Location for New Research Facility Determined

The X-ray laser XFEL is to be realized in the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein starting in 2006. On the occasion of yesterday’s location announcement, DESY presents the exhibition “The Light of the Future – The European X-Ray Laser Project at DESY” in the lobby of the Hamburg City Hall.

Standort XFEL

The new location for the X-ray laser XFEL: The tunnel for the linear accelerator will begin on the DESY site and run in a north-western direction. The experimental hall is situated in the south of the town of Schenefeld in the Pinneberg district.

At a press conference yesterday, DESY announced the new location for the planned X-ray free-electron laser XFEL. It will be located in the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. “The X-ray laser will contribute to the structural strengthening of Northern Germany as a science location,” said Ute Erdsiek-Rave, Science Minister of Schleswig-Holstein. It will allow universities and research institutions in Northern Germany to distinguish themselves even more in the scientific area. In addition, the project will also stimulate the economic sector. Jörg Dräger, Hamburg Science Senator, added: “With the XFEL, we will realize a ‘lighthouse’ project of international radiating power for Northern Germany.” As a next step, a state treaty is to be signed by the two federal states which will provide the legal basis for the facility.

Construction of the European X-ray laser project, which had been approved by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on February 5, 2003 is to start in 2006. The 3.3-kilometer-long facility will begin on the DESY site in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld and run in a north-western direction to the town of Schenefeld (district of Pinneberg), which borders on Hamburg. Here, the experimental hall with its ten measuring stations is to be erected. This site is large enough to accommodate a second experimental hall of the same size, which could be constructed at a later date beside the first hall. According to current planning, the commissioning of this facility for basic scientific research – which will be unique in Europe – will start in 2012. – The site planning for the project for particle physics TESLA, on which no decision has been taken yet, remains unaltered by these plans. More about TESLA

On February 5, 2003, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) decided that DESY should realize the X-ray free-electron laser XFEL as a European project. The ministry also announced that in view of the locational advantage, Germany is prepared to cover half of the investment costs for the XFEL. (The investment costs amount to 673 million Euro, the estimates being based on price levels in the year 2000). At the same time, a decision was postponed on the TESLA project. It was thus clear that the X-ray laser and TESLA could not be realized on the same time scale, as had been planned originally. This also implied that the intended scientific and economic synergy effects arising from establishing a new joint research campus for both projects around 20 kilometers away from DESY, can presently not be exploited. DESY therefore decided to look for a new site with a strong connection to DESY which would offer corresponding synergy effects. “We are pleased that we have found an ideally suited location for the new XFEL in the vicinity of DESY,” said Professor Dr. Albrecht Wagner, Chairman of the DESY Directorate. “No new plots of land will have to be bought for the supply buildings, we can erect them on the DESY site. In addition, we can use parts of the existing infrastructure. Looking far into the future, one could think of connecting the linear accelerator of the X-ray laser with particle accelerators already existing on the DESY site in order to open up new opportunities for science.” Until the end of 2004, the negotiations on the funding and participation in the X-ray laser project will be carried on the national and European level. In parallel, DESY will prepare the detailed planning documents required to apply for the Planfeststellungsverfahren – the procedure of the official approval of a plan. According to current planning, the ground-breaking ceremony for the facility could take place in the first half of 2006.

XFEL Exhibition in the lobby of the Hamburg City Hall

Ausstellung im Rathaus

The last panel of the X-ray laser exhibition is hung up by Senator Jörg Dräger (left), DESY Director Albrecht Wagner and Minister Ute Erdsiek-Rave. It describes the location of the XFEL.

On the occasion of the location decision, DESY presents the exhibition “The Light of the Future – The European X-Ray Laser Project at DESY” in the lobby of the Hamburg City Hall until November 19. On 48 large exhibition panels divided into three themes (“The Project in General”, “Technology and Operation”, and “Future Research Perspectives”), the exhibition describes the X-ray laser project – a project of basic scientific research unparalleled in Europe – in an accessible and descriptive way. A fourth subject area presents the research center DESY itself. Highlight of the exhibition is a 1-meter-long original accelerator structure made of the superconducting metal niobium, which was taken from a test facility. These so-called resonators have been developed and tested at DESY during the last 10 years in cooperation with the international TESLA Collaboration. The resonators form the core of the 2200-meter-long electron linear accelerator for the X-ray laser. The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday after the joint press conference by Hamburg’s Senator for Science and Research Jörg Dräger, Ph.D., the Minister of Research and Science of Schleswig-Holstein Ute Erdsiek-Rave, the Chairman of the DESY Directorate Professor Albrecht Wagner and DESY Research Director Professor Dr. Jochen Schneider.