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Hamburg and Dresden accelerator physicists cooperate

News published on March 22, 2012

The research centres Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg and Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) will closely cooperate in the future in a series of research fields, including accelerator physics and technology, detector technologies and systems, the use of synchrotron radiation and the development and application of free-electron and high power lasers. Currently, both research centres, which already bundle their competence in the field of accelerator physics with other centres of the Helmholtz Association, and with university and non-university institutes within the Helmholtz portfolio initiative “Accelerator Research and Development” (ARD), signed a bilateral cooperation agreement.

Today, accelerator facilities are used to explore fundamental research questions in physics as well as to develop innovations in materials science, bioscience and nanoscience, pharmaceutical research or for medical applications, e.g. cancer therapy with ion beams. A key issue of the ARD portfolio theme is the interconnection of German research competences for the further development of accelerator technologies. A main area in the cooperation of DESY and HZDR is the design and application of accelerator-based light sources in the terahertz and X-ray range, which are operated at both centres. Thus, scientists carry out experiments with terahertz radiation at the free-electron lasers FELBE in Dresden since 2004, and FLASH in Hamburg since 2008. These light sources are a perfect tool to study and control the properties of materials, atoms and molecules.

Superconducting accelerator technologies

Both research centres want to cooperate with regard to the underlying superconducting accelerator technologies. Already today, the research facilities of DESY and HZDR allow accelerating ultra-short electron bunches with a quality standard that enables scientists to carry out significantly more experiments in less time than in comparable normally-conducting linear accelerators. Within the framework of this cooperation, there will be a further optimisation of the methods of electron beam diagnostics at superconducting accelerators, to operate the light sources with improved properties at both centres. The cooperation between DESY and HZDR includes the exchange of personnel, technical solutions and research equipment, plus common experiments and measuring time at the free-electron lasers FLASH and FELBE.

In Dresden, for example, the developments go directly into the construction of a new terahertz laboratory named TELBE, including a combination of a narrowband and a broadband terahertz source going into operation this year. They are also very important to create the basis to generate brilliant X-ray light. Therefore, in the future, the Dresden-based high-power laser DRACO will be coupled with the electron beam of the particle accelerator ELBE.