The Amsterdam Piezo Valve produces short (<20 microsec) and intense pulsed atomic and molecular beams. It can operate both in continuous and in pulsed mode (DC - 5 kHz). The short pulse duration makes the valve very suited for applications in combination with pulsed lasers. Because of the short pulse duration the Amsterdam Piezo Valve consumes typically a factor of ten less sample relative to a conventional pulsed plunger valve, saving a lot of sample that is otherwise wasted. The low gas load makes the design of the vacuum apparatus much simpler, requiring smaller pumps and saving financial resources.

The Amsterdam Piezo Valve is made available for academic groups, research facilities and businesses by MassSpecpecD BV, the Netherlands. The typical delivery time is less than 10 weeks after receiving a purchase order.

The innovative Amsterdam Piezo Valve has been purchased by many (> 100) research groups and institutes worldwide, amongst them:

  • Max Born Institute, Berlin, Germany

  • SUSTech, Shenzhen, China

  • RIKEN, Japan

  • Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, USA

  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea

  • SwissFEL and the Paul Scherrer Institute, Villingen, Switzerland

  • Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, United Kingdom

  • IISER, Bhopal, India

  • CNRS Bordeaux, France

  • Eli-Alps, Szeged, Hungary

  • ISMO, Saclay, France

  • University College London, UK

Info flyer: an information flyer can be down-loaded here (pdf link).

Info doc: a presentation with user applications is here (pdf link).

  • Beijing University, China

  • DESY, CFEL and XFEL, Hamburg, Germany

  • University of Tokyo, Japan

  • East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

  • University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

  • ETH, Zurich, Switzerland

  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

  • Argonne National Laboratories, USA

  • University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  • CNRS, Paris, France

  • IBM T.J. Watson Research Laboratories, USA

  • Lund University, Sweden

List of scientific publications: an up-to-date list of publications referring to the Amsterdam Piezo Valve can be found at this Google Scholar link.

Click on the image for a tour of the famous letters through Amsterdam.


Aug 2020: A selection of academic publications in 2020 applying the APV system

(Image by Eikema and coworkers, LaserLaB VU Amsterdam)

Europe: Ramsey-comb precision spectroscopy at vacuum ultraviolet wavelengths

Extending frequency-comb-based spectroscopy techniques to the vacuum and extreme ultraviolet spectral range enables frequency measurements of transitions in, e.g., heavier hydrogen-like systems and opens up new possibilities for tests of quantum electrodynamics and measurements of fundamental constants.

Eikema and coworkers, LaserLaB VU Amsterdam, Phys. Rev. A 101, 052509 (2020)

USA: Production of soft x-ray radiation up to 600 eV in pulsed gas jet

A new laser system was developed to generate coherent soft x-ray radiation up to 0.6 keV covering the entire water window, which is of high importance for bio-relevant applications. The obtained results open a wide range of applications in nonlinear optics, attosecond and strong-field physics, and remote sensing.

DiMauro, Agostini and coworkers, Ohio State University, Optica 7, 981 (2020)

China: Sub-optical-cycle electron dynamics in molecules

The sub-cycle bound- and free-electron dynamics and the Coulomb effect during the strong field ionization of molecules are studied by using a combination of phase-controlled two-color femtosecond laser fields and photoelectron imaging. The present method provides new ways to measure the electronic dynamics of molecules in strong field ionization.

Luo, Ding and coworkers, Jilin University, J. of Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 53, 08402 (2020)

Europe: Spatial separation of monomers from clusters

The spatial separation of monomers from its clusters in a molecular beam by an electrostatic deflector was demonstrated. The produced intense, cold, and pure 2-propanol monomer beam is well-suited for further investigations, such as diffractive imaging, chemical reaction and combustion studies.

Kuepper and coworkers, DESY and CFEL Hamburg, J. of Mol. Struct 1208, 127863 (2020)

USA: Laser desorption mass spectrometry of carbonaceous dust grains

Astronomical observations have found interstellar carbon in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as well as carbonaceous dust, confirming its presence in both gaseous and solid phases. The goal of this study is to experimentally investigate low-temperature chemical pathways between these two phases in order to better understand the evolution of cosmic carbon.

Gavilan Marin, de Vries and coworkers, NASA and UC Santa Barbera, Astrophysical Journal 889, 101 (2020)

China: Dissociation dynamics of molecular ions

The dissociation dynamics of CO2+ has been studied in the 8-9 eV region by [1+1] two-photon excitation via vibronically selected intermediate states using a cryogenic ion trap velocity map imaging spectrometer.

Zhao and coworkers, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, J. Chem. Phys. 152, 134304 (2020)

Jan 2020: Public-Private research project launched on micro de Laval nozzle

The Dutch National Research Council (NWO) has awarded a KIEM-project grant to Prof. Han Gardeniers (University of Twente, the Netherlands) to co-develop with our company a rectangular shaped micro de Laval nozzle, using state-of-the-art lithography and deep-reactive-ion-etching facilities of MESA+/Nanolab. These rectangular type of expansions will open up novel and highly optimized applications of laser-, Free-Electron-Laser or synchrotron-based radiation-matter interaction.

Gustaf de Laval was born in 1845 at Orsa in the Swedish de Laval Huguenot family. In 1882 he introduced his concept of an impulse steam turbine and in 1887 built a small steam turbine to demonstrate that such devices could be constructed on that scale. In 1890 de Laval developed a nozzle to increase the steam jet to supersonic speed, working from the kinetic energy of the steam, rather than its pressure. The nozzle, now known as a de Laval nozzle, is used in modern rocket engine nozzles.

If you would like more details, contact Maurice Janssen (

Oct 2019: 10 Year Celebration Amsterdam Piezo Valve

We celebrated 10 years of Amsterdam Piezo Valve (APV) at VU-Technology Centre Amsterdam with a special lecture, cake and a festive coffee mug. The first commercial APV-system was shipped in September 2009 to the University of Oxford, UK.

Since the first developments during 2006-2009 in the group of Prof. Maurice Janssen at LaserLaB Amsterdam by engineers of VU-Technology Centre and PhD students the APV-system (valve body, the nozzle front plate and the electronic driver) has continuously been further developed. There are presently more than 120 APV systems in use all over Europe, USA, China, Japan, India, South-Korea and Argentina.

Below some pictures of the VU-Technology staff celebrating after the lecture by Maurice Janssen.

At this link some slides of the Amsterdam Piezo Valve 2019 lecture at VU Technology Centre (pdf link).

Apr 2018 : Delivery of 8 more APV systems to Eli-Alps, Szeged

  • 1 CF-flange mounted ACPV2 model for integration in a Velocity Map Imaging XUV AMO-experimental user station

  • 2 APV3 systems for implementation in a 4-unit serial pulsed gas jet High-Harmonics-Generation XUV beam section

  • 5 High-Voltage (up to 20 kV)-floating ACPV3 gas jets for operation with a HV-biased housing in electron-TOF detection systems for attosecond XUV beam diagnostics.

See the images below and more detailed information in the paper by Sergei Kuehn and coworkers in the journal J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 50 132002 (2017), see pdf link here.

Dec 2017: Delivery of first 3 APV-systems (of total of 11 systems) to Eli-Alps, Hungary

See press release here (pdf). The ELI-ALPS facility: the next generation of attosecond light sources.

Dr. Maurice Janssen (left) and dr. Sergei Kuhn (right).

A paper by Dr. Kuhn describing the various laser systems and research lines at Eli-Alps appeared recently in the journal J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 50 132002 (2017), see pdf link here.

Nov 2017: Researchers from UC Berkeley report spectroscopy by discharge with APV

A fast beam of tert-butyl peroxide anions (t-BuOO.) was generated by flowing 15 psi (1 bar) Ar through a tert-butyl hydroperoxide solution (70% t-BuOOH in water). The gas mixturewas supersonically expanded into the vacuum through an Amsterdam Piezovalve operating at 100 Hz, coupled with a DC grid discharge source to produce t-BuOO. ions. The ions were accelerated to a beam energy of 6–8 keV and mass selected using a collinear beam modulation time-of-flight mass spectrometer as described by Bakker. Mass-selected t-BuOO. ions were subsequently photodetached at 700 nm (1.77 eV) with an Nd:YAG-pumped dye laser (Litron LPY742- 100 and Radiant Dyes NarrowScan) to produce a fast beam of neutral t-BuOO.

The full paper by Bethan Nichols and coworkers can be accessed here (pdf link).

June 2017: Introduction of the new EDU5 driver

At the International Symposium of Molecular Beams, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, 25-30 June 2017, we introduced the new EDU5 driver, see press release here (pdf link).

Oct 2016: Publication in Optica on High Harmonic Generation employing the APV

A new research application of the Amsterdam Piezo Valve was reported by Eikema, Witte and coworkers on High Harmonic Generation that can be accessed here (pdf link). The press release by ARCNL can be viewed here (press release).

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