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World’s biggest ever X-ray laser can take pictures of objects at an atomic level

The world’s biggest X-ray laser, that is a a billion times brighter than the typical light sources normally used in particle accelerators, has generated its first beam of light in a 3.4km-long underground research facility beneath Hamburg, according to Sky News.

The laser, which can be used to make pictures and videos of objects at an atomic level, “marks the beginning a new era of research in Europe”, according to scientists.

They will use the laser to photograph biomolecules, which can lead to understanding the basis of illnesses and the development of new therapies.


The power of the laser is generated from an electron beam directed through a special superconducting linear accelerator in a 2.1km-long section of tunnel. Electron pulses are accelerated to near-light speed before entering a photon tunnel containing a 210m stretch of X-ray generating devices.

Joanna Lewis