Part 3
Projects & Landmarks
Physical Sciences & Engineering / Landmark

European XFEL

European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility

The European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (European XFEL) is a world leading Research Infrastructure for the generation of ultrashort X-ray flashes - 27,000 times per second and with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional synchrotron X-ray radiation sources. The world’s largest X-ray laser creates all-new research opportunities for scientists and industrial users, pushing forward the frontiers of scientific knowledge and thus enabling us to solve major societal challenges. Using the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, scientists are able 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.

The European XFEL was constructed and founded as a non-profit Company with Limited Liability under German law (GmbH) since 2009 as a joint effort of many partners participating in the project. To this end, the European XFEL GmbH cooperates closely with the DESY research centre and other organizations worldwide. To a great extent, the European XFEL facility was realised by means of in-kind contributions by shareholders and partners. The European XFEL is located mainly in underground tunnels which can be accessed on three different sites. The 3.4 kilometre-long facility runs from the DESY campus in Hamburg to the town of Schenefeld in Schleswig-Holstein. At the research campus in Schenefeld, teams of scientists from all over the world carry out experiments using the X-ray flashes since 2017.

General Info

European XFEL GmbH
Schenefeld, Germany

legal status


European XFEL
S C I D I G I T E N E E N V H & F