Free-Electron Laser Science: Peter Paul Ewald Fellowships at LCLS in Stanford (Completed)

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) in Stanford (Photo: SLAC).

The Ewald Fellowships provide support for postdocs conducting cutting-edge research with free-electron lasers.


Free-electron lasers for hard X-rays are creating completely new research opportunities in the natural sciences. By means of ultra short and intensive X-ray flashes, scientists hope to unravel the atomic structure of bio-molecules as well as cells and viruses, and they will also be able to film chemical reactions and matter under extreme conditions – to mention just a few of the possible applications.

The first laser capable of doing these things was the LCLS (Linac Coherent Light Source) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory of Stanford University, USA. Since then the European XFEL (X-Ray Free-Electron Laser) at Hamburg/Schenefeld – opening in 2017 – and other facilities were built.

Scope of Funding

Peter-Paul-Ewald Fellowship (terminated)

The aim of the funding initiative entitled “Research with Free-Electron Lasers: Peter-Paul-Ewald Fellowships at the LCLS in Stanford” – named after Peter Paul Ewald (1888-1985), a pioneer of x-ray techniques – is to provide support for young researchers working in the area of free-electron lasers.

Funding is granted for a period of three years – part of which in Stanford, and part at a hosting institution in Germany. The idea is to provide grantees with the opportunity to carry out experiments with today’s most powerful x-ray laser at LCLS in Stanford. In order to allow participants to transfer their newly acquired know-how to the European XFEL, their research stays at the LCLS are followed by a period of funding at a German research institution.

Symposia and Summer Schools (terminated)

In addition to the Fellowships, the Volkswagen Foundation is able to support Symposia and Summer Schools dealing with the topic of free-electron lasers in accordance with the usual conditions for symposia programs.
Details of conditions can be found under Information for Applicants (pdf).

Status Symposia

For the presentation of results and for networking among the fellows several status symposia were organized: in October 2017 at DESY/European XFEL in Hamburg, in April 2016 at SLAC in Stanford, and in November 2014 at Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover.


The funding initiative entitled “Research with Free-Electron Lasers: Peter-Paul-Ewald Fellowships at the LCLS in Stanford” was started in 2010. The closing call was in 2015.