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First users expected at European XFEL

Facility preparing to welcome research groups to first two instruments

Preparations for the arrival of first users at European XFEL and the official opening on Friday (September 1) are in full swing. After years of development and construction, the world’s largest X-ray laser is about to start fulfilling its task and enable scientists from all the globe to push the limits of scientific knowledge.

FXE – molecular films

The first two instruments in the underground experiment hall are being prepared for users. The FXE (Femtosecond X-Ray Experiments) instrument, co-ordinated by leading scientist Christian Bressler, will enable the research of extremely fast processes. “Molecular movies” produced there will show the progression of chemical reactions which, will help improve understanding of how catalysts work, and how plants convert light into usable chemical energy. The SPB/SFX (Single Particles, Clusters, and Biomolecules / Serial Femtosecond Crystallography) instrument, co-ordinated by leading scientist Adrian Mancuso, will be used to gain a better understanding of the shape and function of biomolecules, such as proteins that are otherwise difficult to study.

Selected projects

More than 60 user groups answered a call for proposals issued in early 2017 for access to the two instruments. International committees of experts evaluated the proposed projects based on scientific merit and technical feasibility. The first 14 groups of scientists have now been selected and invited to carry out their ambitious research projects at the facility from September.

Sources and further information:

About European XFEL

Groups of researchers from all the globle can use the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL to map the atomic details of viruses, decipher the molecular composition of cells, take three-dimensional images of the nanoworld, film chemical reactions, and study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets. The European XFEL GmbH is a non-profit research organization that works closely with DESY resarch centre and other international institutions and has around 300 employees.

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