Recently in Hamburg, Germany, scientists from an international team of eleven countries fired up the world’s largest X-ray Laser. Its first light lasted only a second, but that tiny flash sparked what may be a revolution in experimentation at the most nanoscopic of levels.
Firing the World’s Largest X-ray Laser’s First Light
Photographing biomolecules is one of the most exciting realms in which this laser will be used. It can view them as they happen, while not affecting their operation. X-rays can go places other lights cannot. They can also detect finer measurements than infrared or even an electron scanning microscope. This has tremendous potential for several fields of biomedical research. But there are also uses in particle physics as well.
The speed at which this laser operates allows researchers to view even the swiftest of chemical reactions. They hope to use it for materials research and also for making current processes more efficient or environmentally friendly.
The team also built the laser in multiple examination stations, so that several experiments may run at once. This was a multinational endeavor, and its leaders made it clear that they want and created a tool that will be usable by teams from all over the world.
“This is an important moment that our partners and we have worked towards for many years,” said Prof. Robert Feidenhans, European XFEL Managing Director.