"Adventures with the world's first x-ray free electron laser"

Linda Young, Division Director
Argonne National Laboratory


The world’s first hard x-ray free electron laser came to life in April 2009 at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. This x-ray laser, named LCLS, provides breakthrough intensity, which when focused to a spot diameter of one millionth of a meter, is equivalent to the entire output of the sun hitting the earth. These extreme intensities create exotic states of matter as x-rays remove the more tightly bound electrons before the more loosely bound ones! Understanding and controlling the correlated dance of inner- and outer-shell electrons is a new frontier enabled by the birth and development of the x-ray free electron laser. In this talk, I will recount first experiments at the LCLS and our continuing quest to understand and control the response of matter to extreme conditions.