Photo: Paul Scherrer Institute


Paul Scherrer Institute

The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research centre for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland, conducting cutting-edge research in three main fields: matter and materials, energy and environment and human health. PSI develops, builds and operates complex large research facilities. Scientists from Switzerland and around the world come to PSI to use its unique facilities to carry out experiments that are not possible anywhere else. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of its staff are apprentices, post-graduates or post-docs.

The PSI is primarily financed by the Swiss Confederation. It is part of the ETH Domain, with the other members being the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, as well as Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science & Technology) and WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). The Paul Scherrer Institute is located in the Canton of Aargau, in the municipal areas of Villigen and Würenlingen on both sides of the River Aare.


Main areas of research

Researchers in the area of Matter and Materials study the internal structure of a wide range of different materials. Results contribute towards a better understanding of processes occurring in nature and provide starting points in the development of new materials for technical applications.

The goal of activities in the Energy and Environment area is to develop new technologies to facilitate the creation of a sustainable and secure supply of energy, as well as an uncontaminated environment.

In the Health area, researchers are searching for the causes of illnesses, and exploring potential treatment methods. Their basic research activities also include the clarification of generic processes in living organisms.


Large research facilities

PSI operates large scientific research facilities, such as the Swiss Neutron spallation Source SINQ, the Swiss Light Source (SLS) and the muon source SμS, which offer out-of-the-ordinary insights into the processes taking place in the interior of different substances and materials. These are the only such facilities within Switzerland, and some are the only ones in the world. The next large research facility at PSI will be the free-electron X-ray laser SwissFEL.

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