The world’s biggest X-ray laser, the European XFEL has reached its final milestone before its official launch in September this year. This development took place at a facility located in Hamburg. The facility, which has a length of 3.4 km is situated in underground tunnels and has produced its first X-ray laser light.

The laser produces light with a wavelength of 0.8 nm, which is nearly 500 times shorter that the wavelength of visible light. At the first lasing, the laser had a repetition rate of one pulse in a second. The repetition rate is expected to increase to 27 000 in every second.

European XFEL Managing Director Prof., Robert Feidenhans, in a statement said this is an important milestone that the company, as well as its partners, has been working on for several years. He added that the facility which is a product of global contributions in terms components and know-how has successfully passed its first test. Feidenhans’l added that this is a big success of the collaboration between European countries and the entire world.

Helmut Dosch, the Chairman of the DESY Directorate, which was a partner in this development, said this is the first laser light produced with the most innovative and powerful linear accelerator globally.

When compared to conventional sources of light, the X-ray light produced by European XFEL is billion times brighter and very intense. The wavelength, which can be achieved is similar to the size of an atom, raising the possibility of using X-rays in making films and pictures of a nano cosmos at atomic resolution. This could lead to improved understanding of elements of illnesses as well as help in the development of new treatments. The invention could also be a window into improving research of chemical processes and catalytic techniques and which are aimed at enhancing their efficiency.

The European XFEL X-ray laser light was produced from a beam of electrons emanating from a conducting linear accelerator, the most important part of the X-ray laser. The accelerator was launched in April by DESY, a German research company and a leading shareholder in European XFEL.