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Linda Young Public Lecture Scheduled About X-ray Lasers

October 24, 2013

Join us Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium to here Dr. Linda Young's lecture on "X-ray Lasers - No Longer Science Fiction."  Linda Young is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow leader in the field of atomic, molecular and optical physics, is director of the X-ray Science Division at Argonne.

The first optical laser was created by Ted Maiman in May of 1960 at Hughes Research Laboratories.  From that small-scale demonstration, lasers are now ubiquitous in society, as celebrated by Laser Fest 2010, which marked the laser’s 50th anniversary.  Within that timespan we also witnessed the birth of the world’s first x-ray free-electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC), which produced coherent radiation at 0.15 nm (a 4000 times shorter wavelength than the common laser pointer) on April 20, 2009.  LCLS is no ordinary laser; it employs a 1-kilometer linear accelerator (Linac) to accelerate electrons very close to the speed of light and a 100-meter array of magnets to produce x-ray bursts containing gigawatts of power – a billionfold increase over that available from x-ray synchrotrons, the other research tool used by scientists interested in determining three-dimensional structure of materials at the atomic scale.  In this lecture I will describe the birth of the machine, the first experiments that elucidated the response of matter to these powerful x-ray laser pulses, and the challenges ahead as the x-ray laser enthusiasts from around the globe race to fulfill their dream of imaging single biomolecules without the need for crystallization.

This public lecture is made possible through the Distinguished Traveling Lecturer program of the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society.  Sheslow Auditorium is found on the Drake University campus.