The Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI

The Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI (, is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. PSI develops, builds and operates complex large research facilities. Every year, more than 2500 scientists from Switzerland and around the world come to PSI to use our unique facilities to carry out experiments that are not possible anywhere else.

We perform world-class research in three main subject areas: Matter and Material; Energy and the Environment; and Human Health. By conducting fundamental and applied research, we work on long-term solutions for major challenges facing society, industry and science. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of our staff are apprentices, post-graduates or post-docs. For pupils it offers the school laboratory iLab.

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Guiding Principles

  1. PSI runs internationally competitive, large research facilities for a broad national and international user community.
  2. PSI conducts and promotes internationally recognised cutting-edge research for a sustainable energy supply.
  3. PSI acts as a role model for efficient energy use.
  4. PSI conveys up-to-date knowledge on energy-related issues to its apprentices, post-graduates, post-docs and staff.
  5. The Energy Concept is in keeping with the strategic development of PSI. Its currentness and implementation is reviewed periodically and, if need be, amended by the PSI Directorate.

Main Areas of Research

Matter and Materials

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.

Energy and Environment

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.

Der SwissFEL in 100 Sekunden | The SwissFEL in 100 seconds

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Research Facilities

PSI operates and provides access to its five large-scale research facilities: the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ), the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source (SLS), the Swiss Muon Source (SμS), the X-ray Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL) and a meson factory for particle physics. Every year, PSI registers 4500-5000 visits of scientists from around the world, performing their experiments at about 50 experiment stations.

PSI employs approximately 2100 people, with an annual budget of about 380 MCHF, and is primarily funded by the Swiss Confederation. Together with the ETH Zurich and the EPF Lausanne PSI is part of the Swiss Federal ETH Domain. 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.