LCLS – ONE YEAR AFTER THE X- RAY LASER WAS TURNED ON
On April 10, 2009 the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world's first hard x-ray free electron laser, was brought to lasing. Producing an x-ray beam with over a billion times higher peak brightness than the most powerful existing synchrotron sources, it marked the beginning of a new era of science. The LCLS pulses arrive at a rate of 60-120 Hz in an energy range from 480 eV to 10 keV, with pulse lengths as short as a few fs to about 300 fs. Since October 2009 users have been performing experiments at the LCLS, and currently three of the six planned instruments are available. Although we stand only at the beginning of LCLS science, there is no doubt about the strong sense of early excitement. We will describe the LCLS and its unique new capabilities, followed by some examples of the first experiments, and finish with an outlook of future plans in the short as well as the long term.