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: Seeking 'absolute zero', copper cube gets chillingly close (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

10 hours ago

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world's ...

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms

11 hours ago

Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication ...

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

11 hours ago

Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not ...

US company sells out of Ebola toys

20 hours ago

They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one US-based company has sold out.

Recommended for you

Cooling with molecules

7 hours ago

An international team of scientists have become the first ever researchers to successfully reach temperatures below minus 272.15 degrees Celsius – only just above absolute zero – using magnetic molecules. ...

Backpack physics: Smaller hikers carry heavier loads

Oct 21, 2014

Hikers are generally advised that the weight of the packs they carry should correspond to their own size, with smaller individuals carrying lighter loads. Although petite backpackers might appreciate the ...

User comments : 0