The PSI research facilities and their applications
PSI has several large research facilities where experiments are conducted which would not be possible in smaller laboratories. In Switzerland, all of these large research facilities are unique. Some of them are even the only ones of their kind in the world. PSI furthermore operates the ESI platform (ESI stands for Energy System Integration), an experimental platform on which promising concepts for the energy system of the future are tested.
During a tour through a unique environment, you will experience how these complex systems are operated and what applications are being explored. Different tours are available. You will find the different combinations possible in the registration form for groups or school classes. We would be pleased to advise you personally: Please call us +41 56 310 21 00 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to know PSI
On this tour you will visit selected PSI research facilities and gain a first insight into the fascinating world of research.
This tour is the ideal introduction to PSI.
The new large research facility SwissFEL
The latest large research facility at PSI generates very short pulses of X-ray light with laser-like properties. This enables researchers to observe extremely fast processes, such as how new molecules are created in a chemical reaction; to determine the detailed structure of vital proteins; or to determine the relationship between electronic and atomic structure in materials. This new knowledge expands our understanding of nature and leads to many practical applications, for instance new pharmaceuticals, more efficient processes in the chemical industry, or new materials for electronics.
The SwissFEL tour is open to visitors aged 16 and over.
The Energy System Integration (ESI) Platform
With the increasing expansion of photovoltaic and wind plants, integrating the thereby irregularly generated power into the existing energy system is becoming a challenge. With the Energy System Integration or ESI Platform, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI offers research and industry a experimental platform where promising approaches can be tested in all their complex connections and interrelations.
Welcome to Esiville
A new visitor’s station offers a playful approach to making this complex subject matter easy to understand. It tells the story of a Swiss town that makes the change from a conventional energy supply to one with new renewable energy sources.
The Swiss Light Source SLS
With synchrotron light researchers illuminate different materials in order to determine their detailed structure or magnetic properties. They examine, for instance, magnetic materials like the ones used in modern storage media and protein molecules which play a major role in processes in living organisms.
The Swiss Spallation Neutron Source SINQ
Since neutrons in nature only occur bound in atomic nuclei, they have to be knocked out of the nuclei as probes for the experiments. This is done at PSI’s Swiss Spallation Neutron Source SINQ. The neutrons needed for experiments at PSI are generated by collision of a beam of very fast protons with a so-called target made of lead. With these neutrons new materials, for example superconductors or computer memories, are examined or metals are also illuminated to enable researchers to take a look inside an engine or a bronze bust.
The SINQ tour is open to visitors aged 16 and over.
The large experimental hall
The proton accelerator is the heart of the big experimental hall. It accelerates protons up to 80 percent of the speed of light. These protons are then used to generate the neutrons for the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source SINQ and the muons for the Muon Source SμS. Experiments with muons help to clarify magnetic processes in solids or to test the predictions of the standard model of elementary particle physics. Since muons decay into other particles in a few millionths of a second, they have to be continuously produced for the experiments.
The tour through the large experimental hall is open to visitors aged 16 and over.
The Center for Proton Therapy
The facilities developed by PSI experts for the treatment of specific types of cancer are unique in the world. Their irradiation technology draws on the advantages of protons and affords optimum protection to the healthy area around the tumour. After consulting the PSI medical department, doctors can transfer their patients for treatment at PSI.
The tour to the proton therapy is open to visitors aged 16 and over.
Due to clinical patient treatment, changes might occur at short notice.