During 2017 a number of leading European accelerator centres, including ASTeC, agreed to work together on the joint design of an x-ray FEL called CompactLight. CompactLight aims to pool international expertise in areas such as magnet design, high gradient RF cavity fabrication and electron source development to design a compact and affordable facility taking advantage of the very latest accelerator technologies and concepts. The design is not for any specific country; rather it is a generic design that many countries (including the UK) could choose to take up or possibly modify for their own national requirements. Since CompactLight has the potential to deliver wide-ranging benefits for many countries, the European Union has agreed to fund the design study under the Horizon 2020 programme.
The design study formally started on 1st January 2018 and will be completed within three years. There are 24 partners contributing to the project, each with their own area of expertise. CERN will be providing leadership for the RF accelerating sections, which they have been developing intensively for a possible future electron-positron linear collider. ASTeC is providing expertise on all aspects of FEL design and is responsible for coordinating the full technical design across all the partners. The Conceptual Design Report for CompactLight will be published in December 2021, a timescale that is compatible with the UK making informed decisions regarding a possible national FEL in the early 2020s.