Distinction for Two DESY Physicists: FEL Prize 2006 goes to Jörg Rossbach and Evgueni Saldin

From left to right: Jörg Rossbach (University of Hamburg and DESY) and Evgueni Saldin (DESY) receive the FEL Prize 2006 from the Chairman of the Prize Committee Lex van der Meer (FOM Rijnhuizen, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands).
Photo: BESSY, Berlin

Jörg Rossbach (professor at the University of Hamburg) and Evgueni Saldin (physicist at DESY) have been working on the optimization of shortwave free-electron lasers at DESY for several years. Their efforts were now rewarded with the FEL Prize 2006, which is being awarded since 1988 in recognition of outstanding contributions to free-electron laser science and technology. “Even if this comes as no real surprise considering the successful work of the last years,” said Professor Albrecht Wagner, Chairman of the DESY Directorate, “the award confirms DESY’s leading role in the international field of FEL development.”

The Russian physicist Evgueni Saldin is one of the two inventors of the SASE principle, which is used to generate laserlike FEL pulses for instance at the DESY facility FLASH (Free-electron LASer in Hamburg) or at the future European X-ray laser facility XFEL. Saldin came to Hamburg to the German Electron Synchrotron DESY about ten years ago. In 2001, he joined the DESY accelerator group to which Jörg Rossbach also belonged for several years. Since 1994, Rossbach has been coordinating progress at FLASH. He became a professor at the University of Hamburg in 2003. Both Saldin and Rossbach have played a decisive role in enabling DESY to establish the world record of the FEL wavelength (100 nanometers) in February 2000 and to push back this record towards ever shorter wavelength ever since: In spring 2006, FLASH generated radiation at a wavelength of only 13.1 nanometers. Thanks to further optimizations, the properties of the radiation generated by FLASH are continuously improving. After installation of a sixth accelerator module in the second quarter of 2007, FLASH will be able to reach wavelengths down to 6 nanometers.

SASE stands for self-amplified spontaneous emission. The principle is based on the fact that laserlike radiation pulses are spontaneously generated in the FEL when accelerated electrons fly on a slalom course through special arrangements of magnets.

FLASH is the worldwide first and until 2009 the only free-electron laser at which experiments can be carried out using intense, pulsed laser radiation with wavelengths ranging from 100 to 6 nanometers.