Frequently asked questions

 

What is synchrotron?

Synchrotron is a universal research device used in many fields of science. Synchrotron is used to accelerate electrons which produce light, that is electromagnetic radiation in a wide spectral range from infrared to X-ray radiation. This range provides scientists with unlimited possibilities. For specific experiments scientists can choose the wavelength that suits them best. Synchrotron radiation is used to study matter and this kind of research can be applied in such fields of science as physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, medicine, pharmacology, geology and crystallography.

What kind of synchrotron will be in Krakow?

SOLARIS synchrotron is a modern multidisciplinary research device for the entire scientific community in Poland. It consists of a source of charged particles (in this case it will be electrons), the initial electron accelerator and storage ring around which electrons revolve. SOLARIS synchrotron consists of 12 magnets so that there are 12 sources of electromagnetic radiation. In this way, there will be an opportunity to construct 12 research lines and each research line will consist of a few experimental stations.

What effects may bring the use of synchrotron?

Availability of synchrotron radiation has led for instance to the formation of significant diagnostic methods in medicine and easier research on the origin of artefacts in archaeology. What has become known when using synchrotron radiation was the content of ancient Egyptian cosmetics as well as the materials used by the ancient Romans to build the Aqueduct of Hadrian in Tunisia, which led to his better renovation.

Research on synchrotrons is also used by the food industry. The company Cadbury could be an example here. Several years ago it was commissioned by the company to do research on the production process of chocolate. With synchrotron research it has been discovered that by introducing changes in technology, you can improve the quality of this product and save a lot of energy.

Research on synchrotrons is also willingly used by pharmaceutical companies and forensic laboratories. Synchrotron is in fact a sensitive device and it can identify even the smallest particles of matter for example on the clothing of a suspect or traces of poison. One of the most interesting examples was an explanation of the cause of Ludwig van Beethoven`s death. Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory in the USA have studied six of Beethoven`s hair and they have found out that lead poisoning was the cause of his death.  The concentration of this metal in hair samples was exceeded a hundredfold.

Access to synchrotron radiation has also contributed to discoveries for which the Nobel prize was awarded three times. One of them was in chemistry for the research on the structure and function of the ribosome. Scientists explained what ribosomes look like and how they function at the atomic level, which has a crucial meaning to understand scientific foundations of life.

Who will use synchrotron in Krakow?

The (arising) centre will be a national one therefore synchrotron will be a project for the entire scientific community in Poland. The research device will be available 24 hours a day. Synchrotron in Krakow is primarily awaited by Polish scientists associated with Polish Synchrotron Radiation Society who for many years have been doing their research in centres abroad.

Will synchrotron in Krakow be more sophisticated than the ones abroad?

Synchrotron in Krakow is the third-generation synchrotron. Synchrotrons are unique and custom-made research devices. Our synchrotron is being built as twin Swedish synchrotron in Lund. Thanks to close cooperation with Swedish physicists we receive advanced know-how and expert support. The individual components for instance curved magnets that is the so called ‘heart' of synchrotron have been designed by the latest technology. This innovative solution is to replace the sequence of single electromagnets with an integrated set in a block of iron, which will significantly improve the performance of synchrotron.

Compared to other synchrotrons of similar size which function in the world, Solaris synchrotron will have favourable parameters of storage ring. See the table.

Who implements and finances the SOLARIS synchrotron project?

The project is implemented by Synchrotron Radiation Centre – the unit of the Jagiellonian University. The project was financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Innovative Economy Operational Programme 2007-2013.

How important will SOLARIS synchrotron be for Krakow and Małopolska region?

The construction of a synchrotron radiation source will totally complement a metropolitan offer of Krakow and it will certainly increase its visibility not only in Europe, but also in the world.

The establishment of such a centre will have an impact on the economic development of the region. As the experience of such centres abroad shows, the implementation of such an advanced research centre has an influence on creating new business. It is because there is an increase in the demand for services concerning the centre itself, groups doing research and companies working with them.

In addition, what can usually be observed is an increase in employment of businessmen who have been using the results of research work done in such a centre. The implementation of the project contributes to technology transfer which may have a wider application in industry. Moreover, the implementation of the project will have an impact on the development of industries connected with the service of scientists coming to synchrotron centre. It is assumed that the annual target in the centre will be up to 1,000 scientists doing their research there and at the same time using the service of hotels and gastronomy as well as taking an advantage of the cultural offer of Krakow.

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See also

Publications

Articles about Solaris synchrotron -  here

Synchrotrons around the world

Synchrotron light source facilities around the world - here