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Hamburg Shines for the European XFEL

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Light and laser installation for the start of the world’s brightest X-ray laser

Since last night, five laser lights shine westwards through Hamburg’s evening sky to Schenefeld at a height of 50 metres. It is here in Schenefeld, that the world’s brightest X-ray light arrives in the underground experiment hall.

The laser over Hamburg and the message projected on the Kaispeicher warehouse at the base of Hamburg’s new concert hall and landmark, the Elbphilharmonie welcomes theEuropean XFEL, to the metropolitan area of Hamburg. The lasers were set off from the Elbphilharmonie, the Philosopher’s Tower at the University of Hamburg, the E-Hochhaus building at the Hamburg University of Arts and Sciences (HAW Hamburg), the Hamburg Planetarium, and the offices of the Hamburg Department for Science, Research, and Equality (BWFG). In Schenefeld, five other lasers at the same height highlighted the underground path of the tunnel fan of the European XFEL. The laser installation will be visible every evening until 1am, ending on 3 September.

Five lasers situated on the roof of the main building in Schenefeld highlight the five underground tunnels of the European XFEL (Credit: European XFEL / Jan Tolkiehn). European XFEL / Jan Tolkeihn

Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research, and Equality, said: “Hamburg shines today and in the next few days particularly brightly for science—we are extremely proud that the European XFEL has found its home in the metropolitan area of Hamburg. This shows how well-versed we are in providing the basic framework for cutting-edge research. For the next years, the European XFEL will ensure that Hamburg is the world’s best location for research into the structure of matter and gives the Bahrenfeld Research Campus as a whole a big boost.”

The 100-watt strong green laser from the Elbphilharmonie can be seen from up to 24 kilometres away. The message “Welcome European XFEL”, displayed in the eleven languages of the partner countries of the international research facility, is projected on the side of the Kaiserspeicher. The lasers provided by the science community from the Philosopher’s Tower, the E-Hochhaus of the HAW Hamburg, the BWFG building, and the Planetarium lit up areas of the sky further north. Laser heads with a strength of 20 watts provided a welcome greeting, which can be seen as far as the western banks of the Alster. In Schenefeld, five further lasers replied to the welcome greeting from Hamburg. The laser beams in Hamburg’s night sky have a total length of about 72 kilometres.

Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, Managing Director of European XFEL, said: “We are excited about this bright welcome from Hamburg. This gives some more momentum to the preparation for user operation, towards which we are working with all of our energy. For a few days, the light installation draws attention to what most people can’t see under the ground: an Elbphilharmonie of Science that can, in concert with other research facilities in the metropolitan region, set new international standards.”


28 August – 3 September 2017

Daily from 20:30 to 1:00

On 2–3 September until 2:00