Collaborative agreement signed with XFEL

La Trobe University has signed a collaborative agreement with the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (XFEL) in Germany.

The six-year program will focus on joint research projects and co-supervision of PhD students.

Research topics will cover understanding the fundamental physics underpinning ultrafast X-ray-matter interactions, to probing the real-time dynamics of biological systems at the atomic scale.

European XFEL Managing Director Professor Robert Feidenhans’l said: “Scientists from La Trobe have been important collaborators even before operation started at European XFEL in 2017.

“With this agreement we hope to develop an even closer collaboration and together establish a world leading training program for our graduate students.”

The six-year program will initially support two PhD candidates per year for the first three years.

Participants, based at La Trobe, will spend at least 12 months at European XFEL for research, as well as visiting the facility for experiments. Each candidate will have a main supervisor based at La Trobe, and a co-supervisor based at European XFEL.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at La Trobe University, Professor Chris Pakes, who signed the agreement on behalf of La Trobe University, said: “La Trobe has an established and strong research focus in the area of X-ray Free-Electron Laser science.

“By strengthening our ties with European XFEL we want to contribute to the rapid development of XFEL science and research, and also ensure that the next generation of Australian XFEL scientists get the best possible training at European XFEL.”

Potential research topics will be closely aligned to the science being carried out at La Trobe University and European XFEL. Topics include imaging of macromolecules using serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) and solution scattering; the development of novel X-ray optics for ultrafast coherent diffraction experiments and understanding X-ray-matter interactions on a femtosecond timescale.

PHOTO: (left to right) European XFEL managing director Robert Feidenhans'l and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at La Trobe University, Professor Chris Pakes

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – - 9479 2315 / 0437 279 903