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Danish Share in the World's Most Advanced X-Ray Laser

November 30, 2009
Denmark is joining the European collaboration on XFEL, the European Free-Electron X-Ray Facility near Hamburg, a project with features that will make it possible to 'film' molecules.

Denmark is now participating in the group of European countries which, led by Germany, have joined forces to conduct a common research project for more than one billion euros.

The Danish membership of XFEL was confirmed at a signing ceremony today, Monday 30 November. This membership is an important element in the Government's objective to strengthen access by Danish researchers to the most modern research infrastructure, both in Denmark and abroad. The Danish contribution to the construction of XFEL will be nearly DKK 90 million over the period 2009-2016.

– The internationalisation of Danish research is an important condition for our ability to maintain and develop our core strengths. We need to take part when the newest and most advanced research infrastructures are being established. This is where the world's best researchers meet and new scientific breakthroughs are made, says Helge Sander, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.
– So we have good reasons to join in constructing the international research facility in Hamburg. In this way, Danish researchers may contribute expertise and know-how while gaining new knowledge and extending their international researcher network for the benefit of Danish research.

The XFEL in Hamburg is designed to meet the most advanced needs for research using powerful x-ray radiation within a variety of specialist fields and will provide researchers with a super tool capable of 'filming' molecules when completed by 2016.

In pharmaceutical products, chemicals etc., the relative position of atoms is crucial to how they work. With the new x-ray laser, it will be possible to undertake a close study of the position of atoms while they are in the process of change. In the long term, this will pave the way for designing medicine and materials with new qualities.

– The Danish membership of XFEL will strengthen our international position within the utilisation of x-ray and synchrotron radiation. A position consolidated last year by a grant of DKK 37 million for the synchrotron radiation source known as ASTRID2 at the University of Aarhus. A grant allocated from the national pool for research infrastructure, says Helge Sander.

For further comments by Science Minister Helge Sander, please contact the Ministry's Information Manager Allan Boldt, tel.: +45 33 92 97 39, abo@vtu.dk.

For further information about the XFEL facility, please contact Professor Robert Krarup Feidenhansl, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, tel.: +45 35 32 03 97, robert@fys.ku.dk.

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