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14 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 133.
Title Free electron lasers for infrared experiments (FELIX)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Dr. B. Redlich
Duration 2013 - 2022
Cost estimate M€ 9.1

The objectives are:

  • to establish and operate a world-leading user facility, called FELIX facility that offers the international community access to very bright, infrared radiation sources, tunable over the spectral range from 3 mm - 1500 mm;
  • to run within FELIX a molecular physics programme focused on elucidating the structure and dynamics of (complex) molecules, ions and clusters in the gas phase, with applications to life sciences, catalysis and astrophysics;
  • to create a scientific basis for associated, advanced research groups active in various fields of research, such as solid state physics, soft condensed matter physics and physics in high magnetic fields.

Background, relevance and implementation
The mid-infrared region, also known as the molecular 'fingerprint' region, allows for identifi­cation of molecules and molecular structures by the position of the bands in their vibrational spectra. Towards longer wavelengths, the radiation probes structures of solids and low frequency collective modes in soft condensed matter including proteins, DNA etc. At even longer wavelengths, THz radiation is the probe for elementary electron spin and other electron transitions in solids in high magnetic fields. Near 1 THz, it becomes feasible to study transport properties on contactless solids and devices. In spite of the recent advancement in Ti-Sapphire based table-top sources, FELs still remain the only sources that can provide tunable, high-brightness radiation over the full IR spectral range.

In FELIX, this frequency spectrum will be covered by the combination of instruments FLARE, FELIX-I, FELIX-II and FELICE. The instruments FELIX and FELICE have been designed and built at the FOM Institute Rijnhuizen (since 1 January 2012 FOM Institute DIFFER). FELICE distinguishes itself from FELIX as it permits gas-phase experiments to benefit from the much higher intensities present within the cavity of the laser in the optical tuning range from 2000 – 100 cm-1. FLARE, is financed by a grant from the NWO-BIG programme, and showed first lasing on 26 September 2011. FLARE covers the 100 cm‑1 – 6 cm-1 part of the spectrum. An important special feature of FLARE is that it can not only be operated in the conventional, picosecond pulse mode, but that it will also produce quasi-continuous pulses of very narrow bandwidth. This mode of operation is directly motivated by scientific requirements related to experiments performed at high magnetic fields as available in the High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML).


Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2014 within this FOM programme here.