£3.2m in UKRI Infrastructure funding has been announced today for a Conceptual Design and Options analysis for a UK XFEL (X-ray Free Electron Laser).
[£3.2m over the next 3 years, £3.2m from the Infrastructure Fund in total including future funding years]. Starting in FY22/23.
This Conceptual Design Report will explore different options to provide access to a 2nd generation
XFEL capability for UK science and innovation.
The project scientific lead Prof. Jon Marangos (Lockyer Chair in Physics, Imperial Collage London) and Project Sponsor Prof. John Collier (Director of the Central Laser Facility), with lead collaborators from Astec and Technology will drive forward the conceptual design report. The conceptual design project is in collaboration with CLF, Diamond Light Source and the XFEL academic community in the UK.
XFELs are large machines that produce coherent X-rays and can be used to study matter
simultaneously on spatial and temporal scales. Such capability allows for a wide range of cutting-
edge multi-disciplinary applications across science and technology, for instance:
• Bioscience and Healthcare – mapping atomic details of viruses and supporting drug
• Net zero-growth – providing new approaches for low-cost energy generation and storage
• Technology – developing new and advanced materials with direct applicability to industry,
mobility, digital manufacturing, nuclear energy and defence
• Fundamental science – offering new processes to study the interior of planet
In order to deliver the world leading science highlighted by the Science Case, UK academics will need access to next generation XFEL capability. This funding will allow a 'UK XFEL Conceptual Design Report' (CDR) to be produced, which aims to answer the key question, 'how best to achieve this?' To do that the CDR will fully evaluate different options to enable UK researchers' access to next generation XFEL capability, including their costs, benefits, risks and sustainability.
The conceptual design and options to build a UK XFEL will be investigated during this CDR, along with other options, including making significant investments into overseas XFELs to enhance thei r current capabilities as part of a strategic development to create a next generation XFEL.
Read more about the UK XFEL Science Case and CDR here.
Read UKRI's Infrastructure Fund announcement here.