European XFEL starts commissioning of the world’s largest X-ray laser

“European XFEL, a large international research facility with eleven European member countries, has begun the commissioning of the 3.4-km long underground X-ray laser. …. The commissioning will take place over the following next few months. External scientists will be able to perform experiments at the facility for the first time in summer 2017.”



Free Electron Laser Strategic Review published by STFC (Aug. 31st 2016)

“Recognising the importance of Free Electron Lasers (FELs) for the UK science community, STFC commissioned a strategic review of FEL science and facility access.

The purpose of the strategic review is to guide STFC’s planning over the next five years. It gives clear guidance on the importance of FELs, how the user community should grow and the need for a timely decision on the UK building a FEL.

STFC will work with the UK Research Councils to support the growth of the UK FEL user community. The strategic review will inform STFC’s programme planning. The need for pump-priming investment in the basic technology required to develop a FEL will be balanced with the rest of the STFC programme.

STFC will work with Government to secure support and investment for a new large facility in the UK and ensure we are in a position to make a decision to proceed with the development of a FEL facility in 2020.

As with all of STFC’s underpinning research and innovation strategies, the FEL strategic review will contribute to the delivery of STFC’s strategic goals of world-class research, innovation and skills.”

Download the report from:

The views of the UK FEL User Community on how to proceed following the publication of the strategy are welcomed – please use the Forum page to post a comment.

First electrons accelerated in European XFEL

A crucial component of the European XFEL has taken up operation: The so-called injector, the 45-metre long first part of the superconducting particle accelerator, has accelerated its first electrons to nearly the speed of light. This is the first beam ever accelerated at the European XFEL and represents a major advancement toward the completion of the facility.


LCLS publishes its Strategic Development Plan


This facilities plan is in response to a prior report, “New Science Opportunities Enabled by LCLS-II X-ray Lasers,” released in June, that details some important scientific questions that LCLS-II can be expected to contribute to, identifies areas of science it can explore, and proposes some specific experiments that it can undertake. Some of the science opportunities for LCLS-II are also listed at SLAC’s LCLS-II website.

The facilities plan, once finalized, will help to set priorities for the next five to 10 years of LCLS and LCLS-II operations.

LCLS managers are seeking feedback on the facilities plan from SLAC employees and from the international LCLS user community by Wednesday, Sept. 30, in order to incorporate this feedback for consideration by the LCLS Scientific Advisory Committee in October.”  

Download the plan  from:

UK contributes a high-energy optical laser to European XFEL HED instrument

“The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom will contribute to the European XFEL an optical laser that will generate conditions similar to the interior of Earth-like exoplanets. The £8 million (approximately 11 million euro) development and construction of the laser will be funded by STFC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, within a grant framework overseen by Professor Justin Wark at the University of Oxford.

The laser will be manufactured, assembled, and tested in the UK by CLF and will then be shipped for the final assembly in Germany. It is part of the contributions by the Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields at the European XFEL (HIBEF) user consortium and will be installed at the High Energy Density Science (HED) instrument. The UK previously has provided funding for the Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SFX) user consortium and has stated its intention to invest up to £30 million to become the European XFEL’s twelfth member state.”

For more information see: