Linac Coherent Light Source Experimental Facility
The DOE proposes to construct and operate a new research facility at SLAC, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), as a collaborative effort with other DOE facilities. The purpose and need for the LCLS is the creation of a new type of x-ray light source from a single pass free electron laser (FEL). The FEL would have a peak brightness 10 orders of magnitude greater and with faster pulses (in the sub-picosecond range), than the most intense synchrotrons currently available. The higher peak brightness would allow examination of much smaller particles, and the faster pulses would allow scientists to evaluate changes within a very short timeframe. As with the first microscope, the ability to explore our world on a finer scale will open up unforeseen frontiers. For example, the synchrotron experiments have revealed the structure of proteins. The FEL would not only reveal structures of the smallest molecules, but would also provide scientists with a tool to evaluate how interactions occur on an atomic level. In a practical sense, the understanding gained may lead to diverse applications ranging from new drugs for combating diseases to understanding how planets form. The LCLS would be the most powerful FEL in the world contemplated at this time.