“Magnetic Movies: Watching Computer Bits Dance” is SLAC public lecture on May 22

by Contributed Content on May 19, 2012

Bill Schlotter, an instrument scientist at the Linac Coherent Light Source, will deliver the May 22 SLAC Public Lecture, “Magnetic Movies: Watching Computer Bits Dance.” His talk on Tuesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, will describe how scientists use SLAC’s powerful X-ray laser to make stop-action movies of the magnetic storage bits that store information in computers and data centers.

Because these nanoscale bits switch from 0 to 1 and back again in millionths of a nanosecond, recording their activity requires the fastest movies ever made, according to Schlotter. “We make these movies with ultra-short pulses of X-rays generated by the world’s first hard X-ray laser,” he says. “Understanding what happens in magnetic storage devices becomes increasingly urgent as our appetite for smaller, faster mobile devices pushes the physics of data storage to its limits.”

Beyond magnetism, these movie-making capabilities will help SLAC examine other important ultrafast processes, such as solar-energy conversion and chemical reactions.

SLAC Public Lectures are free and last about an hour. Refreshments are served after the lecture, and guests have an opportunity then to speak with the presenter. This year’s Public Lecture series commemorates SLAC’s 50th anniversary and will include a suite of lectures highlighting the future of discovery that lies ahead for research at the laboratory.

You need not be a scientist in order to attend – all are welcome.

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