Argonne National Laboratory

Young awarded Helmholtz International Fellow leading up to start of powerful new X-ray laser

By Katie Elyce JonesAugust 9, 2016

Linda Young, Argonne Distinguished Fellow and a leader in the field of X-ray science, has received the Helmholtz International Fellow Award from the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organization in Germany. Established in 2012, the award "targets researchers as well as science managers based outside of Germany, who have excelled in their research" by providing 20,000 euros to support a research fellowship.

As a visiting fellow at the DESY accelerator center in Hamburg, Germany, Young's appointment will coincide with the early operation of the world's most powerful X-ray free electron laser, due to come online in 2017 at the DESY European XFEL facility.

"It's invigorating to witness the inauguration of the world's most powerful X-ray laser and explore possibilities for initial experiments," she said. "I'm excited to collaborate with researchers at DESY as they have a growing community and some of the world's renowned experts. I'm also looking forward to bringing back potential collaborations to Argonne."

As a member of Argonne's Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics group, Young studies the fundamental interactions of atoms and molecules at high X-ray intensities and has been instrumental in advancing the AMO field since joining Argonne in 1984. Her expertise has contributed to the development of science programs at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility, where she served as X-ray Science Division Director for six years, as well as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she served on scientific advisory committees. She holds a joint appointment as a professor in the University of Chicago's Department of Physics and James Franck Institute.

This will not be the first time Young plays an early role in a new X-ray facility. Her research team conducted the very first experiment on the world's first hard X-ray free electron laser, the LCLS. Young's experiment used the light source's X-ray pulses to "hollow out" neon atoms by removing their inner shell electrons and leaving the outer shell intact in order to establish how intense X-rays interact with matter.

Young is the second Argonne scientist to receive the award, which is given to up to ten researchers each year across the globe. Nuclear physicist Craig Roberts, Theory Group Leader in Argonne's Physics Division, received the award in 2012 to study problems at the interface of nuclear and particle physics at the Jülich Research Center, one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research institutes, located in Jülich, Germany.

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