Biggest X-ray laser gun on earth opens in September 2017

The 1.5 billion-euro laser replaces its predecessor, FLASH, in Germany.

Aug 31, 2017 12:27 IST
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The biggest X-ray laser gun on earth named, European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL), will begin operating in September 2017.

The European XFEL will shoot 27000 laser pulses per second, 200 times more per second than the next highest-performing gun in California.

The 1.5 billion-euro laser replaces its predecessor, FLASH, in Germany.

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About European X-ray Free Electron Laser

The European X-Ray Free Electron Laser is an X-ray research laser facility currently in commissioning.

The first laser pulses were produced in May 2017.

The international project has 11 participating countries. They are Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

It is located in the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

A free-electron laser generates high-intensity electromagnetic radiation by accelerating electrons to relativistic speeds and directing them through special magnetic structures. The European XFEL is constructed such that the electrons produce x-ray light in synchronisation, resulting in high-intensity x-ray pulses with the properties of laser light and at intensities much brighter than those produced by conventional synchrotron light sources.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research granted permission to build the facility on 5 June 2007 at a cost of 850 million Euro, under the provision that it should be financed as a European project.

The facility is built and operated by the European XFEL GmbH.

Civil construction of the facility began on 8 January 2009.

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