Facts and Figures

General
Total length
3.4 kilometres
The facility runs from the DESY site in Hamburg in a northwestern direction to the town of Schenefeld in 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 is 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
1.22 billion euro
(price levels of 2005)
As the host country, Germany (Federation, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holstein) covered 58% of the construction costs. Russia took over 27% and the other international partners between 1% and 3% of the construction costs each.
European XFEL GmbH
   
Legal form
GmbH
The European XFEL was constructed and is operated by the European XFEL GmbH, a non-profit Company of Limited Liability under German law. The company was founded on 28 September 2009.
Annual budget (estimated)
117 000 000 euro
rounded to thousand euro
Staff (under development)
over 300 employees
The European XFEL GmbH has a workforce of over 300 people, about 240 DESY employees operate the accelerator for European XFEL.
Participating countries
currently 12
Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are member states who participate in the European XFEL.
Schedule
   
Start of commissioning
2016
Beginning of testing and preparation of the completed facility for operation
First X-ray flashes
2017
First X-ray flashes are generated from electrons
First proposals
2017
First proposals for experiments at the first two instruments
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 -271°C using liquid helium. At these temperatures, they conduct electric current with very few losses.
Number of modules
96 (+2 in injector)
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 4.7 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 quadrillionth 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.