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

Best publication

30.09.2017 A team of GFA and CPT physicists has worked out a novel achromatic beam optics concept for a proton therapy gantry. The article on the concept in the journal Zeitschrift für Medizinische Physik has been awarded a prize for the best publication in 2016. The jury states: „The paper of Alexander Gerbershagen et al. entitled „A novel beam optics concept in a particle therapy gantry utilizing the advantages of superconducting magnets” describes a new concept of a first order design of the beam optics of a superconducting proton therapy gantry beam. The jury was impressed by the well-structured experimental work with clear improvement of large momentum acceptance in the gantry which opens the possibility of implementation new and faster dose application techniques in proton therapy.”
The announcement and a link to the paper can be found here: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/zeitschrift-fur-medizinische-physik/awards/author-award-2017-for-best-publication
The prize was awarded to Dr. Gerbershagen at the yearly assembly of the German Society for Medical Physics in Dresden, September 2017.