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An Office of Science User Facility

LCLS-II: A World-Class Discovery Machine

Responding to a call to build a revolutionary new X-ray laser, SLAC is developing an upgrade of its Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) that will be at the forefront of X-ray science.



Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the LCLS is the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser. Its strobe-like pulses are just a few millionths of a billionth of a second long, and a billion times brighter than previous X-ray sources. Scientists use LCLS to take crisp pictures of atomic motions, watch chemical reactions unfold, probe the properties of materials and explore fundamental processes in living things.
Its performance to date, over the first few years of operation, has already provided a breathtaking array of world-leading results, published in the most prestigious academic journals and has inspired other XFEL facilities to be commissioned around the world.

Taking the Next Step

LCLS-II will build from the success of LCLS to ensure that the U.S. maintains a world-leading capability for advanced research in energy, materials, biology and chemistry.
LCLS-II will provide a major jump in capability – moving from 120 pulses per second to 1 million pulses per second. This will enable researchers to perform experiments in a wide range of fields that are now impossible. The unique capabilities of LCLS-II will yield a host of discoveries to advance industry, new energy solutions and our quality of life.

Addressing Grand Challenges

The potential for truly transformational fundamental research aimed at understanding matter and energy at the electronic, atomic and molecular level was captured by the DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences in a set of five interrelated grand challenges for science and the imagination:
  1. How do we control material processes at the level of electrons?
  2. How do we design and perfect atom- and energy-efficient synthesis of revolutionary new forms of matter with tailored properties?
  3. How do remarkable properties of matter emerge from complex correlations of the atomic or electronic constituents and how can we control these properties?
  4. How can we master energy and information on the nanoscale to create new technologies with capabilities rivaling those of living things?
  5. How do we characterize and control matter away—especially very far away—from equilibrium?
The breadth of science enabled by LCLS-II will be essential for advancing these original grand challenges, and will address many critical knowledge gaps at the frontiers of matter and energy. Their ultimate goal is to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment and national security.
The scientific community has identified six areas among the research topics where the unique capabilities of LCLS-II will be essential for further scientific progress.
How LCLS Works Diagram

How LCLS Works

At the LCLS, extremely short, bright X-ray laser pulses hit samples up to 120 times per second, producing patterns in a detector that reveal the structures of biological molecules, properties of materials, atomic motions and other fundamental information. LCLS-II will greatly advance the capabilities of LCLS as a world-class discovery machine.

 LCLS-II Science


 LCLS-II Design




 Meetings & Reports


SLAC SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA
Operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Dept. of Energy