By Erin Weeks
When students pass by its unassuming building along Circuit Drive, many have no idea the world’s most intense gamma ray laser lies tucked away in the heart of Duke’s campus.
The Duke Free Electron Laser Laboratory, or DFELL, attracts physicists from across the country to study everything from nuclear security to the death of stars. Gamma rays are the most energetic members of the electromagnetic spectrum, and they can tell us a great deal about physics at the nuclear level. Cosmic events, like massive star collapse, produce high gamma radiation, but few natural sources exist on earth — so DFELL provides a window into the dense and infinitesimal world of the atomic nucleus. A group of students organized by Duke’s Society of Physics Students recently toured the lab to learn more. All photos were taken by Jonathan Lee.