The Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC is the world's most powerful X-ray laser. Just two years after turning on in 2009, breakthrough science is emerging from the LCLS at a rapid pace. A recent experiment used the X-rays to create and probe a 2-million-degree piece of matter in a controlled way for the first time—a significant leap toward understanding the extreme conditions found in the hearts of stars and giant planets, and a finding which could further guide research into nuclear fusion, the mechanism that powers the sun. Upcoming experiments will investigate the fundamental, atomic-scale processes behind such phenomena as superconductivity and magnetism, as well as peering into the molecular workings of photosynthesis in plants.
Filmed and produced by SLAC Multimedia Communications; Music ("The Dig") courtesy Dwight Chalmers @ The Listen Laboratory. Copyright 2012 SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.