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European XFEL prepares for user operation: Researchers can hand in first proposals for experiments

The FXE instrument, which is currently being assembled in its hutch in the European XFEL experiment hall, will enable studies of ultrafast processes such as decisive intermediate steps of chemical reactions. The X-ray laser flashes enter the instrument from the right side of the picture and travel through a series of complex optics and diagnostics before arriving at the sample interaction region. A yellow robot arm for one of the instrument’s detectors is seen in the background to the left.

For the first time, scientists from around the world can now submit their proposals for experiments at the European XFEL. The user programme is expected to begin in the second half of the year, with two of the planned six instruments being initially available, that is the Femtosecond X-Ray Experiments (FXE) instrument and the Single Particles, Clusters, and Biomolecules and Serial Femtosecond Crystallography (SPB/SFX) instrument. FXE enables investigations of ultrafast processes and the creation of “molecular movies”, which show the progression of an individual reaction with high precision. SPB/SFX is specialized for research into biomolecules and other biological materials. [more]

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