XFEL: Brilliant X-ray laser comes online

Source: BBC News

One of the most powerful X-ray machines ever built has officially opened in the German city of Hamburg.

The facility, which has cost more than a billion euros to build, will be used to study the detailed structure of matter, atom by atom.

It is called the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL).

Scientists say the way it shines light on targets will permit, for example, chemical bonds to be filmed in the instant that they are made or broken.

Image copyrightXFEL
Image captionThe electrons are produced under Hamburg and are injected into the machine to produce an X-ray beam that is received at Schenefeld

The researchers anticipate fundamental discoveries that lead to new medical treatments and novel materials, to name just two possibilities.

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