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Division Large Research Facilities GFA

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.

Current Highlight

1 April 2018

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Outstanding high gradient performances of two test structures produced at PSI for the CLIC project

X-band (12 GHz) radio-frequency (RF) accelerating structures are under consideration for future free electron lasers, medical linacs and linear colliders. Two such structures, built by PSI in the framework of a CERN/PSI collaboration, are currently being tested at high power at CERN. They are reported to have reached an accelerating gradient in excess of 115 MV/m (CERN Courier, April 2018, http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/71293), making them among the best X-band structures to have been tested by the CERN Linear Collider project group. The structures have benefitted from the fabrication protocols used for the SwissFEL C-band structures. The gradient continues to improve with further “conditioning” at CERN. For structure “aficionados” a recent conditioning curve (courtesy of CERN) shows structure T24PSI1 approaching 120 MV/m. The structures were financed by an SNF FLARE* grant 20FL20_147463.
* Funding for LArge international REsearch projects.