Within the Swiss research and education landscape, PSI (Paul Scherrer Institut), plays a special role as a user lab, developing and operating large, complex research facilities. The two large-scale PSI facilities, the Swiss Light Source (SLS) for photon science and the Neutron Spallation Source (SINQ), are responsible for more than 3,000 user visits per year, about half of them international. During the 20 year history of PSI, nearly 20,000 external researchers have performed experiments in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences, energy technology, environmental science and medical technology. The Swiss Light Source (SLS) is a third-generation synchrotron light source. With an energy of 2.4 GeV, it provides photon beams of high brightness for research in materials science, biology and chemistry with 16 beamlines in user operation (2009) and 18 as final number. The Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ) is a continuous source - the first of its kind in the world - with a flux of about 1014 n/cm2/s. Besides thermal and cold neutrons for materials research and the investigation of biological substances. The PSI X-ray Free Electron Laser (SwissFEL) is a new development in laser and accelerator-technology. Innovative concepts in accelerator design will limit the overall length of the facility to 800 m. With three branches, it will cover the wavelength range from 10 nm (124 eV) to 0.1 nm (12.4 keV). The SwissFEL should go into operation in 2015. Since decades, PSI researchers are engaged in collaborations for experiments at the PSI facilities, at CERN, ESRF and other large facilities. Initially started as a spin-off of the participation in the CMS detector at LHC, the PSI detector group has developed large-area 1D and 2D photon detectors (Mythen and Pilatus).
The current data acquisition and data storage environment is heterogeneous: various machine and beamline operational parameters are provided by the facilities but there is no standard for recording metadata. SINQ uses the in house program SICS for data acquisition. Most SINQ instruments already store their raw data in the NeXus format. All SINQ data files ever measured are held on an AFS file system and are visible to everyone. Data acquisition at SLS is based on the EPICS system. Data measured at SLS is stored on central storage for two months only. Users are supposed to take their data home on portable storage devices. There is only very limited support for data analysis at SLS.