MEC - Matter in Extreme Conditions

Photo from entrance of MEC Feb 5 2019

The LCLS beam with its high peak brightness, short pulse duration, and tunable X-ray photon energy provides revolutionary capabilities to study the transient behavior of matter in extreme conditions. The particular strength of the Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) instrument is to combine the unique LCLS beam with high power optical laser beams, and a suite of dedicated diagnostics tailored for this field of science (including an X-ray Thomson scattering spectrometer, an XUV spectrometer, a Fourier domain interferometer, and a VISAR system). While the large vacuum target chamber makes the endstation very versatile, it has been designed to service key scientific areas including Warm Dense Matter physics, high pressure studies, shock physics, and high energy density physics.

SRD-MEC perspective for Run 21

In addition to the standard configurations, users are encouraged to take advantage of developing capabilities at MEC, in close consultation with LCLS scientists

  • A new standard beam delivery platform for the short pulse laser will be commissioned prior to run 21, which will provide for easier setup of experiments using the short pulse laser, whether in full intensity, frequency doubled, or uncompressed mode. 
  • Recent commissioning and user experiments have shown excellent results in fielding the MEC X-ray imaging platform in direct imaging mode, with either the long pulse or short pulse laser as a driver. 
  • The LCLS detectors department is fielding and testing an ultrafast X-ray Imaging detector together with the MEC X-ray imaging platform, to be made available for users. The system is compatible with the LCLS multi-bucket mode of pulse delivery, reading out up to 4 pulses with nanosecond-scale separation, allowing for multiple frames for a single laser shot. While the current sensors are shown to support lower photon energies, sensors giving good quantum efficiency above 10 keV will be tested in run 20.

Laser-only time through LaserNetUS

Starting in 2019, FES has provided funding for MEC to offer a limited amount of laser-only time (no LCLS X-rays) through the LaserNetUS consortium. See for more information.

For more information about the MEC instrument, please read the following articles:


Far Experimental Hall (FEH), Hutch 6

MEC Location

See complete instrument map »

MEC Photos

MEC (Matter in Extreme Conditions) Hutch

MEC Videos

A flyover view of the MEC instrument.

Download animation (right click and save link as):

mp4  (17.2 MB)   wmv (17 MB)  

For more MEC related videos, see the LCLS MEC playlist on YouTube.