Establishment of European free-electron laser collaboration

Today, ten European research centres, including DESY and the European XFEL, agreed on a long-term close collaboration in the field of free-electron lasers and accelerator-based short-pulse sources. With combined efforts, the technologies and methods will be further developed and implemented for operation and use of these novel research facilities, thus creating a unique top level research infrastructure for science in Europe, offering optimal experimental conditions for a wide range of applications. Today, in the margins of the ERF workshop “Socio-economic Relevance of Research Infrastructures”, this collaboration agreement was signed at DESY by representatives of all institutes.

Representatives of the ten research organisations sign the MoU.

“The fantastic experiments at the first free-electron lasers FLASH and LCLS, with more than 200 scientific publications, demonstrate the enormous potential of these new facilities in an impressive way,” said Prof. Helmut Dosch, Chair of the DESY Board of Directors, who signed the collaboration agreement for DESY together with Research Director Prof. Edgar Weckert. “Indeed, this is only the beginning. In the near future, we will be able to considerably increase the performance of these facilities. To exploit the scientific potential to full extent and to continue playing a leading role in Europe, we agreed to cooperate more closely.”

Free-electron lasers (FELs) are unique new light sources which combine the properties of synchrotrons and optical short-pulse lasers. Special magnet structures stimulate high energetic electrons emit ultra-short intensive X-ray laser flashes. With these, it will be possible in the future to shoot films of fast natural processes at atomic resolution. A great deal of progress was already made in the past years at FLASH and LCLS, as numerous publications demonstrate; however, many technical and methodical developments are still necessary in order to exploit the full research potential of these new light sources.

With today’s signing of the agreement, a total of ten research institutions from Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland express their interest to promote research with free-electron lasers. After the joint signature, the representatives of the ten institutions nominated Dr. Josef Feldhaus (DESY) as first chairman of the collaboration’s steering committee and discussed the first action items of the new collaboration.

The partners of the new collaboration are:

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Germany
European XFEL GmbH, Germany
Institutio Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Italy
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB), Germany
MAX IV Laboratory, Sweden
National Centre for Nuclear Research, Poland
Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), Swizerland
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Great Britain
Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A. (Elettra), Italy
SOLEIL, France