Turgi, Switzerland and Dortmund, Germany, February 12, 2016. Ampegon signed a contract for the SwissFEL X-ray free-electron laser (FEL) project, under construction at the Paul Scherrer Institut PSI in Switzerland. Based on a successfully tested and qualified prototype, the new order includes the final redesign, manufacture, installation and commissioning of 13 identical short pulse modulators for the 600 m linear accelerator (LINAC) of the FEL. Deliveries are expected to commence in October 2016 and continue regularly until completed in April 2017.

The FEL LINAC is designed to accelerate electrons to highest energies so that they can be passed through successive opposing magnets in order to create high energy X-ray pulses. These will allow scientists to observe high speed physical events in matter, allowing them to study new materials, develop novel pharmaceuticals and understand the principles of chemical reactions and the laws of physics in great detail. Commissioning of the SwissFEL will begin in the course of 2016.

The short pulse modulator prototype was contracted in 2013 and designed for the SwissFEL project. During extensive tests, it demonstrated excellent performance and precision at high pulse repetition rates up to 100 Hz. It was specifically designed to supply pulses of 370 kV, 344 A to a Toshiba E37212 klystron. In order to maximize modulator efficiency, care was taken in the design process to minimize wasteful rise-time and set-point overshoot. The efficiency of the transformer is also significantly increased by the demagnetization energy process. These results and major technical advances enable a new dimension in the field of research.

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