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Facts & figures

General

Total length 3.4 kilometres The facility will run from the DESY site in Hamburg in a north-western direction to the border of the town of Schenefeld (Schleswig-Holstein).
Number of sites 3 The three sites are: DESY-Bahrenfeld (ca. 2 hectares), Osdorfer Born (ca. 1.5 hectares) and Schenefeld (ca. 15 hectares). The research campus will be located in Schenefeld.
Depth of the tunnels 6 to 38 metres The tunnels are covered by at least 6 metres of soil.
Construction costs including preparation and commissioning 1.15 billion euro
(price levels of 2005)
As the host country, Germany (Federation, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein) covers 54 percent of the construction costs. Russia takes over 23 percent and the other international partners between 1 and 3.5 percent of the construction costs each.

European XFEL GmbH

Legal form GmbH The European XFEL will be constructed and operated by the European XFEL GmbH, a non-profit Company of Limited Liability under German law. This company was founded on 28 September 2009, initially with DESY as the only shareholder.
Annual budget 2012 140 211 000 euro rounded to thousand euro, detailed budget
Staff (under development) 250 employees The European XFEL GmbH is building up a workforce of about 250 people.
Participating countries currently 12 Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland participate or plan to participate in the construction and operation of the European XFEL.

Schedule

Construction time 2009-2015 Civil construction started on 08 January 2009 and will end in 2014. From 2012 on, installation work will be performed.
Operation of the facility 2016 Start of commissioning
User Operation 2017 Start of user operation with 1 beamline and 2 experiment stations

Accelerator

Type Superconducting linear accelerator
Total length 2.1 kilometres
Acceleration length 1.7 kilometres
Energy 17.5 billion electron volts expandable to 20 billion electron volts. This would allow the generation of even shorter wavelengths.
Temperature minus 271 degrees Celsius The accelerator elements are cooled to minus 271 degrees Celsius using liquid helium. At these temperatures, they conduct electric current without any losses.
Number of modules 101 The electrons are accelerated in accelerator modules comprising several superconducting chambers (called cavities or resonators). In these cavities, an oscillating microwave accelerates the particles. The cavities are surrounded by cooling elements.

Properties of the X-ray laser flashes

Flashes per second 27 000 This high repetition rate is what makes the European XFEL unique among the X-ray lasers in the world. It is only possible thanks to the superconducting accelerator technology.
Wavelength 0.05 to 6 nanometres The wavelengths of the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL are so short that even atomic details become discernible.
Duration less than 100 trillionth of a second (less than 100 femtoseconds) Thanks to this extremely short pulse duration, scientists will be able to film e.g. the formation of molecules or the reversal of magnetization.
Brilliance (peak value) 5·1033 (photons / s / mm2 / mrad2 / 0,1% bandwidth) The peak brilliance is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray sources. The brilliance describes the number of photons of a given energy that are emitted per second, area and angle within a small energy interval.
Brilliance (average value) 1,6·1025 (photons / s / mm2 / mrad2 / 0,1% bandwidth) The average brilliance is 10 000 times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray sources.
Coherence yes The X-ray flashes have the characteristics of laser light. This makes it possible to take 3D images at the atomic level.