Department of Accelerator Operation and Development (ASA)
Together with other departments at PSI, the Accelerator Operation and Development department runs, maintains, repairs, and improves the PSI accelerator complex. It consists of four facilities: HIPA, SLS, PROSCAN, and SwissFEL. During beam operation, the control room is manned 24 hours a day in three shifts and has full control over the beams.
HIPA, the High Intensity Proton Accelerator, provides the primary beams to PSI's versatile experimental facilities which in turn provide high intensity muons, pions, and neutrons for research. The department has expertise in cyclotron technology and on the creation and transport of high intensity proton beams since 1974, and holds the world record for beam power extracted from a proton cyclotron.
The Swiss Light Source (SLS) started user operation in 2001. It is an electron storage ring that runs at a constant beam current (Top-up) and delivers synchrotron radiation (X-rays) simultaneous to 16 experiments, each highly specialized for specific applications (Tomography, protein crystallography, lithography, etc.). The unique characteristic of the SLS is its stability: the beam is stabilised to better than one micrometre to allow to focus the X-ray beam with a height of about ten micrometre on very small samples.
In the more compact super-conducting COMET accelerator, proton beams are created since 2007 especially for the treatment of cancer patients in the PROSCAN facility. In three Gantries the proton beam rotates around the patient to precisely target the tumour with excellent recovery rates. OPTIS is specialized for ocular tumours and is recognized around the world.
The newest facility is SwissFEL, a free-electron laser, which utilizes a highly efficient C-band linear accelerator and short-period in-vacuum undulator magnets to produce femtosecond light pulses of highest intensities in the hard x-ray regime. This enables researchers to study very fast processes (e.g. catalytic chemical reactions) on an atomic scale.