Scientists Deliver 'First Light' of Free-Electron Laser

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va., have delivered the "first light" of their free-electron laser.

The laser delivered IR light at more than 150 W, surpassing the 11-W mark set by a free-electron laser at Vanderbilt University.

The Jefferson Lab laser could become an important tool for basic research in materials science and molecular physics. Because the laser is efficient (99 percent of the unconverted light can be recycled), it also has attracted industry. DuPont in Wilmington, Del., is investigating the use of a similar device for polymer processing. The team of Northrop Grumman in Los Angeles and Virginia Power is investigating its capabilities in metals processing.

For downloadable photos and additional text, please consult http://www.jlab.org/FEL/FELpics/FirstLight/FirstLight.html.