Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New EU project: Guiding light for the world’s brightest light sources

06.10.2015

Two special kinds of light have changed the landscape of research. Advanced visible-spectrum optical lasers have propelled studies into ultrafast processes, new materials, telecommunications, while intense X-rays produced at synchrotrons have helped image tiny structures and otherwise invisible parts of matter, enabling leaps in biochemistry, pharmacology, and materials science. New developments have enhanced the generation of X-rays, resulting in the creation of large international research centres. The EU is now funding a 7 million-euro effort to bring these research centres together through the European Cluster of Advanced Laser Light Sources (EUCALL) project.

The project will be managed by European XFEL, an X-ray free-electron laser facility currently under construction in the Hamburg area of Germany.


EUCALL Logo

Thousands of scientists in biomedicine, physics, materials science and many other fields from around the world come to these centres to use the unique radiation available there. These large-scale facilities, which are also known as research infrastructures (RI), provide scientists access to light that is otherwise unavailable at a science laboratory.

Particle accelerator-driven facilities called synchrotrons have been providing ultrabright X-rays, and more recent X-ray free-electron lasers have been pushing the limits of accelerator-based technologies to generate ultrashort pulses of laser-like X-ray light at unprecedented brightness.

In recent years, specialized optical lasers have been used to generate intense X-rays as well; the new availability of such sources to the scientific community has led to the construction of RIs. EUCALL aims to help both accelerator- and laser-driven X-ray facilities even better serve the scientific community.

Within the EUCALL project, the two types of large-scale X-ray RIs in Europe collaborate for the first time in a comprehensive way on technical, scientific, and strategic issues. One of the project’s main goals is to make substantial scientific and technological contributions through new synergies between laser-driven and accelerator-driven X-ray RIs.

Under EUCALL, the RIs can work together on common methodologies and research opportunities, potentially sparking new scientific investigations, as well as new applications and private-sector innovation, and develop tools to sustain this interaction in the future. The project will allow the involved RIs to provide scientists from around the world better access to highly sought-out X-ray facilities.

To accomplish these goals, the EUCALL partners will work together on strategic and technological developments that can be used at all facilities, along with better protocols to enable scientists to make the best possible use of limited experiment time.

Three major international RIs have a key role in EUCALL: European XFEL, a 3.4 km-long X-ray free-electron laser that will open in 2017 and use ultrabright X-ray laser flashes to investigate nanoscale particles, ultrafast processes, and extreme states of matter; the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), a trio of cutting-edge high-power optical-laser laboratories in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania that will become operational in 2018; and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, which is one of the most prominent X-ray research centres in the world.

Also involved are five other institutes: DESY, which operates the FLASH and PETRA III X-ray user facilities, in Hamburg, Germany; Elettra, which operates the 2-stage seeded FERMI free-electron laser user facility, in Trieste, Italy; Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, which operates high-power optical-laser facilities and a free-electron laser, in Germany; Lund University, which is building the MAX-IV synchrotron, in Sweden; and Paul Scherrer Institut, which is building the SwissFEL X-ray free-electron laser, in Villigen, Switzerland.

All of these RIs have their foundations in broad experience developed at a large number of optical-laser- and accelerator-based X-ray laboratories. Therefore, EUCALL also includes the existing EU collaborations of these facilities, LASERLAB-Europe and FELs of Europe, as well as three partners that work closely with ELI. “EUCALL enables optical-laser- and accelerator-based X-ray facilities in Europe to develop common strategies and new technologies to help our scientific users engage in even more research possibilities”, says European XFEL Scientific Director Thomas Tschentscher, who will act as EUCALL project coordinator. “Implementation of these strategies and efforts will help European research maintain a leading role in many critical areas.”

“Coinciding with the International Year of Light, EUCALL is the first serious effort to bring together scientific communities who have been using X-ray light in parallel to each other, and from different scientific and technological backgrounds”, says ELI Director-General Wolfgang Sandner. “ELI highly welcomes the increased research opportunities and innovation potential that will arise from this synergy, to the benefit of its European and international users.”

The funding from the EU will be used by each RI to support some of the development costs on new technologies, conduct efficiency studies, and hire new staff assigned specifically to EUCALL tasks. Among these tasks will be four research initiatives focusing on new hardware and software for the two laser light source communities. A first research goal is to develop a simulation platform that will allow users to more accurately model their experiments before coming to a facility for beamtime. The aim is to make user proposals and experiments more focused so that scientists can make the best possible use of limited experiment time. Another research goal is to develop an adaptable software and firmware package that can handle the massive data throughput generated by imaging detectors operated at the high or ultrahigh repetition rates of the X-ray and laser flashes at these facilities.

The other two research areas look to develop common scientific hardware. One aim is to develop an efficient method for users to identify positions of samples to be targeted with laser light through use of electron and light microscopy. A final goal involves developing a suite of advanced X-ray beam diagnostics to accurately measure the incident photon intensity and the wave front of coherent X-ray beams, as well as to precisely determine the X-ray pulse arrival time on the sample for ultrafast experiments.

European XFEL will host a EUCALL kick-off meeting on 29–30 October 2015 in Hamburg. Beyond the three-year scope of EUCALL, the project looks to establish a long-term collaboration between the involved RIs, with the aim of further developing common capabilities and fostering closer cooperation.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654220.

Press contact:
Dr. Bernd Ebeling
+49 40 8998 6921
press@xfel.eu

Science contact:
Dr. Thomas Tschentscher
EUCALL Coordinator
+49 40 8998 3904
thomas.tschentscher@xfel.eu

About European XFEL
The European XFEL, currently under construction in the Hamburg area, will be an international research facility of superlatives: 27 000 X-ray flashes per second and a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray sources will open up completely new opportunities for science. Research groups from around the world will be able to map the atomic details of viruses, decipher the molecular composition of cells, take three-dimensional “photos” of the nanoworld, “film” chemical reactions, and study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets. The construction and operation of the facility is entrusted to the European XFEL GmbH, a non-profit company that cooperates closely with the research centre DESY and other organizations worldwide. By the time the facility starts user operation in 2017, the company will have a workforce of about 280 employees. With construction and commissioning costs of 1.22 billion euro (at 2005 price levels) and a total length of 3.4 kilometres, the European XFEL is one of the largest and most ambitious European research projects to date. At present, 11 countries have signed the European XFEL convention: Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.xfel.eu

Dr. Bernd Ebeling | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: X-ray X-ray light XFEL laser light light sources new technologies

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>