The Hamburg area will soon boast a research facility of superlatives: The European XFEL will generate ultrashort X-ray flashes—27 000 times per second and with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray radiation sources.
The outstanding characteristics of the facility are unique worldwide. Starting in 2017, it will open up completely new research opportunities for scientists and industrial users.
Smaller, faster, more intense: The European XFEL will open up areas of research that were previously inaccessible. Using the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, scientists will be able to map the atomic details of viruses, decipher the molecular composition of cells, take three-dimensional images of the nanoworld, film chemical reactions, and study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets.
How it works
To generate the X-ray flashes, bunches of electrons will first be accelerated to high energies and then directed through special arrangements of magnets (undulators). In the process, the particles will emit radiation that is increasingly amplified until an extremely short and intense X-ray flash is finally created.
The European XFEL will generate X-ray radiation with properties similar to those of laser light. There will be several light sources with different characteristics.
The European XFEL will be located mainly in underground tunnels which can be accessed on three different sites. The 3.4-kilometre-long facility will run from DESY in Hamburg to the town of Schenefeld (Schleswig-Holstein). The Schenefeld site hosts the research campus, where international teams of scientists will carry out experiments using the X-ray flashes.
More on www.xfel.eu