Beneath the district of Altona and the small town of Schenefeld, a 3.4 kilometre-long tunnel marks a new high in state-of-the-art laser technology: European XFEL. Electrons are accelerated to produce high-energy electromagnetic radiation and laser light that significantly 'outshines' other x-ray light sources. This enables the XFEL staff to conduct research that is expected to provide groundbreaking results in the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, biology and nanotechnology.
Costs for the facilities in Schenefeld and Hamburg are estimated at EUR 1.22 billion, making the European XFEL one of the most costly research projects in the EU. In total, eleven different countries have been working together towards the opening of the XFEL centre. The underground campus in Schenefeld, where laboratories and administrative offices are located, will become the new workplace for 280 international scientists and members of staff. Rightfully so, the advertising campaign launched around the opening in early September 2017 proudly proclaimed that 'the World conducts research here'.