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Milestones

2017 Start of research operation for external groups (user operation)
End of 2016 Commissioning of the first part (SASE1) of the facility
7 June 2012 Construction of the network of tunnels with the tunnel boring machines TULA and AMELI is finished. More information: news
7 July 2010 Start of the construction of the 5.777-metre-long tunnel system with the first tunnel boring machine TULA (TUnnel for LAser). More information: news
16 December 2009 Due to financial restrictions, United Kingdom withdraws participation in European XFEL
30 November 2009 Signing ceremony of the international convention in Hamburg. Five shareholders from the non-German partner countries join the European XFEL company. More information: news
23 September 2009 After the two-day cross-checking conference in Berlin representatives from 13 partner states initial the founding documents in its available English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish version. Now the foundation of the European XFEL company with DESY as the for now only shareholder is possible very soon. More information: news
8 January 2009 Start of construction, duration: about 5.5 years
12 December 2008 The contracts for the construction of the underground buildings (tunnels, shafts, halls) are awarded in November 2008. Further information: press release
October 2007 FLASH reaches a wavelength of 6.5 nanometres.
July 2007 The EU funds the Pre-XFEL project aiming to support the foundation of the European XFEL. The project, which duration is four years, is coordinated by DESY.
5 June 2007 The German Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr. Annette Schavan officially launches the European XFEL. Germany and the participating countries agree to begin the construction of a start version with reduced construction cost: 850 million Euros are available for a facility with three instead of five beamlines, i.e. six instead of ten experiment stations. Germany (the federal government, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein) will cover approx. 75 percent of these costs (price levels of 2005), the participating countries approx. 25 percent. The partners still adhere to their goal of realizing the complete facility.
24-25 January 2007 260 scientists from 22 countries come to DESY in Hamburg to participate in the First European XFEL Users’ Meeting. The main topics are the requirements of the future users concerning the detailed planning of the experiment stations and the development of new measuring methods and detectors. Further information: press release
25 July 2006 The European XFEL Project Team hands over the Technical Design Report (TDR) for the European XFEL to the chairman of the International Steering Committee XFEL ISC. The TDR has over 300 authors from 71 institutes in 17 countries.
20 July 2006 The authority for Mining, Energy and Geology in Claustahl-Zellerfeld, Germany, enacts the approval resolution (”Planfeststellungsbeschluss”) for the construction and operation of the European XFEL.
April 2006 Stimulated by the users of the VUV-FEL and the first exciting results obtained at this facility, the VUV-FEL is renamed FLASH (for Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg). Equipped with five accelerator modules, the FLASH facility produces laser flashes with the so far shortest wavelength of only 13.1 nm.
August 2005 Start of user operation at the free-electron laser VUV-FEL (today known as FLASH).
Summer 2005 The European XFEL Project Team is appointed to prepare the foundation of an independent research organization that will operate the European XFEL – the European XFEL GmbH.
27 April 2005 Application for the public planning approval procedure (”Planfeststellungsverfahren”) at the authority for Mining, Energy and Geology in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany.
January 2005 The free-electron laser VUV-FEL (today known as FLASH) generates high-intensity, ultrashort laser pulses with a wavelength of 32 nanometres for the first time. This is the shortest wavelength ever produced at a free-electron laser. The properties of the radiation perfectly match the theoretical predictions.
December 2004 Start of commissioning of the VUV-FEL (today known as FLASH) with the first beam. This free-electron laser (FEL) will generate vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) and soft X-ray radiation in a range down to a wavelength of six nanometres. The intense light flashes are distributed among a total of five experiment stations for experiments in cluster physics, solid-state physics, surface physics, plasma research and molecular biology. In addition, FLASH is used as a pilot facility for the European XFEL and as test facility for the superconducting accelerator technology for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC).
28 September 2004 The federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein ratify a state treaty that provides a legal basis for the construction and operation of the X-ray laser. Among other things, the states agree on a joint public planning approval procedure (Planfeststellungsverfahren) including an environmental impact assessment.
September 2004 The first interested countries sign a Memorandum of Understanding. Several countries follow. The Memorandum of Understanding between China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom provides the basis for the international cooperation until an international state treaty is signed for the European X-ray laser project.
August 2004 The European Commission decides to support the EUROFEL project with a total of 9 million Euros for a period of three years (2005-2008). Within this EU project, which is being coordinated by DESY, important studies will be carried out that will considerably benefit the European XFEL.
February 2004 On the initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, an international steering committee is established. Its members are high-level government representatives from the countries interested in participating in the planned X-ray laser project. One of its tasks is to concretize the participation of European countries in the project.
2003 The 100-metre-long TESLA Test Facility (TTF) is extended to a total length of 260 metres and modified into the new free-electron laser VUV-FEL (later renamed FLASH).
5 February 2003 Fundamental decision of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research: The X-ray laser laboratory is to be realized as a European project at DESY, and Germany will bear approximately half of the costs because of the advantage of location.
December 2002 An international team of scientists uses the test facility to study the interaction of matter – clusters of rare gas atoms – with intense X-ray radiation from a free-electron laser over extremely short time scales for the first time.
October 2002 Publication of the Technical Design Report for an X-ray laser laboratory with a dedicated linear accelerator in a separate tunnel, as a supplement to the Technical Design Report for TESLA. (It is assumed that both projects will be realized at the same time.)
February 2000 Scientists achieve a world first by generating shortwave laser light in the ultraviolet range (80-180 nanometres) using the pioneering SASE principle, on which the European XFEL is based. They succeed in generating the greatest possible light amplification.
starting 1992 The superconducting TESLA accelerator technology is being developed and tested in an international collaboration at a test facility at DESY in Hamburg. This technology forms the basis for the European XFEL. The superconducting resonators already provide such high performance that they fulfil the stringent demands of the planned International Linear Collider (ILC) for particle physics. At the same time, it becomes possible to significantly reduce the manufacturing costs. For the X-ray laser the resonators generate a special electron beam with energies of 10 to 20 billion electron volts.