UK XFEL – Events

Our first UK XFEL Town Hall meeting will be taking place this June in Belfast.

Click here to find out more and get tickets.

Registration is open for the “Ion Beams at UK XFEL” workshop, which will take place on Thursday, 18 May 2023 at the University of Manchester’s Schuster Building (Physics Department), Niels Bohr 6.53 theatre.

To register for this workshop use the Eventbrite link below: 

Ion Beams at UKXFEL Workshop Tickets, Thu 18 May 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite 

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UK XFEL – Background

UK XFEL – The Scien​ce Case

The Science Case clearly sets out the important future opportunities and strategic need for UK science to have access to such a capability over the coming decades. It proposed a dedicated UK based next generation XFEL to achieve this.

Download the science case in full, or read the 2023 refreshed overview here.

UK XFEL – Scien​ce Opportunities

High brightness ultra-fast x-ray pulses from an X-ray FEL allow the simultaneous imaging of atomic scale structure, electronic state and dynamics in a material. There is no other technology that can do that. The unique science opportunities that these machines can open-up include:

  • Access to structural dynamics: Dynamical phenomena can be probed on a time scale down to femtoseconds thus covering electronic dynamics, lattice dynamics and chemical bonds breaking/forming. This capability can be applied to chemical reactions (for optimisation of e.g., catalysis, water-splitting, hydrogen storage mechanisms), energy materials (for optimisation of photovoltaics, battery technology), engineering materials (to understand/ mitigate mechanisms of corrosion, radiation damage, shock damage), and biochemistry (to unravel photosynthesis, light sensitive protein activity).
  • New modes of nanoscopic imaging: These can be used for seeing the nanoscopic arrangements in nanotechnology and life-sciences free from radiation damage and adverse effects of sample preparation (e.g., in situ imaging of the function of biomolecular assemblies at operating temperature).
  • Access to transient states: Matter can be probed under conditions which are only transiently achieved, such as: extreme pressure, high E & B fields, laser dressing and high energy density (important to astrophysics, planetary science, geophysics, defence and quantum materials).
  • The potential to capture rare events: In physical, chemical and biological systems critical processes often proceed through rare events arising from intrinsic fluctuations and an XFEL opens the possibility to directly visualize these (e.g., can capture natural chemical/biochemical reactions in the act).

These are broadly applicable capabilities that provide a completely new window into matter and dynamics with impact across a wide landscape of science and technology. They will be used alongside other modalities (optical, neutron, cryo-EM, UED, synchrotron X-ray, NMR etc.) to increase our abilities to probe and control matter.