2015 Users’ Meeting attendance climbs higher
Future users discuss European XFEL instruments, experiments, and operation
The European XFEL Users’ Meeting 2015, held jointly with the DESY Photon Science Users’ Meeting on 28–30 January, yet again broke its attendance record from the previous year. Over 800 scientists from around the world came to Hamburg to participate, with more than 600 attending the first day’s sessions regarding European XFEL.
“We are overwhelmed by this large increase in the number of users interested in the status of the project”, said European XFEL Scientific Director Andreas Schwarz. “This bodes well for the future operation phase of this state-of-the-art facility.”
The DESY Auditorium was packed with scientists eager to hear about progress at the facility. European XFEL Managing Director Massimo Altarelli presented the facility’s current status and progress. In his report, Altarelli said all six scientific instruments would provide a total of 1000 hours to early user experiments in 2017, with full simultaneous operation of instruments and over 2000 hours of user operation in 2018, and 4000 hours of operation by 2019.
The European XFEL Accelerator Consortium’s coordinator, DESY scientist Hans Weise, reported on the continuing assembly and installation work on the 100 accelerator modules and additional components. He also said the facility’s electron injector would begin firing electron bunches this summer.
Other talks detailed the specific electron beam parameters of the first user operation run, the Karabo control and data analysis framework, beamline installations in the photon tunnels, and continuing research and design work on the six initial scientific instruments. Thursday’s events focused on soft X-ray experiments, including at DESY’s X-ray free-electron laser FLASH.
On Friday, European XFEL held a poster session, also alongside DESY Photon Science, which featured more than 340 posters on photon science research applications in biochemistry, materials science, astrophysics, and many other fields. Attendees expressed excitement over learning about new facility details, in terms of planning for the first users, instrumentation, and experimental parameters.
“This meeting is always exciting”, said Changyong Song, a scientist at the X-ray free-electron laser SACLA at RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Harima, Japan. “Every year there’s new progress and things that have never been seen.”
A satellite meeting that took place earlier in the week focused on the expected first science experiments at the Materials Imaging and Dynamics (MID) instrument, one the six initial scientific stations that will be operational in 2017. This hard X-ray instrument will be mainly used for materials science research, while also being capable of taking “molecular movies” of processes such as catalytic reactions using the European XFEL’s repetition rate of 27 000 flashes per second. Other satellite meetings included an update on the High Energy Density Science (HED) instrument (which had a major workshop last year) and on the Femtosecond X-Ray Experiments (FXE) instrument, the photon diagnostics systems, and meetings of various user consortia.
As in the past few years, 42 students from 17 countries including Turkey, Russia, Italy, and Slovakia received European XFEL travel fellowships to come to the Users’ Meeting.
Nastasia Mukharamova, a Master’s student from Russia and recipient of one of the fellowships, was especially excited about the instrument workshops. “It’s very interesting to hear what experiments can be made here, with many directions in which I could do research.”