Technology Portal

Your access to research infrastructure and know-how
View all instruments of this unit

ELBE - Electron Linac for beams with high Brilliance and low Emittance

Basic Information

Name: ELBE - Electron Linac for beams with high Brilliance and low Emittance
Facility: ELBE – Center for High-Power Radiation Sources (ELBE)
Partner: Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)

Short Description

The radiation source ELBE delivers multiple secondary beams, both electromagnetic radiation and particles.


ELBE is a world-wide unique instrument providing a compact, accelerator-driven photon and particle source. The variety of secondary radiation being offered extends from high-energy gamma rays, to infrared and THz radiation, to neutron, positron and electron beams.


Technical Details

The radiation source ELBE is based on a superconducting linear accelerator that can be operated in high average power mode (quasi continous wave mode, cw). Electrons are preaccelerated in a  250 keV thermionic DC electron gun and prebunched in a two stage RF-buncher section. Main acceleration is accomplished in two 20 MeV superconducting linear accelerator modules operating at 1.3 GHz which are cooled with liquid helium. The RF power is generated by transistor amplifiers,  controled by the low level RF system.

With an electromagnetic chicane between the modules the micropulse duration and energy spread of the beam can be optimized. The accelerator is mainly controled by the control system and the electron beam parameters can be measured by multiple diagnostic tools.


Design Parameters of the ELBE Linac



Electron beam energy / MeV

5 - 40

Max. bunch charge /pC

< 100 *

Max. average beam current /mA


Normalized transverse emittance /mm mrad(rms)

< 20

Normalized longitudinal emittance /keV ps(rms)

< 100

Micropulse duration /ps

1 ... 5 **

Micropulse repetition rate /MHz

<= 26 or Singelpulse

Macropulse duration /ms

0.1 - 40 or cw

Macropulse repetition rate /Hz

1 - 25

*   Superconducting Photoelektron Source - actual bunch charge: < 200 pC

**  Micropulse duration THz: >~ 150 fs


Radiation Sources

Various kinds of secondary radiation can be generated by the primary electron beam from ELBE.

  • Free-Electron Laser (FELBE)
    In the optical laboratories coherent electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength between 4-250 µm is available from two Free-Electron-Lasers, see FELBE pages for further information.
    In addition, the FEL beam can be directed to the neighbouring High Magnetic Field Laboratory, offering the unique possibility to carry out magneto-optic experiments in pulsed high magnetic fields.
  • Bremsstrahlung (γELBE)
    Bremsstrahlung (up to 20 MeV) is available in the nuclear physics cave. Polarized radiation can also be provided.The time structure of the Bremsstrahlung radiation is defined by the electron beam which has to be operated in the micropulse mode. The interval between the pulses can vary between  77 ns and 1000 ns. 
  • Electrons
    The direct electron beam from ELBE can be used for detector tests and for irradition.
    Detector tests with an extremly high time resolution are enabled by electron bunches containing only one electron thereby maintaining the time structure of the beam on the ps time-scale.
    For radiobiological experiments the electrons can be extracted on air. A cell-laboratory located close to the radiation physics cave can also be made available to external users.
  • Neutrons (nELBE)
    nELBE is a neutron time-of-flight system with neutron energies between 100 keV and 10 MeV.
  • Positrons (pELBE)
    Materials research with positrons can be performed at EPOS, which consists of three subsystems for mono-energetic positron spectroscopy (MePS), gamma-induced positron spectroscopy (GiPS) and conventional positron spectroscopy using β+ radiation.
  • Superradiant THz source (TELBE)
    This new facility provides low-frequency, high-field THz pulses, in combination with a variety of table-top light sources based on femtosecond lasers. It covers the lower THz range between 0.1 and 3 THz with pulse energies up to 100 µJ. Pulses from TELBE are carrier-envelope-phase stable and can be provided at flexible repetition rates between a few tens of Hz to eventually 13 MHz. The frequency bandwidth can be either 100%, utilizing the diffraction radiator source, or ~20%, utilizing an 8-period undulator.

Link to Further Details


Options of instrument usage

Points of Contact

Dr. Barbara Schramm
+49 (0) 351 260-2684
+49 (0) 351 260-12684

Access Requirements

Two calls for proposals for experiments at ELBE are published per year.

Proposals are submitted through the user portal GATE

We strongly recommend discussing the feasibility of planned experiments with the responsible beamline scientist prior to the submission of a proposal, in particular, if you are a new user.

Access is free of charge for all non-proprietary research. User groups from outside Germany requesting access to beamlines involved in "Integrating activities" funded from the EU framework programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 may apply for a reimbursement of travel costs.


Last Update

Last updated at: 15 February 2019 at 15:27:35