DESY – Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

Investigating the structure and function of matter

DESY aerial view with accelerators

Founded in 1959, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) is an internationally renowned centre of fundamental research and one of the world’s leading institutions investigating the structure and function of matter. DESY is a member of the Helmholtz Association and is supported by public funds. 

Organisational details

DESY has one site in Hamburg and another in Zeuthen (near Berlin) and employs a total of approx. 2,700 staff (including about 1,100 scientists).  The centre’s principal working areas are accelerators, photon science and particle physics.

More than 3,000 scientists from over 40 countries visit DESY each year. Approximately 500 PhD students and postdocs as well as a number of master students work at DESY, which also trains more than 130 young people in commercial and technical occupations.

Facts and figures

2 sites (Hamburg and Zeuthen)

Approx. 2,700 staff, including 1,100 researchers
More than 3,000 visiting researchers each year from over 40 countries
Approx. 500 doctoral candidates and postdocs

Annual budget: 349 million euros (2020)

Research activities

DESY develops, runs and uses accelerators and detectors for photon science and particle and astroparticle physics. It operates PETRA III, the world’s best synchrotron radiation facility, and FLASH, the first free-electron laser for soft X-rays. In 2017, the European XFEL started user operation and set a new world record by generating the most intensive X-ray flashes in history.


Budget of DESY
Source: DESY

DESY has an annual budget of approx. 349 million euros (2020). As a research centre of the Helmholtz Association, it is chiefly funded by the Federal Government (90%). 10% of the budget is provided by the City of Hamburg and the State of Brandenburg (for Zeuthen).

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Location Hamburg


Notkestraße 85
22607 Hamburg
+49 40 8998-0

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Location Zeuthen


Platanenallee 6
15738 Zeuthen
+49 33762 7-70

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