The FERMI installation started in 2009 and is now deeply under commissioning and in user operations; new results follow one another continuosly.


Partial list of major Achievements

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May 2018 ♦ EUV pulses with Echo-Enable Harmonic Generation.

Echo-Enabled Harmonic Generation (EEHG) has been proposed as an efficient method for extending external seeding techniques in Free-Electron Lasers to the few nm wavelength range.  The capabilities of EEHG have been temporally implemented in FEL2 line and the EUV pulses have been generated for the first time with this scheme. First measurements, done at 14 nm, show amplification of the EEHG bunching in the FEL radiator, allowing generation of very narrow bandwidth FEL pulses with energies of several tens of uJ. Also signal up to the 84th harmonic of the seed 2 laser @264 nm has been detected!

June 2016 ♦ FEL-2 ready for Users.

During Run 27 started the experimental Program on FEL-2 and Users can from now on submit Proposal.

July 2015 ♦ Multicolor experiments with wide energy separation on FEL-1.

Multiple pulses can be generated by double pulse seeding in different ways, depending on the requirements on the output radiation.  Temporal separation between 250 and 700 fs is achievable in FEL-1. Two color lines are possible by splitting the radiators at different harmonics.

July 2014 ♦ Transient grating pump-probe setup successfully tested.

In the first days of July 2014, a team of scientists carried out a transient grating experiment on the DiProI beamline. In this successful experiment, the scientists split a FEL pulse in two and recombine it at the sample with a finite crossing angle. “This generates a dynamic XUV grating”, says team leader Filippo Bencivenga, “which we then probe by an optical pulse coming from the seed laser of the FEL in a pump-probe, four-wave-mixing scheme. The coherent, non-linear, interaction of the three pulses originated a detectable coherent beam propagating along the phase matching direction.” Such kind of non-linear XUV/soft x-ray wave-mixing experiments will be further developed at FERMI in a dedicated beamline (EIS-TIMER), also exploiting the unique capability of FERMI to radiate multi-colour seeded FEL pulses. A multi-colour transient grating approach would enable, for instance, to follow charge flows between constituent elements in molecules with femtosecond resolution, or to study energy transfer processes at the molecular scale.

June 2014 ♦ FEL-2 design intensity achieved @ 4nm.

During the FEL-2 commisiong time, the average energy per pulse of 10 micro-Joule was achieved during the operation at 4 nm. With so intense ligth, it was also possible to observe the 3rd harmonic at 1.3 nm.

May 2014 ♦ Bunch current @ 800 Amps.

The bunch charge has been increased in order to reach the desired peak current of 800 A alogn the final bunch of about 1 ps. The figure  shows the  measurement of the bunch profile performed by the RF trasnverse deflector.

January 2014 ♦ LINAC @ 1.55 GeV.

The Linac had been set at maximum energy gain and the electron beam reached a final energy of 1548 MeV.

June 2013 ♦ First time FEL 2 @ 4nm.

During the RUN 16 the FEL 2 reached the wavelength of 4 nm. The machine operated @1.45 GeV and with a 'flat' longitudinal phase space obtained with a ramped photo injector laser profile.


May 2013 ♦ New PC-Gun and 50Hz operationents.

During the shutdown the new PC-Gun was installed and its functioning enables the machine operation at 50 Hz.

February 2013 ♦ External IR laser available for pump-probe experiments.

15.02.2013 First FEL-external laser pump-probe signal has been obtained at the DIPROI beamline. The transient reflectivity change induced by the FEL light on GaAs and Si3N4 samples was measured by the use of a fraction of IR seed laser pulse propagated to the experimental hall. The measurement demonstrated excellent short- and long term stability of the signal, indicated an upper limit for the timing jitter of 25 fs RMS and provided a way to find the fine zero tuning of the delay for the following user pump-probe experiments.

December 2012 ♦ Double seeding for doubling the FEL.

The electron bunch has been seeded with two optical pulses, slightly different in time and wavelength: two FEL pulses were obtained, separated by 0.2 nm in wavelength and few hundred femtoseconds in time.


October 2012 ♦ First coherent photons from FEL-2 with fresh bunch injection technique.

On October 11, 2012 the beam line FERMI FEL-2 has generated its first coherent photons. This is the first experimental demonstration of a seeded free electron laser configured as a two stages cascade operating in the "fresh bunch injection” mode. In this configuration the photons in the second stage are generated from a fresh portion of the electron bunch, which has not been heated by the seed of the first stage.

The first commissioning experiments were done at a final wavelength of 14.4 nm in planar polarization. This wavelength is the result of an harmonic conversion to the 6th harmonic (43.33 nm) in the first stage and the 3rd harmonic in the second (i.e., 18th harmonic of the seed laser). The FEL pulse energy has been optimized to increase the flux to about 20-30uJ. The figure shows one of the single mode spectra obtained from FEL-2 at 14.4 nm.


FEL spectrum

May 2012 ♦ X-band cavity in operation.


X-band section picture

After the commissioning, the X-band section is routinely used to control the longitudinal e-beam phase space and to improve the magnetic compressor efficiency. The right figure shows a phase space measurement by means of the RF deflector in the linac end with the energy dispersion in horizontal and the temporal distribution in vertical.

May 2012 ♦ FEL-2 1st stage produced first flash.

Seeded coherent emission from FEL-2 first stage measured by means of a YAG screens located downstream in the FERMI@Elettra udulator hall. The image shows the FEL spot.

May 2012 ♦ Laser Heater starts doing his job.

The Laser Heater device increases the uncorrelated slice energy spread of the e-beam in controlled way. Figures show the longitudinal phase space of the heated/normal beam, vertically dispersed by the RF deflector, measured in the spectrometer.


April 2012 ♦ FEL-2 undulators installed.

The FEL-2 undulators installed. The new undulators (blue-yellow) are now in front of the FEL-1 devices (red).
During the next run (#11), the FEL-2 first stage will be testested.

March 2012 ♦ Single shot diffraction image of real holo-object taken at the DiProI beamline.

During the night between March 14 and March 15, 2012, a single shot diffraction image (left) of real holo-object (right) was taken at the DiProI beamline, with the FEL pulse of about 30 µJ @32 nm in planar polarization.

February 2012 ♦ The e-beam transport through the FEL-2 line.

The installation of the FEL-02 transport line was completed during the winter shutdown. In the following run (the 10th) the e-bunch reached the main dump without charge losses and the trajectory control was established. The side figure shows the beam size along the transport.

November 2011 ♦ Tuning the  FEL through an atomic resonance.

He fluorescence is detected over thousands of shots, normalized by FEL intensity, and plotted versus seed wavelength (5×FEL wavelength)

The result is the FEL linewidth, as probed by the much narrower He 1s-4p atomic line (top)
Compare to single-shot line detected by PADRES spectrometer (bottom)

July 2011 ♦ Observation of FEL harmonics.

Photoelectron spectra of He

The rings observed correspond to the following ionization processes:

They correspond to ionization by 2nd (2hν) and 3rd (3hν) harmonic of the FEL, and to ionization by 1 FEL photon (hν) + 1 seed photon (hν’)


July 2011 ♦ Observation of FEL spot.

After having solved the alignment issue of the photon transport pipes on July first we had for the first time
an image of the FEL pulse showing the FEL spot close to the TEM00 gaussian mode.
With the FEL optimized to emit on axis radiation at 43 nm also the FEL intensity significantly increasing,
allowing to saturate the dedicated photodiode.


April 2011 ♦ FEL light into the LDM end station.

First FERMI spectrum:
Ar photoelectron spectrum was acquired by the LDM detector
with the FEL @ wavelength =65 nm, horizontal polarization.

February 2011 ♦ First evidence of the FEL gain.

First measurements of the quadratic growth of the FEL radiation along the undulator chain.
With a slightly compressed 200pC electron beam the measured FEL power rapidly increases with the number of the undulators tuned at the FEL wavelength (65 nm). Still not exponential gain but important indication of coherent emission from multiple undulators.

December 2010 ♦ First FEL light.

Seeded coherent emission from FEL-1 measured by means of a fast photodiode located in the FERMI@Elettra experimental hall. The undulators were tuned at 43 nm. The green trace shows the time profile of a single pulse with the photodiode in saturation. The yellow trace shows a series o seeded FEL pulses being turned on (left) and off (center-right) by changing the superposition between SEED laser pulses and electron pulses.
During the night between December 13 and December 14, 2010, the new free-electron laser (FEL) source FERMI@Elettra seeded at 260 nanometers with an external laser has produced the first coherent emission from the FEL-1 undulator chain tuned at wavelengths of 65 nanometers (fourth harmonic of the seed laser) and 43 nanometers (sixth harmonic).
Sample results are shown in the figure for 43 nanometers. The plot shows in green the signal trace of a fast photodiode located on a beamline in the FERMI experimental hall observing the FEL output. Saturation of the photodiode signal affects the measured profile. The yellow trace shows a wider scan with seeded FEL pulses being turned on and off by varying the superposition of seed laser pulses and electron pulses.
This marks the first successful operation of FERMI@Elettra in its planned configuration, i.e., as a next-generation seeded free-electron laser source.

October 2010 ♦ Experimental Hall ready to receive the photon distribution systems and the end stations.

  Experimental Hall (left picture: inside view; right picture: external view) ready to receive the photon distribution systems and the end stations.

October 2010 ♦ Trajectory feedback running in the accelerator.

A trajectory feedback is running in the accelerator: it keeps the electron trajectory on desired path by means of the steerers and BPMs using the real time feature of the devices.


October 2010 ♦ FEL-1 undulators installed.

The 7 FEL-1 undulators installed and ready to be used!

September 2010 ♦ Beam loss position monitor for FEL-1 in operation.

The FEL-1 beamline gets equipped with two optical fibers that allow to measure the position and magnitude of beam losses. The system locates the position of the beam loss with a resolution of 50 cm. The machine protection system can disable the electron beam if the losses are too high.

September 2010 ♦ Operational Deflecting cavity opens access to the slice bunch properties.

Following the installation in December 2009 just beyond the first Bunch Compressor, the conditioning and commissioning of the Low Energy Deflecting Cavity have taken place in spring 2010.

This Device allows bunch length measurements, arrival time jitters estimation, slice emittance and reconstruction of longitudinal phase space.

(left figure: 3D model;
right picture: installed device)

This figure is a Screen Image of the electron beam after the spectrometer dipole and represents the longitudinal Phase Space of the e-beam with the energy dispersion in horizontal and the temporal distribution in vertical.

September 2010 ♦ electron beam reaches the nominal energy at the linac end.

During the 4th machine run the electron beam reaches the linac end passing
through the all 17 accelerating sections gaining the nominal energy equal to 1.2 GeV .
The figure shows the software panel that measure the electron beam energy by means of the dipole spectrometer.

August 2010 ♦ Machine protection system in operation.

The machine protection system (MPS) prevents the accelerator from damaging itself with its own beam. In this first stage, the MPS makes sure that the electron beam cannot hit the supports of diagnostic screens while they are being moved into the beam tube. The system also monitors the main dipole magnets to guarantee that the beam can safely reach a beam dump on one of the predefined paths (see picture).

July 2010 ♦ First Bunch Compressor in operation.

Magnetic bunch length compression has been performed
with BC1 device that allows a variable angle chicane.

June 2010 ♦ Undulator Hall ready to receive the photon production systems.

Undulator Hall ready to receive the spreader, the photon production system and the e-beam dump.

June 2010 ♦ elegant/SDDS toolkit integrated in the control system.

The elegant/SDDS toolkit software has been integrated into the Tango server that is the core of the control system of FERMI. This unlocks the opportunities to compute the e-beam beta functions and to manage the matching once the Twiss Parameters have been measured.


August 2009 ♦ First e-beam extraction from the Photoinjector.

During the last shift of 19 August, the copper cathode of the RF gun was fed at a level that has generated on the cathode surface an Electric Field of about 80 MV / m, the cathode was then illuminated by a UV pulsed laser at 260 nm which provides the cathode the same few dozen μJoules per pulse. The first photoelectron FERMI have been clearly shown to be both integrated current transformer (ICT) scintillation screen YAG: Ce. The image shows the captured electron beam on the screen.

May 2009 ♦ Linac building ready to receive the machine systems.

Picture is the inside view of the empty machine tunnel (180 m length).
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 10:52