The ALICE Infra Red Free Electron Laser (IR-FEL) is one of the major projects ALICE was designed to deliver.
The ALICE free electron laser is novel '4th generation' light source, which produces extremely intense infra-red light, far beyond what is achievable from conventional light sources. The wavelength of the light can be tuned for specific applications. The achievement of IR-FEL lasing at ALICE in 2010 was the first operation of a FEL driven by a energy recovery accelerator in Europe (link opens in a new window), and represents a significant advance in UK accelerator science and technology.
The ALICE IR-FEL concept and operating details are explained in the ASTeC Magnetics and Radiation Sources Group web page.
The IR-FEL undulator was installed in ALICE in December 2009 and was commissioned throughout 2010 alongside other ALICE projects. First spontaneous radiation was observed in February 2010 (link opens in a new window) and spectra of this radiation were measured in summer 2010. To improve the operation of the IR-FEL and enable lasing, the electron bunch frequency was altered enabling a much higher bunch of charges of improved quality to be transported through ALICE. Lasing was achieved in October 2010. A scientific summary of ALICE status in 2011, including commissioning of the IR-FEL and first lasing is available on the Joint Accelerator Conferences website (PDF - link opens in a new window).
A journal paper on the first lasing of the ALICE IR-FEL is available online (link opens in a new window)at the website of the Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research journal (subscription required for access).