The next-generation laser made by researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is almost complete.
The laser will be the world's bright x-ray laser, called the Linac Coherent Light Source II (LCLS-II). It will be approximately 10,000 times as bright as its predecessor, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). The LCLS became operational in 2009 and can create a beam that pulses light 120 times per second.
In comparison, the LCLS-II will produce one million light pulses per second, a rate of one pulse every femtosecond. The beam will be shot into a series of alternating magnets (known as an undulator) to produce X-rays, which can then be used to take snapshots during experiments. The laser apparatus of the LCLS-II spans two miles (3.2 kilometers) of a long tunnel excavated near Stanford University.
"If you think about a strobe light that goes off 120 times, you see one image. If it goes off a million times in a second, you get a much different image. So you can create a much better movie," said Andrew Burrill, SLAC associate lab director.
This video by CNET provides a detailed look at the laser.
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