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UK-XFEL draft science case consultation

2 July 2020

STFC is pleased to launch the draft science case for a UK based X-Ray Free Electron Laser (UK-XFEL).

Science Case

Following the Strategic FEL Review in 2016, this draft science case, led by Professor Jon Marangos (Imperial College) sets out the scientific rationale for a potential sovereign machine in the UK.

An expert science team, drawn from multiple institutes in the UK, has authored this case and supported Prof Marangos.

Open for consultation by the scientific community at large, the science case can be downloaded in Full, or just the Executive Summary.

Science Case: Executive summary

Since the world’s first X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) began operation in 2009 at Stanford USA, these machines have proven to be a powerful new tool for science. Using time resolved X-ray methods, spectroscopy and scattering, they give a unique window into the structural and electronic dynamics of matter at the nanoscopic scale. There are now five XFELs operating in the world (USA, Japan, Korea, Germany, Switzerland) which have pioneered applications across the life, physical, chemical and material sciences generating important and transformative results. The UK is a partner in the European XFEL in Hamburg operating since 2017, and UK users are active at all the other facilities.

STFC recognises that XFELs, although already proving highly impactful, are only at the beginning of their trajectory and new capabilities are emerging that may prove still more significant.

The science case seeks to address

  • Over the coming decades how will the technological and scientific opportunities enabled by XFELs develop?
  • What specific impact might there be from a UK machine aimed at offering new capabilities and adding to the capacity available internationally.

STFC, Prof Marangos and the Science Team are actively soliciting feedback, prior to undergoing formal independent Review later this year. Please send any comments or thoughts to XFELScienceCase@stfc.ac.uk.

STFC will also be hosting a series of live, discipline specific Webinars between July and mid-September where relevant members of the Science Team will present the key scientific, industrial and innovation opportunities. They will be 90 mins long (45 min presentation; 45 min Q&A), recorded and available afterwards here. Dates for the first four and links:




Live Webinar Link / Recording

Science Case Overview

23 July

2 pm

Science Case Overview Recording

Life Sciences

28 July

2 pm

Life Sciences Recording

Chemical and Material Sciences

30 July

2 pm

Chemical and Material Sciences Recording

Physical and Extreme Conditions

5 August

2 pm

Physical and Extreme Conditions Recording

This consultation will close on 15 September 2020.

Prof. John Collier

STFC UK-XFEL Science Case Sponsor

Last updated: 11 August 2020


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