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LINAC Coherent Light Source

Forty years after the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (now the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) developed its two-mile-long linear accelerator (linac), it received approval from the Department of Energy to construct the Linac Coherent light Source (LCLS), the first free electron laser (FEL) facility that would be able to produce x-rays short and bright enough that individual molecules could be imaged in their natural states.  This article addresses key technical challenges and the importance of management support.