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OCR for page 47
FREE ELECTRON LASERS AND OTHER ADVANCED SOURCES OF LIGHT: Scientific Research Opportunities 7 GENERAL ISSUES Several issues that the committee believed were important for the future development of free electron lasers for scientific research but that were general and did not fit into the preceding chapters are discussed briefly below. A variety of communities potentially benefit from the type of research that will be necessary to produce scientifically useful FELs, and because of the huge disparity in resources among these communities, it is unrealistic to expect any single one of them to assume the financial obligations for all, or even any significant fraction, of the total cost. Because each of these communities tends to focus tightly on its own principal interests, there is little impetus for cooperation directed toward the development of FELs. Unless this happens in the future, the technological promise could be unfulfilled. A thorough analysis of this aspect of the problem would require an in-depth study of all of these communities: accelerator physics, high-energy physics, the Defense Department, industry, and the National Laboratories, including the synchrotron laboratories. Such an analysis is clearly beyond the scope of this report. The committee therefore proposes some general approaches to these problems. The committee reiterates its view that research performed by individual investigators in their own laboratories continues to be one of this country's most productive means of advancing scientific knowledge. It is therefore in the national interest that this mode of research continue to receive high priority in the competition for resources. The need for balance between support of individual investigators and major research facilities cannot be emphasized too strongly. With these considerations in mind, the committee places high priority on the design and construction of a far-infrared FEL facility and on appropriate research required to develop less expensive, more compact, and more reliable FELs in the vacuum ultraviolet and x-ray regions. Some of the expertise for research leading to improved FELs is located at Department of Energy laboratories and in university research programs outside those funded by the DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The results of this research will have benefits that extend beyond FEL development to the larger accelerator community. It is therefore important that this research be coordinated with and jointly funded by programs both within and outside the DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The committee recommends that such coordination be addressed by a task force, along the lines of the task force on accelerator science and technology recently formed by the DOE Director of Energy Research. There is serious concern about the maintenance and development of expertise in accelerator science and design. High-energy physics, nuclear physics,
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FREE ELECTRON LASERS AND OTHER ADVANCED SOURCES OF LIGHT: Scientific Research Opportunities condensed-matter physics, and chemistry all have an interest in this problem, albeit to different degrees and from different perspectives. There have been problems in pursuing goals that cut across such a wide range of programs. The committee urges the DOE and other agencies to address problems that cut across present organizational boundaries even if this means inventing new processes for funding and program management. The development of FELs is of interest for applications other than scientific research, for example, industrial, defense, and medical applications. The committee recommends that the Department of Energy, other federal agencies, and the private sector explore coordination of funding for FEL development. X-ray and VUV FELs, if developed, will complement and in some cases replace existing photon sources. Existing synchrotron facilities should have an institutional interest in the development of short-wavelength FELs; they already have the expertise to participate or lead in this development. The committee encourages these facilities and their host institutions to use some of their own discretionary research funds to support the next phase of FEL research. As the decision point for short-wavelength FEL facility construction approaches, a careful examination of existing ultraviolet and x-ray facilities will be needed to determine the optimum balance in providing new facilities, continuing to operate existing facilities, and discontinuing older facilities. Commitment to construction of an FEL facility implies a future need for operating funds, which may have to be provided at the expense of an existing facility.
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