Last week, I had a post on the DOE’s awarding of $327 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act monies going to various federal labs. Now, thanks to a press release posted Friday by the DOE, we now know a little more about the funding that’s going to the agency’s SLAC National Accelerator Lab and its two light source research facilities, the Linac Coherent Light Source and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. SLAC officials say the funds will accelerate the use of the LCLS and bring needed upgrades the SSRL.
Of the total $21.8 million set aside, $20 million is being allocated for the construction of an experimental station for the study of matter in extreme conditions at the LCLS. The LCLS is SLAC’s new X-ray laser that achieved first light earlier this year.
“The Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument enabled by the Recovery Act completes the suite of six scientific stations envisioned for the first phase of the LCLS,” says Jo Stöhr, LCLS director. “It allows the scientific community to explore, with unprecedented detail, the properties and behavior of matter in extreme states.”
According to the DOE, the MEC will investigate short-lived states of matter that can exist during fusion processes. The thinking is that when matter passes through such transient states, it may be the precursor for new types of materials.
In regard to the SSRL, $1.8 million will be used to establish a new experimental station for scientists to study materials in the realistic conditions required for energy, environmental and technological applications, and upgrade the facility’s liquid nitrogen cooling system. Piero Pianetta, acting SSRL director, says, “This takes us from the dreaming stage to the doing stage very quickly. It accelerates these parts of our program by several years.”