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The Australian Synchrotron

A Landmark National Research Facility Shining Light Across a Diverse Scientific Landscape


Professor Michael James

Australian Synchrotron, Clayton

3:30 pm Friday, 13 June 2014, EN515 Lecture Theatre (EN Building), Hawthorn.

The Australian Synchrotron is one of Australia's premier research facilities and, at over $200 million, represents one of the biggest single investments in scientific excellence in the nation's history. Operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Synchrotron produces intense beams of X-ray and infrared light at experimental endstations, providing unique experimental capability.
The Australian Synchrotron is not only an experimental facility, staffed by ~130 scientists, engineers, technicians, and other staff to support and engage with the visiting scientific user community. At its heart are two highly tuned electron accelerators: a 100 million volt (MeV) linear accelerator that sets packets of electrons moving at relativistic speeds just under the speed of light, and the 3 billion volt (3 GeV) booster synchrotron that increases their mass by a factor of ~60. As these high-energy packets of electrons interact with specialised magnetic devices that steer and focus the electron beam around the synchrotron storage ring they generate intense beams of synchrotron light that are used for a huge range of research applications.
Since commencing user operations in 2007 the Australian Synchrotron has become an integral part of the Australian and New Zealand research landscape. The facility has now supported over 20,000 user visits resulting in scientific research that has already had a significant and lasting impact. Research performed at the Australian Synchrotron has led to world-leading results in: medical and life sciences, including key insights into diseases such as malaria and diabetes; advanced materials and engineering, including drug delivery systems and new classes of electronics; advances in agriculture and nutrition; earth and environmental sciences; and new energy technologies including systems for CO2 reduction, batteries and hydrogen storage materials.
But it is not just the raw numbers that are impressive. Access to the world-class facilities at the Australian Synchrotron creates an opportunity for research that can't be done any other way. As a result some of the best in research from Australia, New Zealand and beyond has been facilitated by access to the Australian Synchrotron. This presentation will touch upon the basics of synchrotron science, and present a diverse range of examples of the facility's impact across the scientific landscape.




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