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The future is bright as XFEL opens its doors

Newly opened European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) celebrates start of user operations

Today, the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (European XFEL) celebrated the inauguration of its X-ray laser and officially opened for researchers.

World’s largest X-ray laser

European XFEL: completed accelerator tunnel on 20 March 2017
The completed accelerator tunnel on 20 March 2017

At a total length of 3.4 kilometres, the European XFEL is the world’s largest X-ray laser. Its light source produces X-ray flashes up to one billion times brighter than other available X-ray sources, offering unique research opportunities for scientists working in a wide variety of fields.

The opening ceremony took place at the XFEL headquarters in Schenefeld near Hamburg. High level ministerial and scientific representatives of the European XFEL’s eleven partner countries, were present. Also in attendance were leading scientists from around the world, including representatives from EMBL, which holds one of its six sites on the nearby Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) campus in Hamburg.

“On behalf of EIROforum I want to congratulate our colleagues at European XFEL for opening to users today,” said EIROforum Chair Iain Mattaj. “Today’s inauguration is the result of a colossal amount of work by scientists, engineers and administrators over many years. The excitement in the user community is huge. European XFEL is an example of what can be achieved when people and institutions collaborate across borders and think without boundaries.”