25. April 2013

Beginning of construction in the Würenlingen forest

SwissFEL Large Research Facilities

Construction work for SwissFEL has now started in the Würenlingen forest, and the building for this new Large Research Facility for the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI will be erected during the next year and a half.

Since the beginning of April, the building site and installation infrastructure have been prepared for the construction of the SwissFEL free-electron X-ray laser, the new Large Researach Facility of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI. Following the excavation work now taking place, the pouring of concrete will begin in May, marking the start of real construction of the almost 740-metres-long and up to 50-metres-wide SwissFEL building.

The SwissFEL building should be completed by the end of 2014 and subsequently equipped with the necessary technical infrastructure for running the facility. The construction zone in the Würenlingen forest covers an area of around 5 hectares, and about 25,000 cubic metres of concrete will be needed for the building. The volume of the building itself will be approximately 77,000 cubic metres, which is about the same as that of 100 small detached houses.

Ready for action by the end of 2016

Installation of the technical components will begin after the building has been completed. It is planned that SwissFEL will be ready to begin operation by the end of 2016, when it will produce very short pulses of X-ray light with laser-like characteristics. Using these pulses, researchers will be able to follow extremely rapid processes, such as the creation of new molecules during chemical reactions, to determine the detailed structure of vital proteins, and to resolve the precise behaviour of materials.