Sirius, the new Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source, will be the largest and most complex scientific infrastructure ever built in the country and one of the first 4th-generation Synchrotron Light Sources in the World. It is planned to put Brazil in a leading position in the production of Synchrotron Light and is designed to be the brightest of all the equipment in its energy class.
Synchrotron Light Sources are the most sophisticated example of an open and multidisciplinary research infrastructure and is a key tool for the resolution of issues important to the Brazilian academic and industrial communities. The versatility of a Synchrotron Light Source enables the development of research in strategic areas such as energy, food, environment, health, defense and many others.
That is why this technology becomes increasingly popular around the world. It is also the reason why countries with strong, technology-based economies already either have one or more Synchrotron Light Sources, or are building them.
Environment and Agriculture
In agriculture, Synchrotron Radiation may be used for soil analysis and for the development of more efficient and cheaper fertilizers that are, at the same time, less harmful to the environment and health. Synchrotron Light Sources have application also in the mapping of the concentration, location and bioavailability of nutrients in plant species.
Energy and Materials
In the Energy sector, the use of Synchrotron Light allows the development of new technologies for exploration of oil and natural gas, and for the understanding and development of materials and systems for solar cells, fuel cells and batteries as well as in the research of new, lighter and more efficient, materials.
Health and Pharmaceuticals
In the Health area, research in synchrotron are essential for the identification of the structures of proteins and complex intracellular units, an important step in the development of new drugs, as well as for the development of nanoparticles for the diagnosis of cancer and fighting viruses and bacteria.
Synchrotron Light, or Radiation, is a type of electromagnetic radiation that spans a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum – from infrared light, to ultraviolet radiation and x-rays. Synchrotron light is produced when charged particles, accelerated to speeds approaching the speed of light, have their trajectory deflected by magnetic fields. The Synchrotron Light Source is a large machine, capable of controlling the movement of these charged particles, typically electrons, to produce Synchrotron Light.
The current Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source, UVX, allows users to perform research using most of the possible experimental techniques provided by this kind of technology, with the use of infrared light, ultraviolet radiation and x-rays.
Despite its high reliability and stability, UVX no longer fully meets the needs of researchers. The number of experimental stations installed in the current physical space has reached its limit, and the technical parameters of the machine does not allow scientists to perform many advanced experiments.
The frontier of scientific production demand the use of updated tools that prove competitive against other similar scientific facilities. High Brightness Synchrotron Light Sources represent what today is most modern technology for the observation of organic and inorganic materials.
Thus, to maintain the Brazilian research infrastructure competitive, both for academic researchers and for companies that develop technology, the LNLS has worked since 2008 in the design and development of a new synchrotron light source that meets the current scientific and technological needs of the researchers.
Sirius will not only provide twice the energy to the electron beams than UVX, but also will keep the electron beam divergence, also called emittance, about 360 times smaller. This combination will make the brightness of the synchrotron radiation emitted at certain frequencies over a billion times higher than what is now available to researchers.
In the UVX, the energy of the light beam allows the analysis of only the surface layer of hard, dense materials, since the lower energy X-rays penetrate only a few micrometers within these materials. The higher energy of Sirius will allow these same materials to be analyzed at depths of up to a few centimeters. This is fundamental to the study of steel and other metals, as well as concrete and rocks, which will have a positive impact, for example, on the studies of the pre-salt layer for petroleum exploration.
The characteristics of the current Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source does not allow the investigation of certain chemical elements such as the important class of rare earths, which can only be effectively investigated with light sources such as Sirius.
The focusing of X-ray beams to a reduced size, which can reach the order of micrometer or even nanometer, is also an advantage of the new synchrotron source. In Sirius will allow experiments in which the X-ray beam reaches the sample with intensity and at the same time extremely focused, which will have decisive impact over experiments in biotechnology and nanotechnology.