The Photo-Injector Team First prototype UK X-FEL Injector delivered by Daresbury Laboratory
27 Jun 2016



Pushing beyond current UK photon facility capabilities, to deliver short pulses of X-rays that can probe both structure and dynamics at the molecular level, demands light pulses over 1,000 times shorter than those in Diamond Light Source


Scientists and engineers at DL have been developing a high brightness, high repetition rate electron injector to match the requirements of an envisaged candidate for a UK X-Ray Free Electron Laser (FEL) facility. Designing and building a high repetition rate photo-injector for the CLARA FEL test facility (link opens in a new window) at Daresbury has allowed scientists and engineers to research the challenges of creating extremely high quality electron beams with a combination of brightness and repetition rate, beyond those currently deployed on any normal conducting FEL facility in the world.

The photo-injector cavity has been designed by ASTeC and Technology with the Cockcroft Institute (Lancaster University) and the Institute of Nuclear Research in Moscow.

Peter McIntosh, ASTeC Deputy Director, ASTeC Technical Division Head, said: “The project team has excelled in delivering a pivotal achievement for the CLARA project, in providing an innovative electron source which has been designed to overcome extensive technical challenges and which I know will demonstrate state-of-the-art performance capability.”

Having been manufactured by Research Instruments in Germany, the cavity has now been delivered to DL and initial radio frequency tests confirm it achieves the challenging specifications.

ASTeC Director Susan Smith said "This is a tremendous technical success, a major design challenge was delivering a ultra-high quality beam whilst pulsing the copper cavity 400 times a second with a big number of MW of RF power. A fraction of a mm change in dimensions through heating and it completely fails."

First commissioning on CLARA will start later this year.