Caitlyn Buongiorno

Caitlyn Buongiorno is a freelance writer in the Chicago area.

Three United States DOE national laboratories – SLAC, Fermilab and Jefferson Lab – have partnered to build an advanced particle accelerator that will power the LCLS-II X-ray laser. Thanks to technology developed for nuclear and high-energy physics, the new X-ray laser will produce a nearly continuous wave of electrons and allow scientists to peer more deeply than ever before into the building blocks of life and matter.

Particle accelerators are some of the most complicated machines in science. In today’s more autonomous era of self-driving cars and vacuuming robots, efforts are going strong to automate different aspects of the operation of accelerators, and the next generation of particle accelerators promises to be more automated than ever. Scientists are working on ways to run them with a diminishing amount of direction from humans.