Speaker: Frederico Fiuza, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Abstract: The combination of bright coherent X-ray sources with high-power optical lasers is revolutionizing our ability to probe matter under extreme conditions. Under the action of present-day laser intensities, materials are rapidly ionized, electrons can wiggle with energies over 100 MeV, the ponderomotive pressure exceeds one billion atmospheres, and the electric and magnetic fields produced in the plasma reach 100 TV/m and 100 kiloTesla, respectively. Developments in X-ray free-electron lasers offer the possibility to probe these extreme plasma states with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. This combination thus opens a unique window into extreme plasma environments that cannot be produced or probed by any other means in the laboratory and that are important for applications that range from nuclear fusion and laboratory astrophysics to the development of compact radiation sources for medical imaging and therapy. I will discuss recent advances at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC in these areas and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.