Shining a light on the Australian Synchrotron’s $100M BRIGHT beamlines

A special inaugural event held by ANSTO at its Australian Synchrotron for more than 30 funding organisations has showcased the first of the $100 million BRIGHT Program’s brand new, state-of-the-art beamlines.

The event, at the Clayton facility in Melbourne on Friday 9 December, also marked the official welcoming of the BRIGHT Program’s latest funding partnership with the University of South Australia as the 32nd contributor to provide additional capital funding for the construction of new beamlines.

Since 2018, the BRIGHT Program has received joint funding from leading Australian universities and medical research institutes, New Zealand government, universities and crown research institutes, via the New Zealand Synchrotron Group, and the Australian government through the CSIRO, Defence Science and Technology Group, and ANSTO.

The program is enabling the design, installation, and commissioning of eight new beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron to meet the growing demand of these sophisticated technologies by Australian and international researchers and industry partners.

Read more on the ANSTO website

Image: Prof Michael James, Senior Principal Scientist , Australian Synchrotron and Prof Enzo Lombi  of the University of South Australia. UniSA has announced funding support for the program.

Experiment reveals new options for synchrotron light sources

An international team has shown through a sensational experiment how diverse the possibilities for employing synchrotron light sources are. Accelerator experts from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the German federal metrology institute Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), and Tsinghua University in Beijing have used a laser to manipulate electron bunches at PTB’s Metrology Light Source so that they emitted intense light pulses having a laser-like character. Using this method, specialised synchrotron radiation sources would potentially be able to fill a gap in the arsenal of available light sources and offer a prototype for industrial applications. The work was published on 24 February 2021 in the leading scientific publication Nature.

The most modern light sources for research are based on particle accelerators. These are large facilities in which electrons are accelerated to almost the speed of light, and then emit light pulses of a special character. In storage-ring-based synchrotron radiation sources, the electron bunches travel in the ring for billions of revolutions, then generate a rapid succession of very bright light pulses in the deflecting magnets. In contrast, the electron bunches in free-electron lasers (FELs) are accelerated linearly and then emit a single super-bright flash of laser-like light. Storage ring sources as well as FEL sources have facilitated advances in many fields in recent years, from deep insights into biological and medical questions to materials research, technology development, and quantum physics.

Combining the virtues of both systems

Now a Sino-German team has shown that a pattern of pulses can be generated in a synchrotron radiation source that combines the advantages of both systems. The synchrotron source delivers short, intense microbunches of electrons that produce radiation pulses having a laser-like character (as with FELs), but which can also follow each other closely in sequence (as with synchrotron light sources).

Read more on the HZB website

Image credit: © Tsinghua University