Methods at the PSI User Facilities

The table below summarizes the various methods offered at the PSI user facilities. Please make use of the filter options to find the appropriate beamline and contact address for your scientific problem.

PSI Beamlines and Instruments

Short Full name Absteigend sortieren Facility
Advanced Resonant Spectroscopies

The beamline is constructed to deliver soft-X-ray radiation and has a Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS) endstation and an Angle-Resolved Photoelectron Emission (ARPES) endstation. The scientific activity at the beamline is focussed on correlated systems (transition metals and rare earths) and nanostructures.

Soft-X-ray Angle-Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy

The SX-ARPES facility is installed at the high-resolution undulator beamline ADRESS. The large probing depth and resonant photoexcitation achieved with soft X-rays allow investigations of k-resolved electronic structure of quantum materials including topological materials, buried interfaces, heterostructures and diluted impurity systems. The facility conducts extensive industrial research on materials for quantum computing.


Alvra specializes in measuring the ultrafast dynamics of photochemical and photobiological systems using a variety of X-ray scattering and spectroscopic techniques. Alvra consists of two instruments: Alvra Prime and Alvra Flex.

Cold Neutron Reflectometer
AMOR is designed as a multi purpose reflectometer adaptable to the experimental demands of surface and interface studies in different fields of research.

The Bernina instrument is specialized for studying ultrafast phenomena in condensed matter systems. A flexible diffractometer platform allows to apply different resonant and non-resonant diffraction techniques in combination with even heavy load sample environments like low temperature cryostats or magnets.

Multiplexing Spectrometer

The Continuous Angle Multiple Energy Analysis (CAMEA) spectrometer is optimised for an efficient and detailed mapping of excitations under extreme conditions.

Coherent Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering

The beamline is optimized to perform small-angle X-ray scattering and high-resolution X-ray microscopy in the energy range between 4.4 and 17.9 keV. Typical techniques include 2D and 3D ptychography, a microscopy technique with spatial resolution in the tens of nanometers, 2D and 3D scanning SAXS, with spatial resolution down to 5 micron, and time-resolved SAXS. Ptychography can be additionally used to characterize X-ray optics.

X-ray absorption and X-ray diffraction (XAS and XRD)

The Debye beamline is currently under construction and anticipated to go into commissioning mid-2023. The beamline offers a highly automatized platform for high-throughput operando experiments tailored to the physical chemistry community. Techniques that will be available at the beamline include quick XAS, XRD and total scattering (PDF). The beamline will offer a fully tunable energy range from 4.5 to 60 keV with variable beam size from 100 um to 30 mm horizontal. The beamline is equipped with fast response ion chambers, PIPS and SDD detectors for XAS and a Pilatus 6M for XRD. The beamline offers a range of versatile sample environments and devices (capillary heating setup, gas delivery systems, potentiostat, mass spectrometer, etc), and allows users to easily adapt their operando experiments to the beamline.

Cold Neutron Powder Diffractometer
The cold neutron powder diffractometer DMC is a flexible instrument for efficient neutron powder diffraction studies in the fields of crystallography, solid state physics, chemistry and material science, in particular for the determination of weak magnetic intensities.
Relocatable Surface-Muon Instrument
DOLLY is a instrument using positive surface muons with a momentum of typically 28 MeV/c and a degree of polarization of >95%.
Thermal Neutron Triple-Axis Spectrometer
EIGER is a triple axis spectrometer for thermal neutrons at SINQ. It is optimized for high flux, low background and flexibility in beam-optics.
Cold Neutron Time-of-Flight Spectrometer
FOCUS is a direct geometry time-of-flight spectrometer for cold neutrons at SINQ. It is highly flexible and can be optimised widely according to the users' demands.
General Purpose Decay-Channel Spectrometer
GPD is a general purpose spectrometer making use of positive or negative muons in the momentum ranges between 60 - 125 MeV/c
General Purpose Surface-Muon Instrument
The GPS Instrument is permanently installed in area πM3.2, using a so-called surface- muon beam (i.e., positive muons originating from the decay of positive pions stopped near the surface of the production target).
High Field muSR Instrument
The HAL-9500 Instrument is permanently installed in area πE3, using a so-called surface- muon beam (i.e with a momentum of 28 MeV/c). It is equipped with a 90 degrees spin-rotation system allowing transverse-field measurements up to 9.5 Tesla
Thermal Neutron Powder Diffractometer
Complementary to DMC, the multidetector diffractometer HRPT is designed as flexible instrument for efficient neutron powder diffraction studies - also for small sample sizes.
Cold Neutron Radiography Station
The new neutron imaging facility at the neutron spallation source SINQ at the Paul Scherrer Institut has been fully operational since mid 2006.
In-situ spectroscopy

At the In Situ Spectroscopy beamline, ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) experiments can be performed. Two experimental chambers are available and can be connected to a shared electron analyzer, allowing the investigation of solid-gas and solid-liquid interfaces.

Low Energy Muon Spectrometer
LEM is a worldwide unique instrument for low energy surface muons.

The Maloja endstation is located at the soft X-ray branch Athos of SwissFEL and is dedicated to atomic, molecular and non-linear X-ray physics and chemical dynamics.

Micro X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

The microXAS Chemical Imaging Beamline provides unique capabilities for Imaging Chemistry in Space and Time in a wide range of reactive systems at relevant spatial and temporal length scales.
Based on the simultaneous application of spatially resolved X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (micro-XRF), X-ray Diffraction (micro-XRD), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (micro-XANES, micro-EXAFS, micro-XES) complementary chemical information can be obtained with (sub-)micro resolution.  The fast temporal resolution (us) allows to investigate the dynamics of chemical transformations under `real-world' (native reactive) conditions.
As special feature the microXAS beamline permits the investigation of radioactive samples exceeding exemption limits.
The offered in-situ chemical imaging capabilities allow diverse scientific communities to gain unrivaled insights into the chemical complexity of hierarchical, heterogeneous materials, including corresponding chemical reaction pathways and kinetics (`reactivity').

Two-axes neutron diffractometer & reflectometer
Reflectometric measurements and simple crystallographic tasks are the domain of Morpheus as well as it is a basis for tests and preliminary measurements in the development of new instrumentation concepts.
Materials Science Beamline - Powder Diffraction

The PD station operates a high-resolution powder diffractometer equipped with the novel Mythen III detector and a versatile table, using a frontal Pilatus 6M area detector. With its various attachments and in situ devices it allows investigations of samples in capillaries or bulk under a variety of conditions, including high throughput setups, ball-milling, gas pressure etc.. Time dependent phenomena can also be probed with powder diffraction using a local 22 kHz Eiger 1M.

Materials Science Beamline - Surface Diffraction

Surface diffraction is a unique tool for determining the detailed atomic structure of crystalline surfaces. Please find a selection of research highlights performed at this endstation.

Thermal Neutron Radiography Station
The aim of NEUTRA - located at a thermal beam port - is to provide a state-of-the-art tool for scientific and industrial NR-applications.
PhotoEmission and Atomic Resolution Laboratory

The PEARL (PhotoEmission and Atomic Resolution Laboratory) beamline is dedicated to the structural, chemical and electronic characterisation of surfaces and adsorbates with atomic resolution. The beamline supports angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES, XPS) and diffraction (XPD) and provides in-situ surface preparation and scanning tunnelling microscopy.

Tender X-Ray microspectroscopy

PHOENIX (PHotons for the Exploration of Nature by Imaging and XAFS) is a beamline dedicated to X-ray Absorption (micro-) Spectroscopy (XAS) and imaging in the soft and tender energy range of 0.3 to 8 keV. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) can be performed in fluorescence, transmission and total electron yield mode. A von Hamos spectrometer for tender x-rays is available for emission spectroscopy with an energy resolution of 0.5 eV or better. The beamline offers a versatile sample environment (cells for liquids, liquid micro-jet system), which allows users to adapt their own in situ experiments to the beamline. This special energy range provides research opportunities in many fields, including material science, biology, energy research, environmental science, chemistry, catalysis or cultural heritage.

Pulse Overlap Time-of-Flight Diffractometer
POLDI is a time-of-flight neutron diffractometer. The main applications of POLDI are spatially resolved measurements of residual stresses (strain mapping) and studies of deformation mechanisms in engineering materials.
Highly Versatile Scanning Transmission X-Ray Microspectroscope

PolLux allows measuring nanoscale images with contrast based on spectroscopic effects that include material parameters like elemental composition, oxidation state, magnetisation, molecular structure and molecular orientation. Special sample environments allow in situ measurements with exposure to liquids and gasses, high and low temperatures, electric and magnetic fields, and different kinds of light. Stroboscopic time-resolved imaging and 3D imaging modes are also available. Such analyses serve a wide variety of research communities.

Macromolecular Crystallography

X06SA (PXI) is the first macromolecular crystallography beamline at the Swiss Light Source. It is fully tunable from 5.7 to 17.5 keV with variable beam size from 5 um to 100 um, and is equipped with a flexible two-stage focusing X-ray optics system and a single–photon counting hybrid pixel area EIGER 16M (Dectris) detector. The PXI covers a wide range of MX applications from high-throughput crystallography to micro-crystallography and serial synchrotron crystallography. Room-temperaure and time-resolved MX are the latest features. The beamline team support both academic and proprietary users in on-site, remote, and fully-automated modes.

Macromolecular Crystallography

The second beamline for protein crystallography is mainly used by beamline partners with long-term contracts. The design and construction of beam line X10SA (PXII) is based on the highly successful first beam line X06SA (PXI). The beamline throughput and performance have been further enhanced with a TELL sample changer and a EIGER2 16M detector recently. As an option that can be applied for by all users, crystallographic data collection can be complemented by optical spectroscopy with an on-axis microspectrophotometer.

Macromolecular Crystallography

X06DA (PXIII) is the third protein crystallography beamline at the Swiss Light Source. It is available both to academic and proprietary users. Complementing the existing high performance undulator beamlines X06SA and X10SA, the optical concept and the experimental environment for PXIII have been optimized for simplicity. The beamline receives light from a 2.9T superbend magnet. The optical design results in a sub 100 micron x 100 micron focused beam at the sample position with a total photon flux comparable to an undulator beamline. A crystallization facility is located in the beamline with the state-of-the-art instruments for soluble and membrane protein crystallization and semi-automated fragment-based screening.

Small Angle Neutron Scattering Facility
SANS-I is a 2x20m small angle scattering facility that enables the use of polarized neutrons and high magnetic fields at the sample position.
Surfaces / Interfaces Microscopy
The permanent endstation of the SIM beamline is a Photoemission Electron microscope (PEEM) (Model: LEEM III, Elmitec GmbH). It allows to image samples using the photoelectric effect with very high spatial resolution.
Surface and Interface Spectroscopy - Complete Photoemission Experiment (COPHEE)

The Surface and Interface Spectroscopy beamline (SIS) provides a state-of-the-art experimental setup to study the electronic and atomic structure of surfaces. The beamline has been designed for high photon energy resolution with low harmonic contamination and flexible light polarization. The COPHEE endstation is dedicated to spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (SARPES), which can measure all properties of photoelectrons excited from a sample surface, namely energy, momentum and spin-polarization. The station reaches temperatures down to 17 K and offers an additional free contact for biasing or gating the sample.

Surface and Interface Spectroscopy - Low-Temperature High-Resolution Angle-Resolved Photoemission (ULTRA)

The Surface and Interface Spectroscopy beamline (SIS) provides a state-of-the-art experimental setup to study the electronic and atomic structure of surfaces. The beamline has been designed for high photon energy resolution with low harmonic contamination and flexible light polarization. ULTRA endstation is utilized for high-resolution angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) at temperatures down to 4 K.

X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy (XAS and XES)
The SuperXAS beamline includes a large variety of detection systems and sample environments and is thus attractive for researchers from a variety of fields: e.g. material science, catalysis, environmental science, biology, geology and archeology. Techniques that are available at the beamline include time resolved X- ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy (minute to the milli second range), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES).
Cold Neutron Triple-Axis Spectrometer
TASP is a cold neutron triple-axis spectrometer that enables the use of polarized neutron experiments with either longitudinal or XYZ polarization analysis and neutron spherical polarimetry.
Tomographic Microscopy and Coherent Radiology Experiments

The beamline provides X-ray tomographic microscopy endstations for the non-destructive, high-resolution, quantitative volumetric investigations of a large variety of samples. Absorption-based and phase contrast imaging are routinely performed with isotropic voxel sizes ranging from 0.16 to 11 μm. In addition, the hard X-ray full-field microscope setup delivers a pixel size of 65 nm for microscopic samples (~75x75 μm2 field-of-view). Typical acquisition times are on the order of seconds to a few minutes and dynamic processes can be followed in 4D (3D space + time) for extended time periods with sub-second temporal resolution using the ultra-fast endstation.
The scientific activity at the beamline focuses on the development of tools, both instrumentation and algorithms, for tomographic X-ray imaging exploiting synchrotron light. This includes the design and construction of ultra-fast data acquisition systems to provide dynamic investigation of rapidly evolving (in-situ, operando or in-vivo) processes, the development of imaging techniques exploiting complementary contrasts (absorption, phase and dark field) as well as the visualization and quantification of complex 3D-microstructures in biological and innovative materials.

Vacuum Ultraviolet Radiation

Research at the VUV beamline is focused on probing catalysis, combustion, clusters, and atmospheric chemistry by valence shell photoionization using vacuum ultraviolet light. We develop and apply double imaging photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy (i2PEPICO) as a mass spectrometric and photoelectron spectroscopic tool to study reactive environments and reveal their dynamics. Key competences of the Reaction Dynamics Group include the isomer-specific detection of elusive and reactive species, such as radicals and carbenes, to determine reaction mechanisms and aid the development of predictive models in catalysis and combustion.

X-Ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism under extreme Conditions

The X-Treme beamline is dedicated to x-ray magnetic (circular or linear) dichroism technique in the soft x-ray range. The technique is element selective and is used for example for the study of magnetic anisotropy and exchange coupling. The energy range covers the L2,3-edges (2p to 3d transition) of 3d transition metals and M4,5-edges of lanthanides (3d to 4f transition), in addition to the K-edges of light elements like O, N, F. Scientific areas of interest are: single molecule magnets, magnetic nanocrystals, self-assembly of nanomagnets on surfaces and strongly correlated electron systems.

X-ray Interference Lithography (XIL)

The XIL beamline has two branches. The lithography branch provides a spatially coherent beam in the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) energy range (typically around 92eV) and is equipped with an interference lithography end station (EUV-IL) used for photoresist characterization and  for the manufacturing of periodic nanostructures with half pitch as small as 10 nm. The metrology branch is equipped with an SG monochromator providing a coherent beam with tunable wavelength and a λ/dλ ratio of 1500 at 13.5 nm. Its end station is RESCAN, an actinic lensless microscope dedicated to EUV mask and pellicle metrology with a maximum resolution of 34 nm.

ZEBRA: Thermal Single Crystal Diffractometer
The thermal neutron single crystal instrument ZEBRA is a flexible monochromatic diffraction instrument for applications in magnetism and classical crystallography, covering fields such as materials science, multiferroics, highly correlated electron systems.