Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Written Evidence

Annex 2

30th April 2007

Dr. John Womersley, Director of Strategy, STFC
Prof. Robert J. Donovan, Univ. of Edinburgh
(Coordinators of UK Light Source Review)


  Dear John and Bob:

  I was grateful for the invitation last Friday, April 27, 2007 that allowed me a glimpse at the initial strategy for the Review of UK Light Sources being planned this summer by STFC, and in particular, the Review Panel as it stands now. As a newcomer to the UK science enterprise, I would like to comment on it, if I may, and not in the capacity as part of any light source project in the UK, which I am not. But I would like to deposit my thoughts rather as someone who has been associated with and steeped for the past two and a half decades in light source developments and the associated science around the world. This has included both conventional storage ring-based SR facilities as well as contributions to the progress on the conception and subsequent developments on ultra-fast techniques at Berkeley and then subsequently worldwide, then on to FELs at Jefferson Lab, and to the underlying emerging technologies of SCRF and ERLs. I have been embedded in the US/global light sources community starting with the conception, design, construction and operation of the ALS at Berkeley, later on contributing to the SPEAR 3 and LCLS developments, development of the Jefferson lab ERL/FEL and Cornell ERL-based facilities, advising the APS ERL-Upgrade team and counselling the NSLS-II team at BNL spanning nearly 25 years. All these in my case, were synergistic with the other half of my professional canvas which deals with the accelerators and colliders for high energy and nuclear physics, where development of intense and bright beams of electrons and positrons provided unparalleled synergy between the two fields.

  It is my perception that the chosen panel represents the hard X-ray community extremely ably, with notable members known for their judgment and wisdom in the community. I however feel that that this panel could be made more complete by adding one or two extra members who can offer wisdom and counsel to the UK community on the longer wavelength IR, VUV and soft X-ray regimes towards which 4GLS is targeted by design. 4GLS is not a facility directed towards research of complex structures via X-rays per se, but is rather aimed towards spectroscopy and functional time-domain analysis of complex processes including collective dynamics on surfaces, ultrafast phenomena, biological function and high field physics. This community complements rather than competes with the conventional hard X-ray facilities. It should be stressed that it is also very different from the high energy X-FELs being contemplated at DESY and being built at SLAC (LCLS) based upon SASE. In fact 4GLS is a mezzo-scale, longer wavelength, coherent and bright source of controllable light, made robust, predictive, reproducible, brilliant and flexible in its time structure by the now-established technology of SCRF in combination with the emerging Energy Recovery and various laser seeding techniques. Facilities similar to this are under early stages of consideration at various sites world-wide, 4GLS being the first of its kind. It thereby promises to be pioneering in the field at its cutting edge, potentially placing the UK in the premier seat globally with discovery-calibre science and all the rewards which this brings. However, the chosen panel will find it difficult to appreciate these aspects, given the absence of 4GLS's projection on the "hard X-ray axis".

  With this preamble, I take the liberty of suggesting to you a few names who may complete the panel in terms of its knowledge/experience base and who would bring wisdom to the whole scientific scope of 4GLS in advising the UK research and funding agencies. I speak solely on the basis of their scientific and technological merit. Eventually the composition of this panel has to be acceptable to the community as well as to the agency.

  The names of Profs. Roger Falcone and/or Ron Shen from Berkeley come to mind. Roger is currently the Director of the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley. He was also the Chair of the Scientific Policy Committee of the LCLS at SLAC. As a professor in the Physics department of Univ. of California at Berkeley, including his tenure as its Head, as well as via his involvement at the ALS beam lines and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's large laser facilities, Roger is a world renowned expert on Higher Harmonic Generation, High-field Atomic Physics, Femto- and Atto-second Physics etc., all in the soft X-ray and VUV regions. He is an esteemed reviewer in many international reviews, is courteous and gracious, and would be highly desirable as an international reviewer with integrity and scientific stature for this review.

  Prof. Ron Shen, is an expert on IR physics, including IR lasers, ALS beam lines and IRFELs and general non-linear multi-photon processes. He is highly esteemed in the US and international community and would add significant value to the review as well.

  The names of Steve Leone and Graham Fleming crossed my mind, but past interactions with SLAC will shadow their effectiveness in this committee from a socio-political perspective, and I would not recommend them as panel members for this review.

  Finally, there are other international names to bear in mind: Joe Bisognano from Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison and Executive Director of SRRC, Prof. Chuck Fadley from UC Davis, and Prof. Robert Austin from Princeton (member of US National Academy of Sciences).

  I am sure one can carefully add a name or two to balance out the portfolio of this panel, allowing it the proper experience base necessary to evaluate the diverse facilities which it has to consider, particularly the novel, but unfortunately still somewhat misunderstood, facilities of the future like 4GLS.

  I thank you for your attention to my remarks and wish you success in this important yet non-trivial light source review for the UK.

  Sincerely yours,


Prof. Swapan Chattopadhyay, Ph. D. (Berkeley)

Director, Cockcroft Institute and

First Chair of Accelerator Physics, UK

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Prepared 30 April 2008