IBBR Seminar Series

Structural biology with x-ray lasers

The Linac Coherent Light Source or LCLS at Stanford is home to the one of the world’s first hard x-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs), which enables whole new classes of experiments on biological structures, as well as in many other fields. LCLS delivers x-ray pulses 120 times a second. The pulses can be as short at 10-14 seconds (10 femtoseconds), and contain about 1012 photons. These pulses can freeze molecular motions like a flashbulb, and are so intense that they can produce observable scattering from nanocrystals 1000 times smaller in volume than those we use today.