22. February 2013

Building rights agreement signed

Media Releases SwissFEL Large Research Facilities

A new Large Research Facility, SwissFEL, is to be built in the Würenlingen forest, very close to the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). On Friday, February 22, 2013, the building permit was signed with the Citizens’ Commune of Würenlingen.

Beginning in 2016, the Free-Electron Laser SwissFEL will produce very short pulses of X-ray light with laser-like properties, thereby enabling insights to be gained into hitherto inaccessible processes and structures. The SwissFEL site in the Würenlingen forest will cover an area of approximately 5 hectares, in the form of a long, thin strip. The facility itself will be almost 740m in length and will be primarily underground.

The building rights agreement was signed on Friday, February 22, 2013 by Simon Stemmer, Head of Building Works, ETH Board, together with André Zoppi, Mayor, and Andreas Senn, Communal Chancellor, both representing the Citizens’ Commune of Würenlingen. With the building rights agreement signed, work can now begin on the construction of SwissFEL. Preparation of the building site will start in the middle of March, and construction work is planned to commence in April.

Optimal location

The location in the Würenlingen forest fulfils all of the necessary prerequisites for the successful operation of the facility. Because of its closeness to the Paul Scherrer Institute, SwissFEL can be readily connected to the scientific and technical infrastructure of the Institute. Also, the chosen location in the forest will protect the sensitive facility from excessive vibrations and temperature variations.

Creation of ecological added value

The Würenlingen forest is a habitat for numerous species of animals and plants and provides as well valuable recreational space for people who live or work in the vicinity. Thus, much care has been taken to achieve the best-possible integration of SwissFEL within the natural environment. The completed facility will be barely visible from nearby forest paths and will be imbedded within an ecologically enhanced landscape that will provide new habitats for both animals and plants. Wild animals will be able to circulate without impediment, and vehicular transport to and from the facility will be kept to an absolute minimum.
About PSI
The Paul Scherrer Institute develops, builds and operates large, complex research facilities, and makes them available to the national and international research community. The Institute's own key research priorities are in the investigation of matter and material, energy and the environment; and human health. PSI is Switzerland's largest research institution, with 1500 members of staff and an annual budget of approximately 300 million CHF.
Dr. Rafael Abela
SwissFEL Project, Project Leader for Photonics and Research
Paul Scherrer Institute, CH-5232 Villigen PSI
Telephone: +41 56 310 3271, E-mail: rafael.abela@psi.ch [English, German]