The European X-ray free-electron laser is an X-ray research laser facility commissioned during 2017. The first laser pulses were produced in May 2017 and the facility started user operation in September 2017. The international project with twelve participating countries; nine shareholders and three other partners is located in the German federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. A free-electron laser generates high-intensity electromagnetic radiation by accelerating electrons to relativistic speeds and directing them through special magnetic structures. The European XFEL is constructed such that the electrons produce X-ray light in synchronisation, resulting in high-intensity X-ray pulses with the properties of laser light and at intensities much brighter than those produced by conventional synchrotron light sources.
The 3.4-kilometre long tunnel for the European XFEL housing the superconducting linear accelerator and photon beamlines runs 6 to 38 m underground from the site of the DESY research center in Hamburg to the town of Schenefeld in Schleswig-Holstein, where the experimental stations, laboratories and administrative buildings are located.
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