Division Large Research FacilitiesGFA
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 ).
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.
First Demonstration of Sub-femtosecond X-ray Pulses at SwissFEL
We have produced ultra-short X-ray FEL pulses at SwissFEL by strongly compressing low-charge electron beams. Single-shot spectral measurements with only a single mode (see the figure below) indicate a pulse duration well below one femtosecond (detailed analysis on the exact pulse duration is ongoing).