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World's biggest X-ray laser goes into operation in Germany

The world's largest X-ray laser has gone into operation and will help capture images of structures and processes at an atomic level, scientists in Germany said.

The DESY research centre near Hamburg said the laser, which went online on Friday, flashes 27,000 pulses per second, resulting in a luminance a billion times higher than the best conventional X-ray sources.

Scientists hope the European XFEL project will open up new areas of research.

DESY said it will enable researchers "to decipher the molecular composition of viruses and cells, take three-dimensional images of the nanoworld, film chemical reactions and study processes occurring deep inside planets".

Institutions from Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries are involved in the project.

Researchers are preparing their first experiments for mid-September.


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