Instruments of discovery: from Adone to the X-ray free-electron laser

Aula Bruno Touschek (Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati)

Aula Bruno Touschek

Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati

Via Enrico Fermi 40 00044 Frascati

High-energy electron and positron beams play an important role in the exploration of the properties of matter at molecular, atomic and subatomic levels. Adone, and the following electron-positron colliders, explored the structure of subatomic matter and helped to develop the standard model of elementary particles. The coherent photon beam of the X-ray free-electron laser, just now starting to operate, allows for the first time the exploration of atomic and molecular processes at their characteristic length and time scales of about 1 Ångstrom and 1 femtosecond, and single shot imaging of complex, non-crystalline structures like proteins. In this talk I review the extraordinary properties of electron-positron colliders and free-electron lasers, and discuss how these instruments are based on our understanding of complex phenomena in particle beams, collective and self-organization effects, which we started to study at the Frascati National Laboratory in the 1960s with a smaller accelerator, AdA, and later with Adone.

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