1200 participants at the annual meeting for users

Record number of attendees at the joint DESY and European XFEL event

Users Meeting 2018

Users' Meeting 2018 - session in the DESY auditorium (Photo: DESY/Axel Heimken).

Users Meeting 2018

Users' Meeting 2018 - Poster session (Photo: DESY/Axel Heimken).

The joint meeting of users of DESY's research light sources and the European XFEL X-ray laser once again drew a record number of attendees to Hamburg. Some 1200 participants from nearly 100 institutions from around 30 countries have registered for the three-day event (24-26 January) held at DESY, more than ever before. A particular highlight this year is the beginning of scientific user operation at the European XFEL, from which first results were presented.

“The users' meeting in Hamburg is the largest in the world for research with X-ray light sources, and we are very proud of that,” emphasised DESY Director Helmut Dosch. “The tremendous interest reflects the importance of these unique research tools for all natural sciences and beyond.” DESY's research director for photon science, Edgar Weckert, added: “With the X-ray lasers FLASH and European XFEL and the storage-ring-based X-ray source PETRA III, the metropolitan region offers a worldwide unique combination of high-intensity research light sources that serve a wide range of disciplines, from biology and medicine to energy, material and earth science to physics, chemistry and even art history.”

Following the start of user operation in September 2017, the European XFEL has already hosted teams of a total of 341 researchers from all over the world. The pilot experiments at the first two operational measuring stations dealt, for example, with spectroscopic methods to film ultrafast chemical reactions and with new techniques to elucidate the shape and function of biomolecules. A total of six measuring stations are planned at the European XFEL, which are gradually being put into operation. DESY is the main shareholder of the accelerator-based X-ray laser, which is also operated from the DESY accelerator control room.

More than 2700 scientists from almost 40 countries came to DESY's X-ray sources PETRA III and FLASH in 2017. Life sciences were again the largest field of research at PETRA III with a share of 29 percent of all experiments and a large contribution from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL that operates a branch and its own measuring stations at DESY. The second and third largest shares came from the fields of energy research with 21 percent and key technologies with 19 percent, with notable contributions from the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht (HZG) that also operates a measuring station at PETRA III. At FLASH, where mainly basic research is carried out, nearly half of last year's experiments (49 percent) came from the energy sector, followed by 28 percent from the field of key technologies.

In addition to new experimental possibilities, the further development of DESY's “brilliant ring” PETRA III into an even more brilliant, next generation X-ray source will be discussed. Also, the rapidly growing activities of DESY and its partners on the international research campus in Hamburg as well as scientific results are presented. Researchers show the results of their work on a total of 375 posters, as well as in about 30 lectures and 17 satellite meetings. 65 companies will be showing their products for X-ray science in an accompanying trade fair.

(from DESY news)