UK FEL Facility: A response to the UK Government consultation on the UK's scientific infrastructure

Please follow this link to read a letter to the UK FEL Community and other interested parties, seeking views on making a case for building a UK based X-ray Free Electron Laser facility.

Please respond by email to Prof. Jon Marangos or post a comment on the Forum page of this website:

STFC Programmatic Review warns that the UK is in danger of falling behind by not participating in an X-ray free electron laser project.

STFC have recently published its long awaited Programmatic Review 2013:

One of the Science Boards’ Recommendations as regards the Large Facilities Programme is the following (p. 13):

UK access to a Free Electron Laser (FEL) source is a high priority, but this does not displace the need for continuing access to the current generation of synchrotron sources. There is an important current opportunity for engagement with the European XFEL facility at DESY via user consortia.

R21 – We recommend that STFC pursue the objective of UK Free Electron Laser access in collaboration with the other Research Councils and the scientific community.

The Large Facilities Sub-group (LFS) also said (p. 110)

The UK is in danger of falling behind by not participating in an X-ray free electron laser (X-FEL) project.

Emerging photon technologies for chemical dynamics

July 9-11th 2014, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Deadline for abstracts for oral presentations: extended to November 4th.

A Faraday Discussion on the topic of Emerging Photon Technologies for Chemical Dynamics (FD171) will be held at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, from July 9th to 11th 2014. Faraday Discussions have a unique format in which selected speakers are invited to submit full papers describing their work prior to the meeting, and are given five minutes to present it at the meeting. Most of the meeting is therefore devoted to discussion of the papers that have been submitted. The call for abstracts to be considered for these full papers and oral presentations has now been extended to November 4th. Abstracts should be submitted at

The light from newly developing photon sources, (X-ray free electron lasers are one example), provides an exceptionally exciting tool with a range of applications. This Faraday Discussion will provide an interdisciplinary forum that will focus on applications to:

  • Chemical reaction dynamics
  • Electron dynamics in atoms, molecules and clusters
  • Correlated systems, surfaces and catalysis
  • Nanoscale and bio imaging

Oral presentation slots will not be limited to speakers who have used free electron laser sources, but will be open to anyone who feels that their work fits with the meeting title and whose abstract is accepted by the committee.

X-ray lasers in biology – techniques

16th–17th October 2013, at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire

Satellite meeting organised by Professor John Spence and Professor Henry Chapman.

This meeting brings together leaders in the development of new techniques for the study of molecular structure and interactions in biology using the recently invented hard X-ray laser. Topics will include time-resolved protein nanocrystallography, femtosecond wide-angle X-ray diffraction, sample delivery devices, data analysis and diffraction theory, and detector systems.

More information here.

X-ray lasers in biology

14th –15th October 2013, at The Royal Society, London

Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Henry Chapman and Professor John Spence.

The recent invention of the hard X-ray laser (XFEL) has opened new vistas for structural and dynamic biology. This meeting will review the latest work, outline opportunities for future research, and describe the new techniques (snapshot SAXS, serial nanocrystallography, single-particle imaging) which take advantage of the atomic spatial resolution and femtosecond time resolution of the XFEL.

More information here.

The talks from the UK FEL Forum Meeting on June 14th continued

A meeting to explore the current science and potential of X-ray FEL was held on June 14th at Imperial College in London.

Previously uploaded talks can be view at the following link.

Talk on “Protein Nanocrystallography”
A PDF of the talk is available here in six parts,
, Part2 , Part3 , Part4 , Part5 and Part6.

Closing remarks from John Womersley
The closing remarks from John Womersley, Chief Executive, Science and Technology Facilities Council can be found at the following link.

LCLS Call for Protein Crystal Screening Proposals – Closing Date: October 22, 2013

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Protein Crystal Screening (PCS) program will dedicate shifts at the CXI instrument during Run 9, April – July 2014. PCS proposals must be submitted by October 22 to be considered for beam time starting in spring of 2014.

The LCLS PCS program aims to enable new users to get their first access to LCLS beam time for biological structure determination and also to allow testing samples in preparation of a full LCLS proposal. Successful PCS proposals are expected to receive short allocations of beam time, limited to 6 hours.

To enable measurements within such a short time frame and maximize the chances of success and efficiency, these studies must be carried out with limited flexibility to minimize the time impact of setup changes. Currently, gas dynamic virtual nozzle (GDVN) experiments are possible at CXI and several possibilities for fixed targets can be explored within CXI. All PCS experiments are currently carried out inside the standard CXI vacuum setup using the 1um or 100nm focus and CSPAD detectors.
Time-resolved studies and spectroscopy are currently not within the possible scope of PCS beam time. We will carefully consider any proposed alternative setup allowing screening within the 6 hour time frame to extend the accessibility. Such alternative setups include all kinds of liquid jet modifications and sample mounting options, as long as such setups are available and have been demonstrated to work at the time of scheduling. The decision on whether a proposed alternative setup can be supported within the PCS program will be entirely at the discretion of LCLS staff scientists involved in the PCS program.

PCS proposals are submitted independently of regular LCLS proposals, and there are no restrictions with regard to the scope and/or possible overlap or redundancy with regular LCLS proposals. If the PCS proposal is related to one or more regular LCLS proposals that have been previously submitted or already received beam time, the team must state this in the proposal. PCS proposals will be reviewed by the PRP BIO panel separately from regular proposals.

PCS proposals are limited to a two-page PDF, including references and figures. PCS proposals must provide sufficient information to evaluate the impact, originality, need for LCLS, scientific risk, as well as technical feasibility. LCLS PCS proposals should be submitted through the user portal available here. PCS proposals will follow a similar format as regular proposals. The two-page PDF proposal should include a descriptive title of the proposed experiment that can be made public if beam time is awarded, and a brief abstract. All proposal team members should be identified. In the safety management portion, identify safety concerns that may arise with samples, procedures or equipment, e.g. any physical, chemical or biological hazards, and how these issues will be addressed in the experiment design.

Researchers interested in submitting PCS proposals for the CXI instrument should contact LCLS-CXI Scientist Marc Messerschmidt (mcmesser@SLAC.Stanford.EDU).

The proposal process and guidelines are described at the LCLS website.

LCLS PCS proposals must be submitted before 4 PM (Pacific) on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

DPG Physics School on Free-electron X-ray Laser Physics

DPG Physics School on Free-electron X-ray Laser Physics
supported by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus – Foundation
15 – 20 September, 2013, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany
Registration deadline 31st July 2013

More information of the conference and registration is available here

The advent of the first free-electron X-ray lasers, FLASH in 2004 and LCLS in 2009, may prove to be the most profound development since the invention of the laser and, equally, the synchrotron. Sharp improvements in a number of laser parameters, most notably intensity and pulse duration, support this expectation. This brings scientific dreams within reach, that have inspired scientists since decades: The spectrum ranges from nonlinear X-ray optics to X-ray structural analysis of individual macro molecules. Indeed, the unprecedented opportunities and expectations have triggered considerable investments and research activities worldwide. By the end of the decade, a dozen of X-ray laser facilities can be expected to be operational.

The School will bring together scientists who have played a leading role in developing and applying free-electron X-ray lasers. The primary goal is teaching the fundamentals of free-electron laser to young scientists and providing them with an overview of the present status X-ray free-electron laser science.

• Fundamentals of X-ray physics
• Fundamentals of free-electron lasers
• Status and prospects of X-ray laser physics
• Interaction with matter
• Coherent imaging

Confirmed Speakers:
• Rafael Abela (Paul Scherrer Institute)
• Louis DiMauro (The Ohio State University)
• Roger Falcone (Berkeley)
• Josef Feldhaus (DESY)
• Gianluca Geloni (European XFEL)
• Tetsuya Ishikawa (RIKEN SPring-8)
• Franz Kärtner (DESY)
• Jens Limpert (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
• Ralf Röhlsberger (DESY)
• Nina Rohringer (DESY)
• Jörg Rossbach (DESY)
• Ilme Schlichting (MPI Heidelberg)
• Klaus Sokolowski-Tinten (University of Duisburg-Essen)
• Peter Schmüser (DESY)
• Christian Schroer (TU Dresden)
• Joachim Ullrich (PTB Braunschweig)

Organized by Gerhard Paulus (University Jena), Edgar Weckert (DESY, Hamburg) and Ulf Zastrau (University Jena)

The talks from the UK FEL Forum Meeting on June 14th

A meeting to explore the current science and potential of X-ray FEL was held on June 14th at Imperial College in London.

A number of talks from the day can be viewed below. More talks to follow soon.

Talk on “UK in SFX @ the EU XFEL”
A PDF of the talk is available here in one part,

Talk on “High-intensity x-ray interactions with heavy atomic species”
A PDF of the talk is available here in two parts,
Part 1 and Part 2.

Talk on “Ultrafast Science with X-ray FELS”
A PDF of the talk is available here in two parts,
Part 1 and Part 2.

Talk on “Solid Density Plasmas Created and Diagnosed with X-ray Lasers”
A PDF of the talk is available here in four parts,
Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4

UK FEL Forum Meeting on June 14th at Imperial College in London

Dear Colleagues,

As you may be aware things are moving forward rapidly on the international scene in X-ray Free Electron Laser (FEL) research. There has been a steady stream of high profile publications across a wide range of scientific disciplines emerging from the LCLS facility in Stanford and the FLASH facility in Hamburg, and this flow looks set to strengthen and deepen in the next years with other facilities becoming operational.

Given the potential for revolutionary scientific breakthroughs emerging from X-ray FELs it is imperative that UK science remains closely engaged with these developments. As part of the UK FEL forums mission to promote FEL research in the UK we are organising a 1 day meeting on June 14th at Imperial College in London to explore the current science and potential of X-ray FEL.

Invited speakers include an array of leading scientists in the field:

Henry Chapman (CFEL, DESY, Germany) “Protein Nanocrystallography” TBC

John Costello (Dublin City University, Ireland) “EUV and X-ray Free Electron Lasers – A New Frontier in AMO Physics”

Thomas Cowan (Helmholtz Institute, Germany) “The Helmholtz Beamline at XFEL “
Janos Hajdu (University of Uppsala, Sweden) “Imaging at High-Energy Densities”

Steven Johnson (ETH, Switzerland) “Controlling Dynamics in Solids: Femtosecond X-ray Diffraction”

Jon Marangos (Imperial College) “Ultrafast Molecular Dynamics with X-Ray FELs”

Malcolm McMahon (University of Edinburgh) “Accessing Extreme States of Matter on X-FELS”

Jim Naismith (University of St Andrews) “UK Life Sciences at XFEL” TBC

Ian Robinson (UCL) “Direct Imaging of Phonon Modes in Gold Nano-Particles” TBC

Robin Santra (CFEL DESY, Germany) “High-Intensity X-ray Interactions with Heavy Atomic Species”

Justin Wark (Oxford University) “Solid Density Plasmas Created and Diagnosed with X-ray Lasers”

The meeting is open to all interested scientists. There will be no fee. Refreshments will be provided thanks to sponsorship from the Central Laser Facility and Diamond Light Source. Please pre-register if you wish to attend by sending an email to:

Best regards,
Jon Marangos, on behalf of the UK FEL Forum