Brazil is breaking ground on construction of a US$ 325 million “light laboratory” for high energy particle studies.
The third generation Synchrotron is to be built at Campinas University campus near São Paulo, and will replace Brazil’s 15-year old device, which is still the only Synchrotron in Latina America. It will be completed by 2016.
Housed in a distinctive shell-like building and comparable to a “junior cousin” of Europe’s Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the Synchrotron accelerates electrons using high energy light particles, in order to unlock atomic secrets of cell biology, materials sciences, and other disciplines.
In fact, the Synchrotron has multiple applications including nanotechnology, crop science, biotechnology and even paleontology – in the last case helping researchers to penetrate beneath the surface of fossilized dinosaur eggs to unlock their contents with the help of advanced software.
The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS), which operates the first generation device, is managed by the Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais, and hosts some 300 research groups per year, from Brazil and across Latin America. More than 1,200 scientists use the device, which works around the clock.
Synchrotrons provide researchers with high energy beams of light or photons using different frequencies, from infra-red through X-rays, gamma rays, hard X-rays and beyond.
The new device, known as Sirius, should have some components completed by July 2013, according to Antonio José Roque da Silva, the director of LNLS operations. According to Dr Roque da Silva, Brazil is building its own components for the new device, which is designed to meet or exceed the standards available internationally. One day, hopes Dr Roque da Silva, Brazil may win its first Nobel Prize thanks to research carried out with the new device.
Construction of a third generation synchrotron — comparable to the ALBA device built in Spain which opened in 2010 with seven beam lines — will put Brazil into the restricted club of nations running advanced “light laboratories” and will accelerate international cooperation. The new device will have 13 beam lines. Most of the components are designed, built and maintained by Brazilian scientists.
The Sirius Synchrotron will have a 3 GeV source to replace the existing one. The design had a target emittance of 2.8 nm.rad and used permanent magnet dipoles. Several prototypes of the magnets and vacuum chambers have been built and tested. Sirius will cover the range 10 eV to 100 keV with undulators and wigglers. The new lattice has 5-bend achromatic cells and emittance of 280 pm.rad.
During the first meeting of the Sirius machine advisory committee it was decided to upgrade the specifications of the storage ring in order to assure that the new synchrotron light source will remain state of the art for at least a decade after its inauguration.
Funding for the project comes from Brazil’s ministry of science, technology and innovation (MCTI) and from São Paulo state, and from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).