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

Government HQ in Chisinau, Moldova, with large banners of Moldova and the EU
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage