FERMI is the first user facility based upon an externally seeded free-electron laser (FEL) that delivers a coherent and tunable UV radiation (down to 4 nm at the fundamental) in a number of different configurations. A microbunching instability (MBI) developing in the bunch compressors and in the rest of the linac can degrade the quality of the high brightness electron beam sufficiently to reduce the FEL output intensity and spectral brightness. A laser heater installed in the low energy (100 MeV) part of the FERMI accelerator increases the local energy spread to provide Landau damping against this instability. In this paper we summarize the main results obtained with the FERMI laser heater since it commissioning in 2012. We present the measurement of the reduction of the incoherent energy spread at the linac exit induced by the heating of the electron beam at the beginning of the linac. We also discuss the positive effects of such heating upon the emission of coherent optical transition radiation and the FEL performances both in terms of intensity and spectrum. Moreover, we report about results that have been used to experimentally demonstrate that for transversely uniform heating the local energy spread augmentation is characterized by a non-Gaussian distribution that can be preserved up to the FEL undulator entrance with a significant impact on the performance of high-gain harmonic generation (HGHG) FELs, especially at soft x-ray wavelengths.
FERMI, based at Elettra (Trieste, Italy) is the first free electron laser (FEL) facility operated for user experiments in
seeded mode. Another unique property of FERMI, among other FEL sources, is to allow control of the polarization state
of the radiation. Polarization dependence in the study of the interaction of coherent, high field, short-pulse ionizing
radiation with matter, is a new frontier with potential in a wide range of research areas. The first measurement of the
polarization-state of VUV light from a single-pass FEL was performed at FERMI FEL-1 operated in the 52 nm-26 nm
range. Three different experimental techniques were used. The experiments were carried out at the end-station of two
different beamlines to assess the impact of transport optics and provide polarization data for the end user. In this paper
we summarize the results obtained from different setups. The results are consistent with each other and allow a general
discussion about the viability of permanent diagnostics aimed at monitoring the polarization of FEL pulses.
FERMI@Elettra is the first seeded VUV/soft X-ray FEL source. It is composed of two undulatory chains: the low energy branch (FELl) covering the wavelength range from 20 nm up to 100 nm, and the high energy branch (FEL2, employing a double stage cascade), covering the wavelength range from 4 nm up to 20 nm. At the end of 2012 FELl has been opened to external users while FEL2 has been turned on for the first time having demonstrated that a double cascade scheme is suitable for generating high intensity coherent FEL radiation. In this paper we will share our experience and will show our most recent results for both FERMI FELl and FEL2 sources. We will also present a brand new machine scheme that allows to perform two-colour pump and probe experiments as well as the first experimental results.
After less than two years of commissioning the FERMI@Elettra free electron laser is now entering into the operation
phase and is providing light to the first user experiments. To reach the final ambitious goals of providing high power
coherent pulses with fundamental wavelengths down to 4 nm, the system will need further studies and additional
commissioning time in 2011 when fine tuning of the major systems such as the electron gun and the main accelerator
will take place. Nevertheless, FERMI is already able to provide light with unique characteristics allowing Users to
perform experiments not possible with other facilities. Based on a 1.5 GeV electron linear accelerator, FERMI@Elettra
has two seeded FEL lines that cover the whole spectral range from 100 nm down to 4 nm with fully coherent pulses. The
use of the high gain harmonic generation scheme initiated by a tunable laser in the UV allows FERMI to produce light
characterized by both transverse and full temporal coherence. The use of specially designed undulators allows full
control of the FEL polarization and can be continuously varied from linear to circular in any orientation or ellipticity.
Here we will report about the first results and the future plans for FERMI@Elettra.