DESY – Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

Aerial photography of the research institute German Electron Synchrotron in Hamburg

Investigating the structure and function of matter

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 1,200 scientists). The centre’s principal working areas are accelerators, science, particle and astroparticle physics.

Facts and figures

2 sites (Hamburg and Zeuthen)

Approx. 2,700 staff, including 1,200 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, one of the world’s best synchrotron radiation facilities, 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.

Pie chart that shows that the German Electron Synchtronon is funded 90 % by the Federal State and 10 % by the Länder


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

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Location Zeuthen

  • Platanenallee 6
  • 15738 Zeuthen