EUROPEAN XFEL – EU-Russia cooperation in research infrastructures

Fundamental research in large-scale research infrastructures is one of the flagship priority areas of EU-Russian collaboration with excellent future perspectives. One example of very close and successful cooperation in this area is situated in Germany: the European X-ray free electron laser in the Metropolitan region of Hamburg. Starting in 2015, the XFEL will generate ultrashort X-ray flashes with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray radiation sources.

Using the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, scientists will be able to map the atomic details of viruses, to take three-dimensional images of the nanoworld or to study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets. Thus, the facility with its unique characteristics will open up new knowledge and applications in areas such as nanotechnology, energy technology and medicine.

The European XFEL is being realised as a joint effort of many partners. Of the total construction costs amounting to more than € 1.1 billion Germany, as the host country, covers 58 percent. Russia, as the second partner in the joint initiative, bears 27 percent, and also contributes a number of important components, among them high-tech cryogenic components, thousands of parts for vacuum systems, 840 electromagnets and three test stands for accelerator modules. The other international partners cover between one and three percent of the costs.

From 2008-2011, the European Commission has funded the preparation phase for the European XFEL with € 5 million in order to provide the necessary legal, technical and financial documents, to advance the specification of buildings, infrastructure and components and to mobilise the potential user community. Furthermore, the European XFEL participates in several FP7- funded projects, such as BioStruct-X, CRISP and CALIPSO. Thus, the European XFEL is well placed to provide completely new research opportunities for scientists and industrial users in Europe, Russia and all over the world.

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