Jessica built a LEGO beamline

Jessica built a LEGO beamline


From the big magnets to the gas bottles, laptop, and left behind coffee cups. The miniature model built by Jessica Lastow, one of our summer interns 2018, shows off the life at the only beamline located underground at MAX IV, FemtoMAX. 

FemtoMAX is a bit different than the other beamlines. Instead of being connected to one of our storage rings, it sits at the end of the linear accelerator. It is built this way so that it can deliver very short bursts of X-rays. Its name comes from the time unit used to measure these X-ray bursts, femtoseconds (10-15 s). These short pulses will be used to follow chemical reactions which could lead to new types of data storage media or sustainable energy sources that mimic photosynthesis.

The location of the beamline also means that it’s not often that visitors just pass by and the beamline scientist team wanted to make it more visible out in the experiment hall. They decided that they wanted a miniature model showing all the parts of the beamline and hired the engineering physics student Jessica Lastow to do the job. She designed the model, found solutions for building the different parts and put it all together.

The model has parts built out of LEGO blocks combined with metal parts machined in the MAX IV workshop and 3D printed pieces. There is the laser lab with all its lenses and the optical table. Lasers are used at the real beamline to induce a process in the sample that can then be measured by the X-ray beam. There is the path for the X-rays with even the small windows for the vacuum chambers. This model now is an excellent point to stop with visitors and explain all the parts that need to work together to make a beamline.

Jessica returned to her physics studies at the Faculty of Engineering and we wish her the best of luck. We hope that we will see her again at MAX IV in the future as a user or a beamline scientist. Maybe putting her samples into the actual experiment set up at FemtoMAX.

FemtoMAX is one of three beamlines in the commissioning expert call open until February 7, 2019. See open and upcoming calls for proposals

Interview with Jessica Lastow