The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is a multi-disciplinary research centre for natural sciences and technology. In national and international collaboration with universities, other research institutes and industry, PSI is active in solid state physics, material science, particles physics, life sciences, nuclear and non-nuclear energy research, and energy related ecology.
The institute’s priorities comprise various areas of both basic and applied research, particular in fields which are relevant for sustainable development as well as for teaching and training, which are beyond the scope of a single university department. PSI develops and operates complex research installations, which call for especially high standards of know-how and experience, and is one of the world's leading user facilities for the national and international scientific community.
PSI operates a 590 MeV CW proton cyclotron with a beam current > 2 mA and the spallation neutron source SINQ receiving this beam. In 2006, the prototype liquid metal spallation target MEGAPIE using liquid lead-bismuth eutectic as target material replaced the standard solid lead SINQ-target, being the first MW-class liquid metal spallation target that was operated for a substantial period of time. Through the development, licensing, operation and dismantling of this target, PSI acquired world-wide unique knowledge in various areas related to the application of liquid metals in nuclear technology.

Key persons involved in the project:

Jörg Neuhausen acquired his PhD from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany in 1995 in inorganic solid state chemistry. Afterwards, he held a permanent position as research scientist at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry of the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, working on high temperature synthesis, x-ray structure analysis, surface characterisation and electronic structure calculations. In 2002 he joined the Laboratory for Radio- and Environmental chemistry of the Paul Scherrer Institute, were he worked in the groups `Targetchemistry’ and `RadWaste Analytics’ on the behaviour of radionuclides in irradiated liquid metals. His interests and expertise comprise theoretical modelling of the thermochemical properties of intermetallic interactions and experimental studies of the release of volatile species from molten metals. As part of the project MEGAPIE he contributed to the successful licensing of this first-of-a-kind liquid metal spallation target. He is also member of the OECD expert group on Heavy liquid metal technology.

Robert Eichler obtained his PhD in 2000 from University of Bern, studying the chemical properties of Bohrium (Element 107). After a Post-Doc at GSI in Darmstadt, Germany, he joined the Laboratory for Radio- and Environmental Chemistry at Paul Scherrer Institute as a group leader of the `Heavy Elements’ group in 2001. His research interests are the chemical characterization of Super heavy elements including thermochemical prediction methods and the use of fast gas phase chromatographic separation techniques such as thermochromatography, isothermal gas chromatography and vacuum chromatography for the determination of thermochemical data. He has received several awards, including the Doctoral thesis Award of the Faculty of Philosophy and Natural Sciences of the University of Bern (2001), the PhD thesis award from the Nuclear Chemistry Division of the German Chemical Society (2001), a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) Fellowship for advanced researchers (2004) and the GSI Exotic Nuclei Community (GENCO) Membership Award for young scientists (2006).