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Arizona State University Receives $10 Million for CXFEL Lab

Arizona State University has received a $10 million gift to enable the completion of the Beus Compact X-ray Free Electron Laser (CXFEL) Lab.

Donated by Leo and Annette Beus, the gift will fund the first-of-its-kind X-ray technology in the world, which has potential applications in medicine, the “green” renewable energy economy, the computer industry and beyond, the university said in a statement.

“With this most recent investment, they will spur the development of a brilliant, home-grown ASU X-ray technology that has a vast potential for life-altering, worldwide impact,” Michael Crow, ASU president, said.

In 2010, two ASU scientists, John Spence and Petra Fromme, were part of a worldwide team to develop the first theory and methodology to dig deeper into the biological world using XFELs.

Now under construction within ASU’s Biodesign Institute, the CXFEL lab will offer cutting-edge performance, with wide availability and ease of use in hospital or industrial settings.

“The whole laser beamline is just 30 feet long, but it will deliver a performance similar to the big XFELs,” William Graves, the master designer and builder of the new compact XFEL, said.

“Because we came up with these ideas and ASU had the vision to execute this project, we’re going to be the first ones to develop the CXFEL. We think they will spread throughout the world after we demonstrate this first one.”

In the past, the Beuses have been instrumental in setting up the Beus Center for Law and Society, in supporting Sun Devil Athletics and in providing scholarships to students to make a college education from ASU more accessible and affordable.

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