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Light from compact linacs

Advanced linear-accelerator (linac) technology developed in various European Labs will be used to provide a new generation of compact machines, to be used in X-ray free-electron lasers and in other applications, such as in medical linacs. To this purpose, a new, €3 million project has been recently funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. Beginning in January 2018, “CompactLight” aims to design the first hard XFEL based on 12 GHz X-band technology, which originated from research for a high-energy linear collider.

A consortium of 21 leading European institutions, including Elettra (coordinating institution), CERN, PSI, KIT and INFN-LNF, in addition to seven universities and two industry partners (Kyma and VDL), are gathering to achieve this ambitious goal within the three-year duration of the recently awarded grant.

X-band technology, which provides accelerating-gradients of 100 MV/m and above in a highly compact device, is now a reality. This is the result of many years of intense R&D carried out at SLAC (US) and KEK (Japan), for the former NLC and JLC projects, and at CERN in the context of the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC). The INFN-LNF group plays a very active role in the “CompactLight” project: the X-band technology represents one of the key element of the recent Conceptual Design Report prepared in view of the EuPRAXIA@SPARC_LAB FEL facility, to be built at LNF.