First x-ray laser dedicated by DoE

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The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the first x-ray laser, was dedicated during a ceremony at the Department of Energy's (DoE) Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on Aug. 16.

The LCLS-a $420 million project funded by the DoE Office of Science-is a new type of scientific facility that can perform basic scientific research and drive applications in energy and environmental sciences, drug development and materials engineering, stated the DoE. The project was additionally funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provided $53.6 million to accelerate the construction of scientific instruments for the LCLS.

According to the DoE, results of the first experiments utilizing the LCLS have imaged bacteria and parts of the photosynthetic system found in plants and stripped atoms of their electrons, which is made possible by the high energy x-rays.

Current and future experiments will investigate more complicated molecules and piece together the first movies of atomic dynamics in action, said the department.