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SwissFEL
The New Highlight in Switzerland's Research Infrastructures

Welcome to the Website of the SwissFEL, Switzerland's X-ray free-electron laser currently being built at the Paul Scherrer Institute.

The SwissFEL is based on a novel technology holding exceptional promises for diverse areas of scientific research. Serving our society's modern trends "smaller, faster, more complex", SwissFEL will provide unprecedented insights into structures as small as an atom and into phenomena as fast as the vibrations of molecular bonds. It will also reveal the secrets behind the inner complexity of technologically relevant materials

Current News


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RF-Gun

The workshop of the PSI engineering department (AMI) recently completed the manufacturing of the high brightness electron source that will drive SwissFEL. The first characterization of the 2.5 cells RF photo cathode is in excellent agreement with the design values without applying a post-manufacturing tuning. Read more


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First lasing at the SwissFEL Injector Testfacility

On the 15th of January 2014, first lasing was achieved in the SwissFEL injector test facility. This is a great success on the way towards SwissFEL, the future hard x-ray free-electron laser that is currently under construction at PSI. It proves the successful functioning of many key components together in a larger system as required for SwissFEL. Furthermore, this is the very first operation of a free-electron laser in Switzerland. Read more


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Installation of SwissFEL Undulator Prototype in the Injector Test facility

On December 5th, the 17 tons SwissFEL undulator prototype (In-vacuum Undulator U15) has been successfully moved from the Undulator lab (SLS) to the SwissFEL Injector Test Facility (SITF). The commissioning of the U15 prototype with electron beam is an important step to validate the U15 design and also to detect possible improvements before full series production. Read more


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Photon Arrival and Length Monitor (PALM).

The accurate measurement of the time between a pump laser pulse and a FEL probe pulse is vital to the success of the future SwissFEL facility, which plans to use pump-probe science as a cornerstone of its activities. This measurement, along with the measurement of the time-profile of the FEL pulse, is the goal of the new device designed and tested by the Photonics group at SwissFEL called the Photon Arrival and Length Monitor (PALM). Using a technique called THz-streaking, the device looks at electrons photoionized by FEL radiation and accelerated by an oscillating THz field generated by a laser to determine when during the field’s oscillation the electron was generated from a gas. Read more


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52 MV/m in C-band structure

This summer, the first 2 m long C-band accelerating structure for SwissFEL was installed in the high power test stand at PSI. The goal was to verify that the accelerating structure can handle the high accelerating fields of around 28 MV/m that are needed for SwissFEL. At such high accelerating fields, sporadic break-downs are unavoidable, and a second goal was to confirm that the number of break downs is at a level that is acceptable for SwissFEL. Read more


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First beam: XUV laser meets Terahertz laser

Two new coherent photon sources, combined on a single laser table, have been built by the SwissFEL laser group and are operated successfully since several weeks by now. While the first type of laser delivers intense radiation in the Terahertz region at around 0.3 THz (i.e. 1 mm wavelength), the second laser source is a table-top, laser-driven XUV source based on high-order harmonic generation. It delivers photon energies up to 120 eV (i.e. 10 nm wavelength) in fully coherent XUV bursts of a few tens of femtosecond or even attosecond duration. Read more


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First measurement campaign of the U15

The first measurement campaign of the U15 (the undulator prototype for the SwissFEL project) shows that electron trajectory straightness (measured with a dedicated Hall Probe bench) can be optimized beyond the micrometer level over the full operational range. Read more


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Magnetisation controlled at picosecond intervals

A terahertz laser developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute makes it possible to control a material’s magnetisation at a timescale of picoseconds (0.000 000 000 001 seconds). In their experiment, the researchers shone extremely short light pulses from the laser onto a magnetic material, where the magnetic moments – “elementary magnets” – were all aligned in parallel. The light pulse’s magnetic field was able to deflect the magnetic moments from their idle state in such a way that they exactly followed the change of the laser’s magnetic field with only a minor delay. The researchers report on their results in the journal Nature Photonics. Read more


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SwissFEL Milestone Party 3rd of July 2013

On the 3rd of July the SwissFEL Milestone Party took place, after the official foundation stone ceremony of PSIs new large scale facility. Around 250 guests defied the rain to see the revelation of the milestones at the SwissFEL construction site. Afterwards a nice dinner was offered in the OASE. The event was accompanied by a jazz quartet.


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X-ray Laser: A novel tool for structural studies of nano-particles

Development of analysis method for X-ray laser scattering data.

Prominent among the planned applications of X-ray free electron laser facilities, such as the future SwissFEL at the Paul Scherrer Institute, PSI, are structural studies of complex nano-particles, down to the scale of individual bio-molecules. A major challenge for such investigations is the mathematical reconstruction of the particle form from the measured scattering data. Read more


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Federated Identity Management for Research Infrastructures FIM4R at PSI

On the 20th to the 21st of March 2013 the Federated Identity for Research Infrastructures FIM4R took place. This workshop in the fifth in a series, that started in summer 2011, to investigate Federated Identity Management for Research collaborations. For more information read here…


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CRISP 2nd annual Meeting at PSI

On the 18th to the 20th of March 2013 the CRISP annual meeting was held at PSI. The meeting was a great success. The talks given by experts from different facilities gave an inspiring view of progress made within the different collaboration topics of the CRISP project read more... More than 100 participants from the different CRISP partner facilities participated at the meeting. We are grateful for the excellent contributions which were made.


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SwissFEL project approved by Swiss Parliament.

An important political milestone for the realization of the new SwissFEL facility was reached in December 2012, the Swiss Parliament approved the SwissFEL project. The legally valid building permit for SwissFEL arrived at the end of January 2013. Which means that the project can start! First works on the building site already initiated.


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Establishment of European Free-Electron Laser Collaboration.

On the 31.05.2012 ten European research centres, including PSI agreed on a long-term close collaboration in the field of free-electron lasers and accelerator-based short-pulse sources. With combined efforts, the technologies and methods will be further developed and implemented for operation and use of these novel research facilities, thus creating a unique top level research infrastructure for science in Europe, offering optimal experimental conditions for a wide range of applications. Today, in the margins of the ERF workshop “Socio-economic Relevance of Research Infrastructures”, this collaboration agreement was signed at DESY by representatives of all institutes. Read more


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Swiss-Swedish Partnership in Accelerator, Photon and Neutron Science.

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have signed an agreement with three leading Swedish research institutions covering technology development for the next generation of free-electron lasers and collaboration in photon and neutron science. The agreement promises a world of new research opportunities in materials, energy, environmental and life sciences. Read more


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PSI-SwissFEL signs MoU with STFC on the 29th of November 2011.

With their signature, representatives of the PSI and the STFC, today, formalized the cooperation between the SwissFEL and STFC. The main focus will be on the establishment of a collaborative research effort to enable the exploitation and expansion of the scientific capabilities of the future SwissFEL project at PSI. Read more


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PSI-SwissFEL cooperates within the EU research network CRISP of eleven new European research infrastructures.

CRISP is a partnership which builds collaborations and creates long-term synergies between research infrastructures on the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure) Roadmap in the field of physics, astronomy and analytical facilities to facilitate their implementation and enhance their efficiency and attractiveness. Read more


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The PaNdata Open Data Infrastructure project (PaNdataODI) started in October 2011.

PSI-SwissFEL is part of PANdata ODI. PaNdata-ODI will develop, deploy and operate an Open Data Infrastructure across the participating facilities with user and data services which support the tracing of provenance of data, preservation, and scalability through parallel access. It will be instantiated through three virtual laboratories supporting powder diffraction, small angle scattering and tomography


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Workshops on hard X-Ray Instrumentation with the SwissFEL

CALL FOR POSTERS WORKSHOP 2
The SwissFEL team of the Paul Scherrer Institute invites you to attend two workshops on hard X-ray instrumentation at the SwissFEL X-ray Free Electron Laser facility 12.9.11 and 21.11.11, at the University of Bern. more information here


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Nicolas Kurti European Science Prize for a SwissFEL Scientist

The Nicholas Kurti European Science Prize, sponsored by Oxford Instruments, is intended to recognise and promote outstanding achievements of young scientists in the field of physical sciences research and to support their career development. In 2011 this prestigious price was awarded to Prof. Dr. Mathias Kläui, head of the SwissFEL Nanoscale Spindynamics Group more information here


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A prestigious FEL award for an outstanding scientist at the Paul Scherrer Institute

At the 32nd International Free Electron Laser Conference in Malmö, Sweden, the Prize Committee decided to award the prestigious 2010 FEL prize to Dr. Sven Reiche for “his outstanding contributions to the advancement of the field of Free-Electron Laser science and technology”. more information here


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Lights on…. Inauguration of the SwissFEL Injector Test Facility

An important milestone for the realization of the new SwissFEL facility was reached on the 24th of August 2010, when the core of the new SwissFEL facility was set into operation at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Guest of Honour, Bundesrat Didier Burkhalter pressed the red button, and the SwissFEL Injector Test Facility produced its first electron beam. For more information see current news from PSI.


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SwissFEL Injector Conceptual Design Report

The SwissFEL Injector Conceptual Design Report is completed and published in August 2010.
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SwissFEL Conceptual Design Report

The SwissFEL Conceptual Design Report is completed and published at the end of July 2010.
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First Beam at SwissFEL Injector Test Facility

The technical development of the project has reached another milestone: In the SwissFEL injector test facility the first electron beam from the gun has been extracted and accelerated to 5 MeV on the 12th of March 2010.
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SwissFEL Included in Strategic Planning ETH Board

An important decision has been taken towards the realization of SwissFEL at PSI. The ETH Board has discussed PSI's proposal at its board meeting, beginning of March 2010, and has given unanimously its support by including the project in the strategic planning of the ETH Domain.

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SwissFEL Science Case

Based on the SwissFEL science workshop series and with input from the PSI departments and international review committees, the science case has now been completed and published. The document is available as a PDF file.

Further information

SwissFEL construction site

Information and webcams

PSI Technology Transfer

Research and development support to industry

Upcoming Events

Get a list of upcoming scientific conferences and seminars