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Swiss Light Source to be modernized

The Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institute will be modernized over the next few years. The facility, which makes use of synchrotron light, is being used to help research into the coronavirus, among other areas. The upgrade will enable even more comprehensive experiments to take place.

PSI Director Christian Rueegg at the Swiss Light Source SLS.
PSI Director Christian Rueegg at the Swiss Light Source SLS. Image Credit: Paul Scherrer Institut/Markus Fischer

The Swiss Light Source (SLS) housed at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is set to be modernised over the coming years. Financing for this upgrade has been secured from the Swiss Dispatch on Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) for 2021 to 2024, the PSI writes in a press release.

“We are very pleased about this funding commitment. This decision showed that the pandemic would not be able to damage the long-term vision for Switzerland as a research location”, comments Christian Rüegg, Director of the PSI, in the press release. He adds: “Even and especially in these times, we urgently need cutting-edge research”.

The SLS produces what it known as synchrotron light, which allows researchers to investigate the properties of a wide range of materials. The system also aids research into the coronavirus, playing a key role as scientists seek to shed light on the protein structures that make up the virus. Synchrotron light can additionally be used for examining lung tissue.

Modernizing the SLS is necessary so that the facility can continue to be used for research purposes in the future. “In the foreseeable future, many scientific questions will arise that we would not be able to answer with today's SLS, or that would require a very long time to solve”, explains Hans Braun, Project Leader for the modernization of the SLS.

Following the upgrade, the SLS will provide a significantly more intense X-ray beam. Researchers will therefore have a greater volume of data at their disposal in the same time frame. “Extensive experiments that have, up to now, fallen through because they would have lasted weeks or months will then become feasible. For experiments that previously would have required 24 hours of continuous measurement, we will only need a little more than half an hour after the renovation”, according to Braun.

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