Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS


IA-SFS Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 506008
Źródło dofinansowania: FP6-INFRASTRUCTURES
Kraj: Italy

Final Report Summary - IA-SFS (Integrating activity on synchrotron and free electron laser science)

IA-SFS had two strategic objectives:
1. to support transnational users of national facilities in the domain of synchrotron and FEL science;
2. to support Joint research activities (JRAs) with the purpose of:
i. enhancing the effectiveness of the facilities in serving users and in particular transnational users;
ii. contributing to the development of novel sources in this domain.

The access and research initiatives are complemented and enhanced by targeted networking activities:

1. The IA-SFS would continue the' round table' support for specialised workshops, meetings and schools with the objectives to:
i. stimulate new ideas for transnational collaboration;
ii. prepare new generations of users.

2. The IA-SFS would also support transnational exchanges between facilities and user institutions.

The initiative was based on the very solid record of success of transnational access contracts at individual facilities in the past decade, of the coordinating role of the European round table for synchrotron radiation and free electron lasers, and of several instrumentation collaboration projects. The key element of the success was that the European Commission (EC) support has practically opened the most advanced network of synchrotron and FEL sources in the world to all qualified European users based on merit. This I3 would continue and boost this very successful approach. The impact is expected to be positive on scientists from all over Europe and in particular on those from countries without this type of facilities. Many new experiments may be made possible fully exploiting the intellectual resources of thousands of scientists. The JRAs targeted strategic areas of instrumentation with specific emphasis on electron guns and experimental tools for future X-ray lasers.

The project was characterised by a number of access activities in various scientific fields. The I3 project IA-SFS has supported 3 577 experiments totalling more than 13 000 beam time days. In other words, in each day of the five years of the project there were, on average, more than seven experiments being performed within the IA-SFS activity. Proposals were selected following merit as a criterion and giving priority to users that came for the first time at a specific infrastructure and whose institution country does not possess such facility.

Such research areas were:
- Physics (astronomy / astrophysics / astroparticles; atomic and molecular physics; condensed matter physics; other-physics);
- Chemistry
- Life sciences and biotech (combating major diseases; molecular and cellular biology; medicine)
- Earth sciences and environment (molecular and cellular biology)
- Humanities - history.

The project included important JRAs, as follows:

JRA1 - User infrastructure platform in Europe for protein crystallography
The generic nature of Macromolecular crystallographic (MX) experiments means that users can and do apply to more than one site for a particular project. This may be because specific beam-lines are more suited to some aspects of the structure determination pipeline, or may simply reflect the immediacy of demand, the difficulty of the project or travel and budgetary considerations. Other important factors determining the appropriateness of a beam line may be the crystal size and unit cell parameters. The aim of JRA1 was the provision of a common MX platform that would enhance the efficiency of beam line utilisation for the user community. The JRA1 partners identified four areas, corresponding to the four work packages where they believed significant contributions to this goal could be made.

JRA2 - Instrumentation for femtosecond pulses: synchronisation and diagnostics
JRA2 aimed at developing diagnostics and instrumentation required for high-resolution time resolved applications of the storage ring and new accelerator based femtosecond (1 fs=10(-15) sec) VUV and X-ray sources. One of the key interests in fs X-ray sources is the opportunity to investigate ultrafast processes that happen on time scales ranging from several fs to several picoseconds (1 ps=10^(-12) sec). On a fs time scale atomic nuclei are practically 'standing still' whereas electrons can still move. Consequently, the evolution of the electronic structure can be probed in detail as the atoms start moving apart if, for instance, a chemical bond is broken. Also the atomic motion itself can be probed stroboscopically using fs X-ray pulses with wavelengths in the Angstrom region. The availability of fs X-ray sources can thus be expected to revolutionise the scientific capabilities in many different areas ranging from biology and life sciences, environmental science and chemistry, to magnetism and complex materials.

The work was done by collaboration between different European synchrotron radiation facilities operating or planning fs X-ray sources and potential user groups - a collaboration of groups from BESSY, CNRS, DESY, Elettra, Maxlab, SLS and Soleil. Utilising storage ring based Femtoslicing sources which were at the start of the project under development at BESSY and SLS as well as the linac based FEL source at DESY fs X-ray and electron pulse diagnostics were developed. The aim was to develop expertise in fs X-ray science needed for the extension of the photon energy range in future high-brilliance X-ray free electron lasers and also to provide a nucleus for the forming user community in this field.

JRA3 - Microfocusing devices
JRA3 was a joint research activity for the development of diffractive X-ray optics for European synchrotrons. In the last decade, they became the key elements for high resolution and energy resolving X-ray imaging techniques performed at current synchrotron sources. In comparison to reflective or refractive X-ray optics, diffractive optical elements have some fundamental advantages:
(i) they have proven to give unsurpassed spatial resolution down to a few tens of nanometres;
(ii) they maintain the coherence of the beam, as they can be fabricated with sufficient accuracy to provide a precise control of the induced changes of a light wave front within a fraction of a wavelength;
(iii) besides the important application as lenses, more complex optical functionalities can be included in a single optical element, making them predestined also for other applications such as holography and interferometry.

Besides these items high priority was considered for the fabrication of high spatial resolution volume zone plates (< 30 nm) fabricated using advanced e-beam lithography strategies and nanofabrication technology aiming at tremendously increasing current aspect ratios (height / width of zone structures) not achievable by conventional e-beam or X-ray lithography techniques.

The participants formed a collaboration of experts in the field of diffractive X-ray optics for nano-beams, to serve two main purposes:
(i) to offer access for researchers in the context with synchrotron facilities to obtain x-ray optics tailored to meet their specific needs; and
(ii) to significantly improve the state-of-the-art diffractive x-ray optics by developing novel nano-fabrication strategies and methods.

JRA4 - Design, development and testing of a superconducting undulator
For the production of synchrotron radiation of highest brilliance, third generation synchrotron sources use insertion devices, or more specifically undulators. In an undulator, the accelerated particle beam is forced on a sinusoidal trajectory by a magnet lattice which changes its direction many times.

The JRA4 focused on the design, development and testing of superconductive technology for undulators. The initially defined development of a full short period superconducting undulator to be installed and tested on the European synchrotron radiation facility has been found to need more R&D than expected and became incompatible with the IA-SFS time duration and a revised goal has been defined to experimentally verify two important subsystems of superconducting undulators: correction of phase errors of the periodic magnetic field and optimisation of the cryo-technology. Four European facilities, ANKA, ESRF, Elettra and MAXLAB have joined forces to prove the application of such systems.

JRA5 - Development of an optimised radio frequency photoinjector of X-ray free
JRA5 of the IA-SFS contract deals with the optimisation of high-brightness electron sources for Free-electron lasers (FELs). Because of the lack of good mirrors in the X-ray region, short-wavelength free-electron lasers are single pass devices that function by self-amplified spontaneous emission. The lasing depends on the coupling between a dense electron bunch and the growing radiation mode in the undulator. The transverse size of this mode is set by diffraction, therefore by the wavelength of the radiation. For X-ray FELs, the requirement to focus the electron beam inside the radiation mode imposes strong requirements on the brightness of the electron beam. The density of electrons in the longitudinal phase space, defined by the length of the bunch and the energy spread, and the transverse phase space, defined by the width of the bunch and its divergence, must both be very high.

The work that comprises JRA5 has been undertaken in the context of the photoinjector test facility in Zeuthen (PITZ), a part of the Deutsches elektronen-synchrotron (DESY). The chosen technology for creating high-brightness electron beams is the normal-conducting Radio-frequency (RF) photoinjector, which is compatible with the superconducting-linac driven free-electron lasers (FLASH) in Hamburg, the European 'X-ray free-electron laser' (XFEL), and other machines.

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