Success stories

Successful collaborations around the EU-XFEL Research Infrastructure: the point of view of the Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg, Germany

The superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) technology used for the acceleration of electrons up to 17.5 GeV beam energy is driving the performance of the European XFEL to unprecedented operation parameters. Highest photon beam brilliance at very short wavelength is reached.



The construction of the European XFEL was only possible in collaboration of institutes at different sites across nine countries. Many of them are now partners within AMICI

Flowchart showing In-Kind Contributors to the European XFEL Cold Linac
In-Kind Contributors to the European XFEL Cold Linac

The world’s longest superconducting linear accelerator consists of more than 100 accelerator modules, each housing eight s.c. structures, also known as TESLA cavities. Development of the technology was done by the so-called TESLA Technology Collaboration. The Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron DESY in Hamburg, Germany, offered both intellectual contributions but also large infrastructure. As a consequence of the demanding and challenging needs of SRF technology, DESY owns and will continue to operate state-of-the-art clean rooms for accelerator module assembly, sophisticated surface treatment facilities for the preparation of TESLA cavities, and several setups for single cavity but also accelerator module testing.



Thanks to the European XFEL project a number of sophisticated and valuable new Technical Platforms exist. Such platforms can be offered to research partners and/or companies providing accelerator components to research facilities worldwide.

In recent years DESY’s cooperation with industrial vendors in the field of SRF technology was further emphasized. The cavity producers Research Instruments and Ettore Zanon, both producing superconducting cavities for different research projects worldwide, are time and again customers in the existing Technical Platforms. The European XFEL project helped to qualify both companies in the complete procedures related to production and surface treatment for large series productions.



Companies involved in the European XFEL acquired new skills which enabled them to develop new business opportunities.

Cooperation started at a time when the companies were already prequalified through the very successful mechanical production of a large number of cavities, but knowledge transfer was still needed. This transfer included training of personnel which was partly done at DESY. Since then both companies are perfectly aware of the capabilities offered by the operated Technical Platforms. In consequence requests were made to share the use of DESY infrastructure. This holds especially for R&D projects, small series production, and testing of cavities which require tuning workshops, preparation rooms, cryogenic temperatures and dedicated radiofrequency sources, but also shielded test areas. Larger projects are the quality inspection of niobium sheets needed for cavity production, or the planned testing of series cavities.


DESY R&D and service contracts in recent years include
  • The scanning of almost 9,500 niobium sheets for the LCLS-II project; the work was partly done for FERMI National Laboratory, U.S.A., supplying niobium to Research Instruments as well as Ettore Zanon, and partly for Research Instruments. Jefferson Laboratory, U.S.A., contracted both vendors for the production of LCLS-II cavities.
  • Niobium sheet scanning will also be done for the production of all medium and high beta elliptical cavities needed for the European Spallation Source. The ESS in-kind partners INFN Milano and STFC Daresbury will send the quality checked sheets to their cavity vendors.
  • Support is given to other research infrastructures (mainly within Germany, i.e. HZB Berlin, FZ Dresden/Rossendorf, TU Darmstadt, MESA at Mainz, …). On a case to case basis this support included either/and/or cavity treatment, assembly and test. In some cases the work was done for the research institute, in another for one of the industrial vendors.
  • Part of the LCLS-II cavity contracts included the procurement of RF and cold tested structures. DESY infrastructure was used during a shutdown period of the Jefferson Laboratory cryogenics facility. The above mentioned ESS cavities (medium beta), an INFN in-kind contribution to ESS, will also be tested at DESY. The used Technical Platform is connected with the AMICI program.


Successful collaborations between industry and Research Institutes: the point of view of companies

During the AMICI Partner and Industry days for Scientific Technology Infrastructure organized in Padova (Italy), two industry representatives presented success stories of cooperation with Research Institutes:

  • M. Gehring from Babcock Noell GmbH (BNG)

    BNG is a medium size company located in Würzburg (Germany), with worldwide activity in the field of nuclear services, nuclear technology, magnet technology and environmental technology.

    BNG has been successfully involved in large-scale projects together with Research Infrastructures and other companies through, for example, the manufacturing of non planar coils for the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment, the production of dipole magnets for the LHC accelerator ring and the fabrication of superconducting SIS100 dipole magnets for the research facility FAIR.

  • G. Corniani from Ettore Zanon S.p.A (EZ)

    EZ is a medium size company located in Schio (Italy) which, among other activities, supplies equipment to major Nuclear Physics Research Institutes in Europe.

    EZ has taken part in the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (EXFEL) project via, in particular, the manufacturing of 420 superconducting cavities and 45 cryostats working at 1.3GHz, in close cooperation with DESY and INFN.