny variations in density and energy of the electrons in single bunch. "One of Zhirong's many contributions included the development of the laser heater to cure the instability," Ruth said.

Huang expressed appreciation for Ruth's nomination and strong support from LCLS (now LCLS-II) project director John Galayda, as well as "the whole LCLS project team for giving me this opportunity."

"This [award] is another testimony to the success of the LCLS," Huang said. "I'm benefitting from its success."

According to the USPAS site, "The USPAS prize honors individuals by recognizing their outstanding achievements over the full range of accelerator physics and technology." Huang will receive a certificate of merit and a cash award during PAC '11, the 2011 Particle Accelerator Conference to be held March 28–April 1 in New York City.

—Lori Ann White
SLAC Today, February 16, 2011