On December 5th, in the presence of the President of Switzerland Johann Schneider-Ammann, PSI inaugurated the X-ray Free Electron Laser facility, SwissFEL, after 4 years of construction. The facility consists of a low emittance injector, a 6 GeV linear electron accelerator, a string of 12 undulator magnets designed for FEL lasing at photon energies of up to 12.8 keV and photon beamlines and end-stations. The SwissFEL building is located in a forest site near the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Its total building length is 740m. In its initial configuration, SwissFEL is equipped with two end stations for user experiments dedicated to studies in photochemistry/photobiology, structural biology and condensed matter physics.
First electrons were transported to the main electron beam dump on November 11th and the very first lasing at a moderate wavelength of 24 nm was achieved on December 2nd.
During 2017, the facility will be commissioned to its nominal performance with the first pilot experiments scheduled for autumn 2017. Regular user operation will commence in 2018.
In parallel, the construction of a second FEL line, dedicated for soft X-rays, has been launched, and will be completed in 2020.
PSI is an Associate Member of the EPS.