X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs), the latest generation of synchrotron-radiation sources, are as sought-after as they’re scarce. The X-rays emitted by the electrons inside these linear accelerators are of precious help for research and medicine, but their high cost and complexity have meant that only a few such facilities are currently in operation worldwide.
CompactLight, an EU-funded project involving international laboratories and companies, is changing that story: the team has just released a conceptual design report presenting a new, compact and cost-effective X-ray facility that could democratise the use of these instruments in laboratories and hospitals across the world. Among other things, the concept relies on high-gradient X-band radio-frequency structures developed in the framework of the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) at CERN – yet more evidence of the relevance of research and development work on linear accelerators for society.
Read more in the CERN Courier.