The first laser light generated by European XFEL, as seen at the end of the 2-mile-long tunnel. Photo by DESY
May 4 (UPI) -- The world's largest X-ray laser won't begin conducting research until September, but the European XFE has reached its last major milestone before it comes online. This week, the laser created its first beam of laser light.
The initial beam featured a wavelength of 0.8 nanometers. The laser produced a pulse per second. Once the European XFE is running at full capacity, the laser will generate 27,000 pulses per second.
"This is an important moment that our partners and we have worked towards for many years," Robert Feidenhans'l, managing director of the European XFEL, said in a news release. "The European XFEL has generated its first X-ray laser light. The facility, to which many countries around the world contributed know-how and components, has passed its first big test with flying colors."
The underground laser facility, featuring an accelerator and a series of tunnels and mirrors, stretches more than two miles in length. Scientists will be able to generate a range of unique laser flashes for a variety of research purposes.