The European XFEL

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XFEL Orthophoto

The European XFEL facility in Hamburg (on the right side) and Schenefeld (Schleswig-Holstein) (Source: European XFEL).

Tunnel

Connecting modules in the European XFEL linear accelerator (© Heiner Müller-Elsner / European XFEL 2016)

European XFEL

View of the newly completed European XFEL headquarters building in schenefeld in June 2016. (Copyright European XFEL)

The European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser 'European XFEL'  in the Hamburg area will be an international research facility of superlatives: 27000 X-ray flashes per second and a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray sources will open up completely new opportunities for science. Research groups from around the world will investigate nanometre-scale structures, fast processes, and extreme states, taking 3D images of viruses and proteins, and filming chemical reactions. The construction and operation of the facility is entrusted to the European XFEL GmbH, a non-profit company that cooperates closely with its largest shareholder, DESY, and other organizations worldwide. DESY will also operate the accelerator on behalf of the European XFEL GmbH.

 
With construction and startup costs of more than 1.22 billion euro (at 2005 price levels) and a total length of 3.4 km, the European XFEL is one of the largest European research projects to date. The facility will run from the DESY site in Hamburg in a northwestern direction to the border of the town of Schenefeld (Schleswig-Holstein).
 
At present, 11 European countries are participating: Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Currently, Germany covers more than half of the costs, Russia about a quarter, and the other international shareholders between 1% and 3% each.
 
The beginning of commissioning of the European XFEL is planned for 2016. User operation with one beamline and two instruments will start in 2017.