Follow This Electron Bunch

This animation, created by Illumina Visual for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, shows an ultra-slow-motion impression of an APEX-style electron gun firing a continuous train of electron bunches into a superconducting linear accelerator (in reality this would happen a million times a second). As they approach the speed of light, the bunches contract - maintaining beam quality. After acceleration, the electron bunches are diverted into one or more undulators, the key components of free electron lasers. Oscillating back and forth in the changing magnetic field, they create beams of structured X-ray pulses. Before entering the experimental areas the electron bunches are diverted to a beam dump.