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

X-FEL2013 – registration now open

The registration page is now open for

X-FEL2013, the X-ray Free Electron Laser School and symposium, will be held in Dinard, France, from September 16 till September 20 in 2013.

This meeting will be devoted to the rapidly evolving capabilities of X-FELs, which are attracting an ever increasing interest from scientists from many fields of physics, biology, materials science.
It is organized within the framework of the “XFEL-Science” International Research Group funded by CNRS.

Please see the attached brochure for more information, or check the conference web-site for the latest updates.

Important dates are:
Registration: 15 April
Abstract for contributed talks: 15 June
Final registration and payment: 15 June

An informal summary of the UK Instruct meeting about FEL involvement for structural biology.

Thirty people from Structural biology groups and research/charity funding councils attended a one day meeting on 14th November 2012 comprised of 4 presentations and a working meeting to discuss if there was a common position on the possible involvement of UK structural biology with the European X-ray source XFEL.

A presentation from Henry Chapman, gave a comprehensive update on the work that is taking place at LCLS and the potential of XFEL. The overview described that over 60k images are needed to collect a complete dataset for 3d structure determination taking around 8 hours at LCLS. The Coulomb explosion and ionisation effects of the beam have led to the understanding that a pulse time of around 20fs is needed to obtain high resolution data. At XFEL it is envisaged that entire data sets of 10,000 diffraction images at 10% “hit” efficiency from 100,000 shots at a repeat rate of 27KHz could be collected in 3s but realistically data technology would mean that this would be 30 seconds, i.e. a 1000 fold improvement on LCLS. Talks from invited speakers showed the results from nanocrystals and protein solutions.

XFEL are now supporting the notion of user consortia such as that for single particle imaging or a nano crystallography station. There is an opportunity for the UK structural biology group to invest in a consortia which would fund the capital investment and operational cost for an end station. The UK would be part of 7 groups interested in forming the consortia, with an overall investment cost of £10-12M and a possible 33% share, which would give access for about 35 days per annum. The attendees were unanimous in support for the proposal for a group of researchers to lead a bid to BBSRC as the lead research council. There was a discussion about the other groups that has called for UK FEL projects. Two points arose 1) the support from structural biophysics hopefully would be well received from other groups, 2) the order of magnitude of investment compared to that that required for “laser people” would mean this would not be an STFC investment.

X-FEL2013 School and symposium, Dinard, France, September 16-20

X-FEL2013, the X-ray Free Electron Laser School and symposium, will be held in Dinard, France, from September 16 till September 20 in 2013.

This meeting will be devoted to the rapidly evolving capabilities of X-FELs, which are attracting an ever increasing interest from scientists from many fields of physics, biology, materials science. It is organized within the framework of the “XFEL-Science” International Research Group funded by CNRS.

More information is available at the following conference website.

Important dates are:

Early-bird registration: 15 March
Abstract for contributed talks: 15 June
Final registration and payment: 15 June

SPIE conference on "Advances in X-ray Free-Electron Laser Instrumentation"

We would like to point your attention to the SPIE conference on ” Advances in X-ray Free-Electron Laser Instrumentation ” that will take place 15-18 April 2013 in Prague.

This conference will cover the following topics:

• status of planned and operational VUV, EUV, soft x-ray and X-ray FEL facilities
• science examples defining requirements for FEL radiation properties and instrumentation
• advanced FEL radiation schemes
• diagnostics for electron beam and FEL radiation
• instrumentation for femtosecond characterization in pump-probe experiments
• X-ray optics and beam transport issues
• advanced instrumentation for FEL experiments.

More information is available at the following website.

First coherent photons from a double stage cascaded FEL with fresh bunch injection technique

On October 11, 2012 the beam line *FERMI FEL-2 has generated its first coherent photons*. This is the first experimental demonstration of a seeded free electron laser configured as a two stages cascade operating in the “fresh bunch injection mode, where the second stage is seeded by the light produced by the first stage. In this configuration the photons in the second stage are generated from a fresh portion of the electron bunch, which has not been heated by the seed of the first stage, overcoming the problem of the induced energy spread which limits the order of the harmonic conversion in a high-gain harmonic-generation seeded FEL.

The first commissioning experiments were done at a final wavelength of 14.4 nm in planar polarization. This wavelength is the result of an harmonic conversion to the 6th harmonic (43.3 nm) in the first stage and the 3rd harmonic in the second (i.e., 18th harmonic of the seed laser). The FEL pulse energy has been optimized to increase the flux to about 20-30uJ. Further tests at the final wavelengths of 10.8nm (4th harmonic conversion in the second stage) and 8.7 nm (5th harmonic conversion in the second stage) are in progress. The figure shows one of the single mode spectra obtained from FEL-2 at 14.4 nm.

Original release can be found at the following website.

European XFEL Users' Meeting 2013, DESY Hamburg on 23 – 25 January 2013

The European XFEL Users’ Meeting 2013 will be held at DESY Hamburg on 23 – 25 January 2013. The meeting will be organized jointly with the PHOTON SCIENCE Users’ Meeting 2013.

The programme comprises:

23 Jan, all day: Plenary sessions of the European XFEL (project status and progress reports; Science session with special topic: State-of-the-art instrumentation for scientific X-ray FEL applications).

24 Jan, morning: Plenary sessions (Soft X-ray FEL / FLASH experiments) jointly organized with the Photon Science colleagues.

25 Jan, afternoon: Poster session, jointly organized with DESY Photon Science.

In the afternoon of 24 Jan, room is given to satellite meetings and workshops. In the morning of 25 Jan the Plenary session of the DESY Photon Science Users’ Meeting 2013 will take place.

We are pleased to announce that we are again able to offer to a limited number of young scientists a financial contribution of up to 600 €, depending on distance, towards travel and living expenses. All current PhD students, as well as scientists who obtained their doctoral degree after 1 January 2011 are eligible. We encourage you to forward this information to science graduate students or recent PhD’s who might be interested. Deadline for application is 4 January 2013.

Additional information including registration is available at the following website.

X-ray Free Electron Laser workshop on Wednesday 14th November 2012

X-ray Free Electron Laser. What can it do for UK structural Biology?

A free half day workshop for the UK community will showcase important and exciting results that have been obtained using X-FELs.

The meeting is organised under the Instruct banner by Jim Naismith (St Andrews), supported by Diamond Light Source.

The speakers will include:
Professor Ilme Schlichting (Max Plank)
Professor Henry Chapman (European X-FEL)
Professor Richard Neutze (Gothenburg)

The workshop will be held at Burroughs Room at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre on Euston Road.

Coffee at 10am, for a 10.30 prompt start. Wednesday 14th November 2012

Presentations will finish and a working lunch will follow.

At 2pm UK funders (BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, MRC, STFC) have offered to have a discussion with the community about our views on whether and how the UK should engage with X-FEL. There is an option for a limited investment in an experimental station for UK structural biology. A decision on whether to participate will have to made this calendar year.

Places are limited by the capacity, please register by emailing Susan Daenke (

FEL Science in the UK

Dear Colleagues,

The STFC is undertaking another Programmatic Review to decide on funding priorities for the next few years (this coincides with the next Comprehensive Spending Review which may be brought forward to next year). I have recently been appointed to their Physical Sciences and Engineering advisory panel and we have been asked to make recommendations on the science priorities to inform this process.

One of the areas that I am sure we should be pursuing is FEL research. To make this case we need to have good data on the take up of opportunities for FEL science by researchers  in the UK. I am therefore canvassing for information on the current state of the field and trying to put together a picture on who is using FELs (especially the recently commissioned X-ray FELS) and the range of science programmes UK scientists are involved in with these machines.

I would greatly appreciate if you could communicate to me the following information:

1/ A list of the FEL experiments you have participated in over the last 5 years (including the scientific topic, dates and any published outcomes).

2/ The names of all the UK based researchers (academics, postdocs, PGs) who were involved.

3/ Your views about what kind of support is needed from STFC (and other research councils) to ensure sustainability for UK participation in FEL science.

Ideally I need all this info by the end of September.
Thanking you in anticipation.

Jon Marangos