Grünes Licht für den Ausbau von BESSY II zum Variablen Pulslängen-Speicherring BESSY VSR: Mitgliederversammlung der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft befürwortet einstimmig die Umsetzung eines weltweit einzigartigen Beschleunigerprojekts

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01. February 2017

Green light for upgrading BESSY II into a variable-pulse-length storage ring (BESSY-VSR)

General Assembly of the Helmholtz Association unanimously endorses the realisation of a worldwide unique accelerator project at the synchrotron radiation source BESSY II

BESSY II © / Robert Grahn

With the upgrade BESSY VSR, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin will continue in future to offer a highly demanded synchrotron source for energy materials research with international appeal. Photo: © / Robert Grahn

The General Assembly of the Helmholtz Association unanimously supports Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin’s proposed concept for upgrading BESSY II into a variable-pulse-length storage ring (BESSY VSR). The body of chairpersons from the 18 Helmholtz Centres unanimously suggests to the senate of the Helmholtz Association the financial subsidising of BESSY VSR to the sum of 11.8 million euros. Converting BESSY II into a variable-pulse-length storage ring is a worldwide unique project in accelerator research, and has attracted great interest and favour in the scientific community.

After the upgrade, BESSY VSR will deliver brilliant X-ray pulses of different durations. This gives researchers entirely new possibilities for targeted development of energy materials, which will contribute towards a sustainable supply and storage of energy. A total of 29 million euros are being invested in the upgrade of BESSY II. BESSY VSR is an essential component of the HZB Strategy 2020+, for which HZB has received the explicit agreement of the Supervisory Board and of the Helmholtz Association.

Scientific director of HZB, Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, emphasised the strategic importance of BESSY VSR to Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. “I am pleased that we were able to convince the General Assembly of the quality of the project, and thank the researchers involved for the outstanding preparation of the concept of BESSY VSR, which shows in great detail the technical feasibility of the highly ambitious project. From intensive discussions among the experts we know that the interest in upgrading BESSY II into a variable-pulse-length storage ring is enormous. With the upgrade, we are ensuring that Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin will continue in future to offer a highly demanded synchrotron source for energy materials research with international appeal.”

BESSY VSR offers short and long pulses at the same time

With BESSY II, HZB operates a light source in the soft X-ray and VUV X-ray range, which is especially suitable for researching new energy materials. Currently, in normal mode, BESSY II delivers high-brilliancy X-ray pulses at a duration of 17 picoseconds (1 picosecond = 10-12s). Additionally, it is already possible to switch BESSY II to a different operating mode for a few days in the year in order to study samples with extremely short pulses of about 3 picoseconds. To do so, however, the photon flux has to be greatly reduced. This will fundamentally change with BESSY VSR. “With the variable-pulse-length storage ring BESSY VSR, the high proton flux remains constant and our users can select the necessary pulse length at any time and for any experiment”, explains Prof. Dr. Andreas Jankowiak, head of the Institute for Accelerator Physics. BESSY VSR will offer short pulses of 1.5 picosecond length and longer pulses of 15 picoseconds. BESSY-VSR thus fills a gap between storage rings such as PETRA III and free electron lasers.

Many research fields will benefit from the freely selectable pulse lengths. The scientists could, for example, gain new insights into ultrafast changes in the electronic structure during chemical reactions, investigate quantum physical effects on a picosecond timescale, or observe fast switching processes in novel materials for future information technologies. Prof. Dr. Alexander Föhlisch, head of the HZB Institute for Methods and Instrumentation, developed together with users the scientific case for the BSSY VSR project.

Developing new accelerator components for realising BESSY VSR

Realising BESSY VSR will require, among other things, high-current superconducting cavities. These are key components in the operation of BESSY VSR. For developing these cavities and setting up the application laboratory “SupraLab@HZB”, the State of Berlin is providing HZB with a generous financial basis of 7.4 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). “We therefore have the opportunity to advance this technology substantially, until it is applicable in light sources. This will also benefit the realisation of BESSY VSR,” says Prof. Dr. Jens Knobloch, head of the HZB Institute “SRF – Science and Technology” (ISRF).

Wide approval of BESSY VSR in the scientific community

HZB is conducting intensive dialogue to ensure the needs of users are given central importance in the advanced development of BESSY II. The Committee Research with Synchrotron Radiation (KFS), which represents German synchrotron users, approved of the upgrade of BESSY VSR and stressed its relevance: “The BESSY VSR project will add very unique capabilities to the portfolio for synchrotron users in Germany, Europe and worldwide.” An independent body of experts, the Machine Advisory Committee, confirmed: “The BESSY-VSR approach is a perfect match for BESSY II and its user community.”

Clips about BESSY VSR


Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

Prof. Dr. Andreas Jankowiak
Institute Accelerator Physics
Department Operation Accelerator BESSY II
Tel.: (030) 8062-13508
Fax: (030) 8062-14632

Prof. Dr. Alexander Föhlisch
Institute Methods and Instrumentation for Synchrotron Radiation Research
Tel.: (030) 8062-14985
Fax: (030) 8062-14987

Prof. Dr. Jens Knobloch
Institute SRF - Science and Technology
Tel.: (030) 8062-14883

Press contact:
Silvia Zerbe
Tel.: (030) 8062-42607
Fax: (030) 8062-42998


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