Division Large Research Facilities
The Division of Large Research Facilities (GFA) is responsible for the construction, operation and development of the particle accelerators at PSI. Accelerator facilities form the backbone of the main research activities at PSI. The high intensity proton accelerator (HIPA) is used to generate muons for muon spin spectroscopy (LMU ), and neutrons by spallation from a target (SINQ ). The Swiss Light Source (SLS) is a state-of-the-art electron storage ring which generates high brightness photon beams for users of synchrotron radiation (PSD ).
PSI/GFA is the Host Organisation for the Swiss Accelerator Research and Technology (CHART) Collaboration that supports developments for future accelerator projects at CERN and advanced accelerator concepts beyond the existing technology.
A hard X-Ray Free Electron Laser, SwissFEL, was inaugurated at the end of 2016. It is based on a low emittance 5.8 GeV linear electron accelerator. The facility provides extremely short, very bright pulses of X-rays for time resolved experiments. Construction of a soft X-ray free electron laser (ATHOS), driven by the same electron linac, has also begun. These instruments are used by a large national and international multi-disciplinary research community.
GFA is also responsible for the operation of a compact proton cyclotron and attached beamlines (PROSCAN), dedicated to the treatment of cancer patients within the Centre for Proton Therapy (ZPT). A third rotating gantry, GANTRY 3, was recently added to this treatment facility. A major upgrade of the SLS is currently under design. This upgrade will result in an increase of the brightness of the source by two orders of magnitude.
At the forefront of research with unique accelerator facilities: We make science work!
At PSI’s Center for Proton Therapy (CPT), protons are used to treat cancerous tumours in a highly targeted way that spares healthy tissue as much as possible. This is the result of the characteristic way in which charged particles interact with matter, so that a beam of protons deposits most of its energy at a certain depth in a material depending on the energy and the composition of the material. The dedicated medical cyclotron COMET accelerates protons to an energy of 250 MeV, which then have to be "slowed down" so that the energy matches the depth of the tumour to be treated.