European XFEL

European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH
Fundamental research
Founded23 September 2009; 8 years ago (2009-09-23)[1]
HeadquartersSchenefeld, Germany
All member nations of the European XFEL project are highlighted in dark purple.

The European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (European XFEL) is an X-ray research laser facility commissioned during 2017. The first laser pulses were produced in May 2017[2][3] and the facility started user operation in September 2017.[4] The international project with twelve participating countries; nine shareholders (Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland) and three other partners (Italy,Spain and the United Kingdom)[5][6] is located in the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.[7] 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 3.4-kilometre (2.1 mi) long tunnel for the European XFEL housing the superconducting linear accelerator and photon beamlines runs 6 to 38 m (20 to 125 ft) underground from the site of the DESY research center in Hamburg to the town of Schenefeld in Schleswig-Holstein, where the experimental stations, laboratories and administrative buildings are located.[8]