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In this issue:
LCLS: The World's Largest Laser Writer?
Symposium Celebrates SSRL Pioneer
No SLAC Colloquium Today

SLAC Today

Monday - October 19, 2009

LCLS: The World's Largest Laser Writer?

(Image - LCLS letting in boron carbide, 3-D data)
The letters "LCLS" were etched into boron carbide during tests to prepare the X-ray laser for user science. The image to the right reveals the letters' depth. (Image courtesy the LCLS scientific team.)

While not the smallest lettering ever created, the tiny initials "LCLS" have been written with what may be the world's most potent pen. Etched into boron carbide, a super-hard substance used in accelerator shielding and body armor, the lettering has helped researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory explore the capabilities of the world's first hard X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source.

A collaboration of scientists from SLAC and partner labs created the writing in September as part of experiments to characterize the LCLS X-ray beam and its interactions with materials. The team worked intensely to prepare for arrival of the first LCLS scientific users October 1.

"I was quite nervous before the experiment" said LCLS physicist Jacek Krzywinski, who coordinated the effort. "Nobody before has tried to characterize such a powerful X-ray beam. We have already successfully measured micron-size, focused beam at the FLASH facility [in Germany] but here [at LCLS] the wavelength was order of magnitude shorter. Fortunately, it worked."  Read more...

Symposium Celebrates SSRL Pioneer

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and Linac Coherent Light Source Users' Meeting and Workshops got started a day early this year, with more than 100 students and scientists spending Sunday at Kavli Auditorium to celebrate the 75th birthday of SLAC and Stanford physicist Sebastian Donaich.

Doniach was one of the key players in adapting SLAC's SPEAR ring for use as a light source, and from 1973 to 1977 served as the first director of SSRL. According to Stanford physicist and event organizer Aharon Kapitulnik, Doniach also made important contributions in condensed matter physics, superconductors and biophysics.

The symposium, titled "Advances in Light Source Science—Past, Present and Future," covered a similarly wide range of topics. Nine presenters from around the world gave talks on everything from the Doniach Phase Diagram—an important model in condensed matter physics—to the role of physics in biology and medicine. The event wrapped up with dinner and reception at Picchetti Winery in Saratoga Hills.

"Seb was a real pioneer," Kapitulnik said. "The symposium provided a great opportunity to honor him."

The SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops continues today in Panofsky Auditorium. The four-day event concludes Wednesday afternoon.

No SLAC Colloquium Today

The SLAC Colloquium series is taking a break this week, for the SSRL/LCLS Users Meeting. The series will resume next Monday with a talk by Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope team member Nicola Omodei at 4:15 p.m. in Panosky Auditorium.


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