MAX PLANCK – RADBOUD UNIVERSITY CENTER for Infrared Free Electron Laser Spectroscopy
Intense and brilliant IR light can be generated with machines known as Free-Electron-Lasers (FELs). A powerful beam of electrons is accelerated in vacuum to nearly the speed of light and injected into a magnetic-field structure called an undulator. The IR light that is generated is is employed in various experiments in physics and (bio)chemistry. The FELs FELIX, FELICE and FLARE in Nijmegen, as well as the FHI-FEL in Berlin are among the most popular IR-FELs in experiments conducted by researchers from all over the globe. The Max Planck Center aims to bundle and share expertise to push the limits in reliability and performance of IR FELs and their applications.
Pushing the limits in IR spectroscopy
Expanding the application portfolio of advanced IR light sources is an important goal of the Center, which will be achieved by the development of novel advanced measurement schemes. This will allow researchers to overcome current limitations in sensitivity and selectivity of conventional IR spectroscopy, placing it on par with the most advanced techniques available today. For example, researchers at both institutions are now able to perform IR measurements on minute amounts of biological sample, such as proteins to characterize misfolding, relevant for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or metabolites embedded in complex biological matrices for their precise molecular structure identification so that they can serve as biomarkers for metabolic diseases.
Training young researchers with the tools of tomorrow
Excellent research infrastructure is nothing without excellent and well-trained young researchers. The Center will support junior researchers in joint projects, it will organize international and topical conferences as well as workshops and schools and provide optimal training on sophisticated and advanced machinery.
This intense exchange under the umbrella of the Max Planck-Radboud University Center will form an incubator for novel ideas, projects and insights, accelerating the synergies between both partners; the Center will define the state of the art in Infrared Free Electron Laser Spectroscopy for the decade to come.