With BEATS, the fifth beamline at the SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) synchrotron was ceremoniously inaugurated on 6 June 2023. SESAME, operating since 2017, is an intergovernmental laboratory located near Amman (Jordan) and the only synchrotron facility in the Middle East and neighbouring regions.
The new BEATS (BEAmline for Tomography at Sesame) beamline will provide full-field X-ray radiography and tomography techniques, thus considerably extending the scientific possibilities of the Facility and the research opportunities in the region. BEATS first delivered synchrotron light to its experimental station on 11 May 2023, a success that is now being celebrated.
BEATS was designed, built and successfully commissioned thanks to a European project that brought together leading research facilities in the Middle East (SESAME and The Cyprus Institute), and European synchrotron radiation facilities: ALBA-CELLS (Spain), DESY (Germany), Elettra (Italy), the ESRF (France), INFN (Italy), PSI (Switzerland) and SOLARIS (Poland). The initiative has been funded through a 6 million euro grant by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 822535. The project, which started in 2019, was coordinated by the ESRF.
Two powerful techniques for non-destructive 3D imaging
Indeed, BEATS will offer two kinds of powerful experimental 3D imaging techniques that are new at SESAME: full-field X-ray radiography and tomography. They will be helpful for the analysis of a large variety of objects and materials and thus offer the opportunity to study an impressive range of scientific questions in the areas of medicine, biology, engineering, and materials science, as well as earth and planetary sciences. Thanks to its non-destructive approach, the new beamline is of particular importance for the study of cultural heritage and archaeological samples, thus constituting a key asset for researchers in the SESAME region.
“BEATS enhances the visibility and international recognition of the Middle East’s scientific community,” says Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Ambassador of the EU to Jordan. “It will attract collaborations and partnerships with researchers from around the world.”
Jordan’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Azmi Mahafzah adds that Jordan is proud to be the host country of SESAME: “Since the beginning, the SESAME project received the full support of His Majesty King Abdullah II. We are also very grateful to the European Union for its generous contributions and on-going support to SESAME.”
In parallel with the inauguration of the new beamline, SESAME is organizing the first edition of the “BEATS X-ray tomography lectures & training course” that is being held on its premises on 6 – 7 June. Its objective is to train a group of early users from the region and so enable them to use the new beamline effectively.
The first opportunity for scientists to submit a proposal to use the BEATS beamline will be in September 2023.
“SESAME brings together researchers from different countries in the Middle East and neighbouring regions. BEATS will facilitate these important regional cooperations and strengthen yet more the knowledge exchange between scientists,” says Rolf-Dieter Heuer, President of the SESAME Council. “The growth of scientific knowledge and expertise in turn contributes to economic development, innovation, and competitiveness of the region as a whole.”
“BEATS adds new analytical capabilities to SESAME’s research portfolio. Tomographic X-ray microscopy will allow the non-destructive investigation of unique samples and will provide a formidable research tool for many scientific areas,” went on to say Khaled Toukan, Director of SESAME.
Read more on the SESAME website
Image: Dignitaries formally inaugurate BEATS. Cutting the ribbon are (left to right): Prof. Azmi Mahafzah, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Jordan, SESAME Director, Khaled Toukan and H.E. Ms Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Ambassador of the European Union to Jordan.
Credit: SESAME 2023