For the first time, the largest X-ray laser in the world XFEL has produced laser light, as the press service of the German research center DESY reports.
The 3.4-kilometer long plant generated the first X-ray light having a wavelength of 0.8 nanometers. According to the research center, this is about 500 times shorter than that of visible light. The laser should have produced only one pulse per second, later it will be 27,000 per second.
European XFEL Managing Director Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l said:
“This is an important moment that our partners and we have worked towards for many years. The European XFEL has generated its first X-ray laser light. The facility, to which many countries around the world contributed know-how and components, has passed its first big test with flying colours. The colleagues involved at European XFEL, DESY, and our international partners have accomplished outstanding work. This is also a great success for scientific collaboration in Europe and across the world. We can now begin to direct the X-ray flashes with special mirrors through the last tunnel section into the experiment hall, and then step by step start the commissioning of the experiment stations. I very much look forward to the start of international user operation, which is planned for September.”
Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Directorate, said:
“The European X-ray laser has been brought to life! The first laser light produced today with the most advanced and most powerful linear accelerator in the world marks the beginning a new era of research in Europe. This worldwide unique high-tech facility was built in record time and within budget. This is an amazing success of science. I congratulate all those involved in the research, development, and construction of this facility with passion and commitment: the employees of DESY, European XFEL, and international partners. They have achieved outstanding results and demonstrated impressively what is possible in international cooperation. The European XFEL will provide us with the most detailed images of the molecular structure of new materials and drugs and novel live recordings of biochemical reactions.”
The European XFEL is a research facility in Hamburg and Schenefeld. It is an international project with a connection to the research center DESY. Eleven countries are involved in the European XFEL. XFEL stands for free-electron lasers for X-ray light.