Germany Current Affairs

XFEL: World’s biggest and powerful X-ray laser gun unveilded

The world’s largest and powerful X-ray laser- European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) was unveiled in Hamburg, Germany.

The first beams from XFEL were accelerated in April 2017 and first x-ray beams were produced in May 2017. It will

help scientists penetrate the inner workings of atoms, viruses and chemical reactions.

European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL)

The XFEL is lodged in series of 3.4-kilometer tunnels up to 38 metres underground near city of Hamburg. It took 8 years to build 1.5-billion-euro ($1.7 billion) facility with funding from 11 countries. It has been hailed as one of largest and most ambitious European research projects ever.

Its centrepiece boasts world’s longest 1.7 kilometres superconducting linear accelerator, designed to provide energy needed to generate X-ray flashes billion times brighter than best conventional radiation sources. It has capacity to generate extremely intense laser flashes, at rate of 27,000 per second generated by Self-Amplified Spontaneous Emission (SASE). It generates high-intensity electromagnetic radiation by accelerating electrons to relativistic speeds and directing them through special magnetic structures.

Applications

XFEL is like a camera and a microscope that will make it possible to observe tiny details and processes in the nano-world than ever before. It will help to reveal and capture in images at the sub-atomic level, promising breakthroughs and revealing secrets in medicine, biology, energy, information technology and chemistry.

It will help scientists to map the atomic details of viruses, take 3-D images of the molecular make-up of cells or film chemical reactions inside them. This will help to understand and treat illnesses. The light beams produced by the XFEL can also be bundled together to create extreme pressure and temperatures to study process inside Earth’s core.

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G-20 leaders adopt Hamburg Action Plan

The 12th G-20 summit concluded in Germany’s Hamburg city with adaptation of Hamburg Action Plan. It sets out the group’s strategy for achieving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

The action plan aims to address major global challenges, including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.

Key Highlights of Hamburg Action Plan

Tackle common challenges: G20 members resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, hunger, poverty and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.

Trade and globalisation: They stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations. They also underlined importance to boost employment by improving sustainable global supply chains, as an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth.

Continue to use all policy tools:  G20 members will use all policy tools such as monetary, fiscal and structural-  individually and collectively to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, while enhancing economic and financial resilience.

Paris Agreement: They agreed that the 2015 Paris Agreement is irreversible and reiterated the importance of fulfilment of the UNFCCC commitments by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions.

Sustainable livelihoods: G-20 members are committed to increase innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency, work towards low greenhouse-gas emission energy systems and harness digitalisation to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Global Health systems: G-20 members called for strengthening health systems and safeguarding against health crises. The leaders called on the UN to keep global health high on the political agenda and strive for cooperative action to strengthen health systems worldwide, including through developing the health workforce. The leaders also stressed on combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is a growing threat to public health and economic growth.

About Group of Twenty (G20)

The G20 is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making. It is deliberating on global economic issues and other important development challenges.

It was started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. Since them the group had played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis.

Its members include 19 countries India, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and European Union (EU). They collectively represent 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population.

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