The €1.5 billion x-ray research Laser facility will be used to study the structure of matter at the molecular level, and allow scientists to observe chemical reactions or biological processes as they unfold.
Scientists anticipate that the laser will lead to fundamental discoveries related to natural science, energy, medical treatments, the chemical industry, and the creation of new or improved materials.
The massive, 3.5 km long laser has been likened to a giant microscope, accelerating electrons to incredible speeds and then producing very brief flashes in the x-ray range, illuminating matter and material processes down to the atomic level.
Along with Germany, which allotted over 50% of the funding for the project, European XFEL involves Russia (which contributed more than a quarter of the budget), Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Dr. Robert Feidenhan'l, European XFEL's managing director, explained some of the exciting new scientific opportunities opened by the laser, including the chance to see how plant life converts light into energy.
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