World’s largest X-ray laser01/09/17Science & Technology
The international science community is celebrating the official inauguration of the world’s largest X-ray laser at the European XFEL.
The unveiling marks the start of user operation following eight years of construction and development.
UK scientists from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have played a significant role in the development of XFEL through the design and creation of the Large Pixel Detector – an innovative X-ray camera which can captures images of ultrafast processes such as chemical reactions.
Dr Brian Bowsher, chief executive of STFC, said: “The UK, through STFC, is already contributing a great deal to this project in terms of equipment and expertise, and we are looking forward to ratifying formally the UK’s involvement in XFEL.
“XFEL offers many exciting opportunities to the research community and STFC is delighted to support the UK’s involvement with this international facility.”
In addition to the LPD, designed and built by STFC’s Technology Division, STFC’s Central Laser Facility is constructing a DiPOLE100 laser for the European XFEL – funded by STFC and EPSRC – where it will be used to recreate the conditions found within stars.
The relationship between the UK and XFEL will soon be strengthened as they sign a partnership agreement that will allow UK researchers access to the facility through a STFC-managed subscription.
In anticipation of UK accessibility to the facility within the coming months, the UK has contributed a majority of its commitment to providing construction costs for the facility development.
The European XFEL is located in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and is capable of generating extremely intense X-ray laser flashes that will offer research opportunities for scientists across the world.