The European XFEL is a research facility currently under construction in the Hamburg area, Germany. From 2017 on, it will generate extremely intense X-ray flashes to be used by researchers from all over the world.
The European XFEL will open up completely new areas of experimentation. Its X-ray flashes will allow scientists to map atomic details of viruses, film chemical reactions and study the processes in the interior of planets. A brief overview on how the facility will operate can be found here: How does it work?
In December 2014 the UK government announced that the UK would invest up to £30M (about 38 M€) to become a full member of the European XFEL as the result of the input received to the BIS Capital Consultation exercise. The UK will become the 12th member of the European XFEL project, joining Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. STFC is now working with the European XFEL project and the other partners to negotiate UK membership.
The European XFEL is being constructed by the European XFEL GmbH. The construction costs for the facility, which include the commissioning phase, amount to 1.15B€ (price levels of 2005).
A lot of images can be found on the XFEL website.