Welcome to the SwissFEL Bernina Group

The Bernina group works on experimental studies of beyond-equilirium ultrafast phenomena in condensed matter. It develops and operates the Bernina Instrument of SwissFEL, which is presently under commissioning and performing first experiments. The group arises from the FEMTO group at the Swiss Light Source.

Scientific Highlights 2018

18 September 2018


Bernina status first summer shutdown

The summer shutdown was used to install more missing hardware. With the new components the Bernina instrument will be already very close to the full design capabilities when the exciting time of user experiments will begin in 2019.

5 September 2018


Moving Atoms by Photodoping

Understanding how and how fast we can drive atoms to create a structural phase transition is of fundamental interest as it directly relates to many processes in nature. Here we show that a photoexcitation can drive a purely structural phase transition before the energy is relaxed in the material that corresponds to a “warmer” equilibrated state.

20 June 2018

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Movie directors with extra roles

SwissFEL Storage Large Research Facilities

Data storage devices based on novel materials are expected to make it possible to record information in a smaller space, at higher speed, and with greater energy efficiency than ever before. Movies shot with the X-ray laser show what happens inside potential new storage media, as well as how the processes by which the material switches between two states can be optimised.

6 April 2018


A first glance at the SwissFEL x-rays wave-front

X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) combine the properties of synchrotron radiation (short wavelengths) and laser radiation (high lateral coherence, ultrashort pulse durations). These outstanding machines allow to study ultra-fast phenomena at an atomic level with unprecedented temporal resolution for answering the most intriguing open questions in biology, chemistry and physics.

31 January 2018

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Photoinduced transitions in magnetoresistive manganites: A comprehensive view

Using the FEMTO slicing source at SLS, we have studied the structural response during the photoinduced transition in a charge-ordered Pr1-xCaxMnO3 thin films. By investigating the dynamics of both superlattice reflections and regular Bragg peaks, we disentangle the different structural contributions and analyze their relevant time-scales. Comparing these results with studies of the charge order and magnetic dynamics, a comprehensive picture of the phase transition linked to a single critical fluence fc is proposed.