European XFEL is a research facility where external research groups can work.

The interdisciplinary research at the European XFEL delivers valuable insights into many areas of science. Experience shows that from this type of basic research, important applications develop.

With its unique research opportunities, the European XFEL attracts world-class scientists from across the world. Many different scientific disciplines will come together and build off of each other and strengthen one another. Experience shows that the interplay of various challenges and ideas leads to new products and product improvements.

Many areas of science will profit from the new facility—among others, medicine, pharmacology, chemistry, physics, materials science, nanotechnology, energy technology, and electronics.


Research currently being done at X-ray FELs is already breaking new ground, with studies across many disciplines: determining structures of molecules critical to biology, watching ultrafast energy transfers within molecules, probing the characteristics of extreme states of matter, and observing the behaviour of electrons within complex molecules.

Health and biology

With the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, scientists analyse the structure of biomolecules and biological entities such as proteins, cells, or membranes. Researchers can also study how these entities change while working. Understanding the structure of these entities, as well as their temporal changes, will provide insights into their functions, and form an important basis for the development of future medicines and therapies.


Known sources of energy are limited, or their use eintails difficulties for the environment. The find answers to these challenges, scientists can use the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL to study processes occuring in solar cells or fuel cells. They can also use them to analyse plasmas that could be exploited in future fusion reactors, or find new solutions such as artificial photosynthesis.

Catalytic processes

Catalysts have been of fundamental importance for the chemical industry for at least 100 years. Today, catalysts are also used to limit the environmental damage of car exhaust gases and are essential in the petrochemical industry and in many other applications, with a market of tens of billions of Euro.

Information technology

The development and improvement of materials for the most advanced technologies poses challenges that X-ray FELs can help to solve. Progress in information technology, for example, results from the ability to store information on smaller and smaller areas, and also on the ability to read and write it as rapidly as possible.

Technology transfer

Even in the construction phase, European XFEL stimulated the development of some high-technology industrial sectors in the participating countries. To achieve the demanding performance indispensable for the European XFEL, the fabrication of many components required all the sophisticated know-how of the contributing research labs; on the other hand, these components need to be produced in large series by industry.