European XFEL Project Shines a New Light for Research

Oct 11, 2007 by Mary Anne Simpson weblog

A colossal project called XFEL located in Germany will allow the collective sciences gain understanding of solar cells, fuel cells and watch how atoms and molecules combine.

The X-ray laser project XFEL holds new possibilities in experimental research. The XFEL project will enable researchers to film chemical reactions, map the atomic details of molecules, and capture the 3D images of the nanocosmos. The acronym XFEL stands for, "X-ray free-electron laser."

An easy description of what XFEL does is that it accelerates to a high energy status electrons and then makes the electrons emit high-intensity X-ray laser flashes.

The X-ray laser is a European endeavor with connections to DESY research center currently in the planning stages of construction. The DESY center in Hamburg, Germany is set for construction in early 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2013, according to a XFEL news release.

The plan involves a connection between the DESY plant in Hamburg-Bahrenfield to the city of Schenefeld. Most of the facility will be housed underground, but portions of the facilities may be observed above ground. The investment for the project construction will cost 986 million Euros. The XFEL project includes in all three sites. The DESY Bahrenfield, Osdorfer Born, and Schenefeld.

The XFEL accelerator tunnel will begin in DESY Bahrenfield. On this site the electrons will be prepared for acceleration. It will also be used to access shafts and halls which will be used in the construction and installation of the components required in the tunnels.

The main accelerator will end at Osdorfer Born, where the electron bunches will be separated and distributed to the various tunnels for generating light. The Schenefeld facility will be the place where the experiments with the X-ray laser. It will be home for over 350 scientists chosen for their interests and expertise in the area. The scientists will include members from Germany and the international community.

The range of applications for this technology include, improving scientific knowledge of the process taking place in fuel cells and solar cells. Scientists will also be able to watch how biomolecules at work observe the detail of how atoms and molecules combine to make materials.

The application of this science can be broadly applied to chemistry, biology, material science and physics. The possibilities for the XFEL technology being utilized in cross-disciplinary experimentation can only be imagined at this point. The unique feature of the XFEL X-ray laser is that the measured flash exposure time is a quadrillionth of a second. This infinitesimal exposure time ensures the photograph or image will not be blurred.

Explore further: Used MRI magnets get a second chance at life in high-energy physics experiments

Related Stories

House presses Senate to pass domestic surveillance changes

1 hour ago

The White House and House leaders urged the Senate on Thursday to take up a bill that would end the National Security Agency's collection of American phone records while preserving other surveillance powers set to expire ...

PayPal's new chief promises new services for a mobile world

1 hour ago

As PayPal prepares to split from its corporate parent, its new chief executive is promising to expand the popular online payment system, adding a variety of services for consumers to use when shopping on their phones or in ...

Recommended for you

SLAC gears up for dark matter hunt with LUX-ZEPLIN

May 21, 2015

Researchers have come a step closer to building one of the world's best dark matter detectors: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently signed off on the conceptual design of the proposed LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) ...

First images of LHC collisions at 13 TeV

May 21, 2015

Last night, protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV for the first time. These test collisions were to set up systems that protect the machine and detectors ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.