The Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) instrument at LCLS pioneered the use of the hard X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) in combination with high-power optical lasers to advance high energy density science. Commissioned in 2012 as an open-access scientific capability, this application of the powerful XFEL diagnostic has driven a rich array of high-profile scientific results, providing new insight into atomic and structural properties of dynamic plasma and high-pressure material states. Aided in part by the success of MEC and other high power laser facilities, there has been a strong call from the research community over the past 5 years for increased national investments in high power lasers combined with existing national lab infrastructure.
In response to a mission need statement from the US Department of Energy, Fusion Energy Sciences, SLAC has developed a conceptual design for a project to build a new HED science facility combining high rep-rate (10Hz) petawatt laser systems and high energy (1kJ) long pulse lasers with the LCLS XFEL. Combined with flexible and high efficiency experimental systems, this facility will enable a world-unique set of scientific capabilities complementing the new emerging generation of high-power laser facilities, including the pillars of ELI and new HED end stations at European XFEL and SACLA. In this talk, I will present an overview of the facility conceptual design and place it in the context of the growing field of high-power laser science.