Brazil to Begin Work on Third-Generat. Electron Accelerator

Hello reader!

It follows one article published day (02/20) in the english website of the Agência FAPESP informing that Brazil to begin work on third-generation electron accelerator this year.

Duda Falcão

Brazil to Begin Work on Third-Generation
Electron Accelerator This Year

By Karina Toledo
February 20, 2013

Sirius Project has an estimated
cost of R$ 650 million and is 
slated for conclusion in 2016.
The laboratory is expected to
attract prominent international
researchers (LNLS )
Agência FAPESP – The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) is slated to begin construction on a new third-generation electron accelerator, named Sirius, beginning this year.

Equipped to emit brighter radiation and generate higher-resolution images than the second-generation machine, the equipment could attract prominent international scientists, such as 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Ada Yonath (who won for her work on the structure and function of ribosomes) or American scientist Brian Kobilka (who won an award for discovering a new cell receptor in 2012), affirms the LNLS Director, Antonio José Roque da Silva.

“It will be an open facility that will meet the varied needs of scientists from many fields, including medicine, biophysics, biotechnology, molecular and structural biology, paleontology, material sciences, agriculture, and nanotechnology. If the equipment is really state of the art, it will attract leading researchers from around the world,” he said.

LNLS has allowed external scientists to use its second-generation gigaelectron volt (GeV) electron accelerator since 1997. Currently, the laboratory is part of the Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNEM) and has 16 experimental stations, also called beamlines, which serve approximately 500 research groups annually.

A portion of the equipment at the experimental stations was acquired during FAPESP-funded projects, including the beamline for structural molecular biology (MX2) and equipment for the superconducting wiggler line. Unique in Latin America, the synchrotron is capable of producing high-brilliance radiation in a range of frequencies from infrared to X-ray frequencies. This allows users to study the atomic structures that constitute a variety of materials and discover how they are distributed spatially and how they are interconnected.

“In order to understand the difference between X-rays emitted by a common machine used in medicine and the radiation emitted by the synchrotron, compare the light beam of a flashlight to that of a laser, which has a much smaller divergence,” explains Roque da Silva.

According to the director of LNLS, the same analogy can be applied to compare beams of photons emitted by a second-generation electron accelerator and a third-generation unit.

The final energy of the electrons will be more than double the current 1.37 GeV. In addition to generating light that is more intense, Sirius will also increase the beam range to hard X-rays (the penultimate on the electromagnetic spectrum, behind only gamma rays). This will make it possible to penetrate denser structures.

“Today, when studying the properties of steel, for example, it is only possible to penetrate the most superficial layer of the material. With the new accelerator, we will be able to reach the interior volume and learn how the atoms are organized,” explains Roque da Silva.

The lower divergence of the photon beam will increase the resolution of images, making it possible to take measurements with nanometre precision. “It will be possible to generate tridimensional images of a cell and its organelles,” he explained.

On the Frontiers

According to the LNLS director, the master plan for the new accelerator will be ready in July. The plan contains all of the architectural and infrastructural information needed to begin construction. The project envisages construction of up to 40 beamlines – almost triple the current capacity.

“The conceptual project is concluded. The original project was already competitive in relation to other third-generation synchrotrons, but the international committee of evaluators challenged us to develop an even bolder project. Now, it offers a series of innovations that put it at the technological frontier,” boasted Roque da Silva.

Whereas other accelerators use a system of electromagnets, Sirius will be entirely based on permanent magnets, which reduces the need for feeder cables. “We also made drastic changes to the magnetic network and the vacuum chamber. The Sirius light beam will be among the most brilliant in the world,” affirmed Roque da Silva. The estimated cost of the project, which is slated for conclusion in 2016, will be R$ 650 million. According to Roque da Silva, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI) has already invested R$ 55 million.

“MCTI considers Sirius to be one of the priority projects for the country and has been increasing its support. But we are seeking other partners,” explained Roque da Silva.

The project has also received funding from the São Paulo State government, which is committed to appropriating a 150,000 square meter lot, where the accelerator will be built alongside the existing LNLS installations.

“Building Sirius will undoubtedly be one of the Brazil´s most important actions in terms of the internationalization of science. The nucleation power of a laboratory of this scale is enormous,” mused Roque da Silva.


Source: English WebSite of the Agência FAPESP

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