November 15, 2002  


German and U.S. Laboratories to Collaborate on the Development of X-Ray Free Electron Lasers

By Neil Calder

Representatives from SLAC and DESY, Germany’s leading particle physics and synchrotron radiation laboratory, gathered in Washington, D.C. last week to sign a laboratory-to-laboratory Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that establishes a unique international collaboration for the development of x-ray free electron lasers.

At the MoU signing ceremony: (front row, left to right) Albrecht Wagner, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors; Jonathan Dorfan, SLAC Director; Jochen Schneider, DESY Research Director; (back row, left to right) Jerry Hastings, Project Manager of the SPPS Experiment; John Galayda, Director of LCLS project; Keith Hodgson, Director of SSRL (Photo courtesy of DOE)

"We are all excited by the colossal discovery potential of x-ray free electron lasers," said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan at the signing. "International collaboration is the most efficient, responsible and cost effective way of building world-class science facilities. There is already dynamic collaboration between SLAC, DESY and Japan’s KEK laboratory on research and development for a future high-energy physics linear collider. Today’s agreement establishes stronger bonds between international centers of excellence."

SLAC and DESY are advanced in the planning for two facilities—the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC and the TESLA X-ray Free Electron Laser (TESLA-XFEL) at DESY. The LCLS project engineering and design has been authorized and the facility is scheduled to become operational in 2008. TESLA-XFEL is expected to be operational in 2011.

When completed, the facilities will be a giant leap forward in synchrotron radiation research, generating x-ray pulses ten billion times brighter and a thousand-fold shorter in duration than existing sources. These ultra-brilliant beams will explore previously inaccessible realms of dynamics in the chemical, biological and materials sciences as well as in nanoscale phenomenology and atomic and plasma physics.

"These machines can be used to observe atoms in the process of forming or breaking bonds in molecules—in effect, freeze-frame photography of molecular formation," said John Galayda, head of the LCLS project.

The MoU sets the framework for practical collaboration between DESY and SLAC on the many technical challenges to be faced in fully exploiting the capabilities of x-ray free electron lasers. This collaboration will be based on exchange of personnel and equipment and open interchange of research results, know-how and data.  


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Friday November 15, 2002 by Kathy B