Stanford University

Bay Area Lasers About to Get Faster and Stronger

If you like lasers, this is prime time.

The Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory, commonly called SLAC, is getting a remodel, and a recharge at the same time.

Part of the two-mile structure that runs along (and under) the 280 freeway in Menlo Park is being updated to the tune of a billion dollars.

When the upgrade is complete, the facility itself will be longer, and its laser speed will be measured in quadrillionths of a second.

The maze of pipes and magnets sitting underground, not far from Stanford University, will get more powerful with new X-Ray lasers.

The lasers will be so fast, SLAC officials say they’ll improve the way they test drugs, detect pollution, and many other uses.

How fast? David Fritz at SLAC tells us, "The accelerator today produces 120 bursts of electrons per second, and the new accelerator will allow us to take that up to a million pulses per second."

This won’t come as fast as the lasers, though — much of the new material is being made elsewhere. The project will take at least a year.

Then, watch the lasers fire away.

Scott can be zapped on Twitter: @scottbudman

Latest Winter Olympics Headlines:
> Zagitova Wins Figure Skating Gold, Edges Medvedeva
> Karen Chen Frustrated, Disappointed With Olympic Results
> Mirai Nagasu Overcome With Tears, Joy Despite Solo Struggles
> Karen Chen Falters in Free Skate
> Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir to Host Olympics Closing Ceremony
Viral Moments:
> Garlic Girls: South Korean Curler Strikes Gold, Becomes Meme
> Try Not to Laugh at Maame Biney's Bad Jokes
> Curling Gets the K-Pop Treatment
> Who Runs Team USA? Women
> Incredible Call Perfectly Captures Diggins' Historic Moment
Must-See Photos/Video:
David Wise Celebrates With Kids, Wife: 'You Won!'
> Kevin Rolland Takes Terrifying Spill in Men's Halfpipe
> This Is What Karen Chen Does Before Every Performance
#ColdPeopleOfPyeongChang: Fans Battle Frigid Temperatures
> Squaw Valley: Home of Olympians and Medalists
NorCal Athletes:
> Get to Know Your Northern California Athletes
> Bowman on Sochi Gold and Role as Mentor to Tahoe Youth
> Meet Fremont's Karen Chen, Ladies' Figure Skater
> Meet Bay Area Bobsledder Nick Cunningham
> Where's Garvin? Tracking Our Intrepid Reporter's Adventures

Contact Us