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The largest and most powerful X-ray laser in world was opened in Hamburg on the 1-st of September.
The machine can generate ultrashort X-ray flashes 27,000 times per second, with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than the best conventional X-ray radiation sources.
With the help of specialized instruments, these X-rays enable completely new insights into the atomic details and extremely fast processes of the nanoworld.
Other applications lie in materials science with the development of new materials and substances, in the optimization of storage media for computers and the investigation of extreme matter conditions, such as those found within exoplanets.

At present, 11 countries are participating in the project: Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The UK is in the process of joining the European XFEL as the twelfth member state.
Construction of the €1.22 billion facility began in early 2009. As the host country, Germany (the federal government, the city-state of Hamburg, and the state of Schleswig-Holstein) covered 58 per cent of these costs. Russia paid 27 and the other international partners between 1 -  3 per cent.

At the opening ceremony the button was pressed to start the first ever experiment at European XFEL to determine the structure of a biomolecule. In this model experiment, the structure is already known, allowing the researchers to check that the X-ray laser and the instruments are optimally coordinated.
The first sample with unknown structure will come with users when they arrive for experiments at the facility in September.
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