POSTECH News

POSTECH & PAL, 3rd in the world to produce XFEL

2016-07-27582

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The fourth generation light source at Pohang Accelerator Laboratory, the PAL-XFEL, has successfully produced an ‘x-ray free-electron laser’ (XFEL), which is considered by many to be the “dream light.” Following the United States and Japan, Korea has become the third country now that owns one of the most advanced tools to explore the unknown territories of science and technology.

The laser’s successful production at the PAL-XFEL only took two months (April 2016 – June 2016) after the first trial run on April 14, whereas it took the US two years and Japan four months. The laser was first observed on June 14th and confirmed on the 29th by the external verification committee on field inspection.

The XFEL has an extremely short wavelength, a speed faster than lightening, and the brightness 10 billion times greater than the 3rd generation light source (10 quadrillion times of the sunlight). It allows scientists to observe matter at nanoscale levels and capture moments as short as one ten-trillionth of a second in which molecules are bonding and breaking. The XFEL is extremely useful in the examination and analysis of protein structures and molecular chemical reactions that require utmost sensitivity. 

It is believed that the laser will open the road to revolutionary breakthroughs in scientific research, particularly in green energy technologies as well as development of new materials and medicines.