Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Proper Lighting for Atoms and Molecules

A Los Alamos scientist describes the challenge of designing an x-ray free-electron laser to illuminate matter interactions on the atomic scale.
May 1, 2017
new x-ray free-electron laser

A powerful new x-ray free-electron laser will, for the first time, allow scientists to “see” exactly how atoms interact with one another.

“Advanced light sources are a modern crossroads, routinely bringing together theorists, experimentalists, and computational scientists.” - Nathan Moody, Los Alamos scientist

“As I pursued my own scientific career at a national lab, I came to appreciate that a great deal of present and future scientific discovery relies critically on the dynamics of the atomic scale. Most of the big challenges for humans—from understanding and treating disease to advancing and stewarding modern weapons—hinge upon dynamically observing and sometimes controlling matter on the atomic scale. Indeed, over the past decade at Los Alamos, seeing what atoms are doing has emerged as a key focus of
 my career.”