1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

XFEL laser X-ray - a look at the building blocks of life

March 16, 2015

Scientists would like to understand the spatial structures of complex organic molecules, and observe every stage of a chemical reaction. That's not possible yet. But XFEL, the largest free electron x-ray laser in the world, is about to change that.


The device is a kind of combined camera and microscope that opens up whole new molecular worlds. Curretnly under construction in Hamburg, XFEL will be able to generate up to 27,000 X-ray flashes a second. The first components have been put together in a subterranean tunnel that’s seven kilometers long. Technicians and engineers are now testing components like magnets and the first detector for a "molecular cinema". The super-laser is due to enter service in 2017.

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A head shot of Dmitry Medvedev

Ukraine updates: Medvedev says Putin arrest would be 'war'

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage