European XFEL

The European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH is a limited liability company under German law that was officially founded in Hamburg, Germany, on 28 September 2009.

The company is in charge of the construction and operation of what will be the world's brightest source of ultrashort X-ray pulses: the European XFEL, a 3.4 km long X-ray free-electron laser facility extending from Hamburg to the neighbouring town of Schenefeld in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. It is being realized as a joint effort of many partners. To this end, the European XFEL GmbH cooperates closely with the research centre DESY and other organizations worldwide. Civil construction started in early 2009 and the user operation is planned to start in 2017.

With its repetition rate of 27 000 pulses per second and a peak brilliance a billion times higher than that of the best synchrotron X-ray radiation sources, the European XFEL will open up new research opportunities for scientists and industrial users. Thanks to its ultrashort X-ray flashes, the facility will enable scientists to map the atomic details of viruses, decipher the molecular composition of cells, take three-dimensional images of the nanoworld, film chemical reactions, and study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets.

Presently, 12 countries are participating in the European XFEL project: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Beamlines (operative and under construction) 3 (6 experiment stations), upgradeable to 5 (10 experiment stations). More information

Beam parameters


Max. Electron Energy [GeV]


Wavelengthrange [nm]

0.05 - 4.7



Peak brilliance



27 000