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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. Three of these accelerators are dedicated user facilities. 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 (SYN). A hard X-Ray Free Electron Laser SwissFEL, based on a 5.8 GeV linear electron accelerator was inaugurated at the end of 2016. First experiments utilising this source of extremely short, very bright pulses of X-rays are expected in the fall of 2017. 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 the COMET proton cyclotron and for the development of its beam lines. This superconducting cyclotron is 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 and first patients will be treated this year.

A major up-grade of the SLS is currently under design. This upgrade will result in an increase of the brightness of the source by approximately two orders of magnitude. The Division is also strongly involved in the design of a compact EUV source that could find important applications in the electronics industry. This project receives strong support through collaboration with an industrial partner.

Current Highlights

X-band prototype structure

08.11.2016 Radio-frequency structures at X-band frequencies (~ 12 GHZ) are being considered for applications in compact Free Electron Lasers, medical linacs, a future linear collider (CLIC project) and as a diagnostic for measuring ultra-short (femtosecond) electron pulses in FELs. A first prototype of such a structure has been built at PSI employing the realization procedures that have been developed for the C-Band (6 GHz) structures of the SwissFEL linac. The structure was designed in the framework of a collaboration between CERN and the Large Research Facilities Division (GFA) of PSI with the financial support of the SNF (grant 20FL20_147463). The individual cells were precision machined by the company “VDL Enabling Technologies Group Switzerland AG” and the structure brazed by the mechanical engineering department (AMI) at PSI. In the near future, it will be tested at high power on a test bench at CERN.