Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of administrative work do I have to perform before the experiment?
  1. You need to open a DUO account (
  2. Your company needs to sign a contract with the SLS Techno Trans AG. Please contact our contract officer if you have not done so already. The contract is typically limited to two (calendar) years and defines a certain amount of shifts as agreed upon with the specified beamline.
  3. Once the contract is signed, the "Proprietary Research" role will be uploaded to your DUO account and the contract officer will assign the defined number of shifts to your DUO account.
  4. The user office ( will create a proprietary research proposal in the DUO and assign the appropriate number of shifts.
  5. In consultation with you, the proposal will be scheduled at the corresponding beamline.

How much technical support will I get during my experiment?

The SLS Techno Trans AG is your entry point. We will guide you to the beamline scientist who specializes in your scientific field. If you have any questions during any stage of this process, please contact us by phone (+41 56 310 54 27) or by e-mail.

When you arrive at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI West entrance), you will collect your access badge from the User Office and complete a safety test if you have not done so previously. If this is your first experiment at the SLS, you will be met by a member of the SLS Techno Trans AG or by your local contact, who will then take you to the beamline. Your local contact will set up and optimize the beamline for your experiment. The amount of time this takes will vary by technique and according to the complexity of your experiment. Your local contact will make sure you are familiar with the safety procedures specific to the beamline (and the SLS) and will train you to use the beamline. Your local contact will also stay with you until you are confident in operating the beamline by yourself. He/she can be easily contacted by phone during normal business hours to answer any questions. There is an on-call system for after-hours technical support.

We can also offer additional scientific support if/as necessary; please contact us for more information.

How can I obtain additional technical / scientific support with my project?

During an experiment, technical support is available throughout the day from your local beamline contact and via an on-call scheme outside of normal business hours. For more advanced scientific support, we can customize the degree of support necessary for your experiments. For example, it is possible that a beamline scientist could perform full data collection and initial analysis of your sample(s) such that you need not be present for the experiments. For longer term project support, it also may be possible to arrange a collaboration. If these possibilities are of interest to you, please contact us to discuss them further.

What is SLS Techno Trans AG’s policy on payment for beamtime?

For companies doing peer reviewed research (i.e., where results are open for publication) SLS is ‘free at the point of access’. In order to apply for beamtime through this route, users must submit a proposal during one of two calls per year. All proposals are assessed by a peer review panel and evaluated according to scientific merit. The User Office can advise you on the preparation of your beamtime proposal. In certain instances, e.g., where novel or complex experiments are proposed, it would be advised to contact beamline staff in advance of proposal submission to discuss feasibility. You can find information about who to contact on the individual beamline web pages.

Commercial companies wishing to undertake proprietary research (i.e., where results are confidential) need to purchase beamtime. Discussions on individual user requirements can be undertaken with the SLS Techno Trans AG and then with beamline scientist(s) directly involved in your experiments.