Berkeley Lab

First Electrons from Berkeley Lab-Built LCLS-II Electron Gun

— Its electron beams will drive the generation of up to a million ultrabright X-ray flashes per second

By Glenn Roberts, Jr., of Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications; adapted from the original release by Manuel Gnida of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

LCLS-II First Beam

Image of the first beam of photoelectrons for a next-generation LCLS-II X-ray laser housed at SLAC. Berkeley Lab designed and built the electron gun supplying the laser’s electrons. (Credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

A new electron gun, designed and built at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to supply electrons for a next-gen X-ray laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, has fired its first electrons. The X-ray laser is part of the LCLS-II project, which is an upgrade of SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser.

Located at the front end of LCLS-II, the gun is part of the injector, which will generate a nearly continuous stream of electrons to drive the production of powerful X-ray beams at a pulse rate 8,000 times faster than LCLS to date.

The successful production of electrons was the culmination of 15 months of work, during which teams have installed and tested parts of the injector at SLAC, building on design and testing done over the past few years at Berkeley Lab.

“This is a critical milestone for the LCLS-II project, and for the Berkeley Lab team that designed and built the gun and low-energy beam transport for the project,” said John Corlett, who serves as Berkeley Lab’s interim project management officer and has also served as the senior team lead for Berkeley Lab’s contributions to the LCLS-II project.