Future programme for the free-electron laser FLASH

The free-electron laser FLASH provides scientists from all over the world with ultrashort pulses of high-intensity radiation in the extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray range. FLASH was the first free-electron laser (FEL) in the world to achieve such short wavelengths.

FLASH is both the pioneering facility for the superconducting TESLA accelerator technology and for experimental techniques at X-ray lasers, the latest generation of X-ray light sources worldwide: At FLASH, important and fundamental experiments have been carried out that make it possible to follow the "molecular movie" in the nanocosmos. Beam time at FLASH is highly sought after.

FLASH will continue to be an X-ray laser pioneer and a pioneer for innovative technologies in the future. The name FLASH2020+ describes the long-term perspective of the 300-meter-long free-electron laser. One goal is to enable completely parallel and independent operation of the two undulator sections for light generation, thus making the coveted X-ray laser light available to as many users as possible for their research. To this end, all undulators will be equipped with variable gaps and will then be able to deliver X-ray light pulses with variable polarization. The possibility of adjusting the wavelength of the X-ray light at both beamlines through the undulator gap will increase the time available for user experiments by almost half.

In addition, two of the superconducting accelerator modules will be exchanged, thus increasing the electron beam energy from 1.25 to 1.35 giga electronvolts (GeV). This increase in energy will enable even shorter wavelengths, which in turn will enable new research, especially on biological issues, and will bring them even closer to the wavelengths of the European XFEL. The gradual expansion of FLASH began in 2020. The new FLASH2020+ facility will then offer scientists outstanding experimental conditions for more than 15 years.