Basic information

About synchrotrons

schemat pokazujący, jak powstaje światło synchrotronowe

A synchrotron is an electron accelerator and a source of remarkable synchrotron light. Particle accelerators are research tools which accelerate elementary particles with an electrical charge to speeds approaching the speed of light. In synchrotrons at the moment that the particles change their trajectory, they emit a stream of photons. The brightness of synchrotron light is more than a billion times greater than the light of the Sun. This radiation encompasses a wide spectrum of electromagnetic waves, from infrared to X-rays. These waves can be filtered and directed into a number of beamlines for the purposes of a wide variety of analyses.

Synchrotrons allow us to look into the depths of matter itself, and carry out precise analyses. Thanks to synchrotrons, scientists study not only the composition of a given substance, but also its structure – the light of the synchrotron can penetrate into the studied material. It can reproduce hidden layers or fragments of them with any level of detail, without damaging the surface layers. Synchrotron radiation also stimulates processes taking place in the material, and can bring about changes in the studied material.

Synchrotrons open up completely new research possibilities. Thanks to them, we can carry out analyses which were previously impossible. Synchrotrons also allow us to obtain better results than those from studies carried out using traditional methods. The synchrotron is currently the most versatile research tool possessed in the natural and technical sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, materials engineering, nanotechnology, medicine, pharmacology, geology, or crystallography. The possibilities of the synchrotron are limited only by the imagination of the researcher.

About SOLARIS synchrotron

The SOLARIS synchrotron is the most modern and largest multidisciplinary research tool in Poland. It outstanding capabilities place it firmly at the cutting edge of devices of this type. As a strategic investment for the development of science, it has been included in the Polish Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.

The National Centre for Synchrotron Radiation functions under the auspices of Jagiellonian University. It is located on the Third Campus, the so-called Campus of the 600th Anniversary of the Jagiellonian University Revival, in the southern part of Krakow. It neighbours the Krakow Technology Park special economic zone. The Centre was built between 2010 and 2015. The investment was co-financed by the European Union with funds from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the Innovative Economy Operational Programme for 2007-2013.

The main components of the SOLARIS machine are: an electron gun, a linear accelerator (linac), a transfer line and a storage ring with beamlines.

The electron gun generates the electron beam. The beam is created by a heated cathode located in a vacuum. Heating causes the electrons to gain energy, which allows them to „evaporate" into the linear accelerator. The linear accelerator, or the linac, accelerates the electron beam. It is made up of six accelerating structures, magnets which focus and correct the trajectories of the beams and their diagnostic elements.The accelerator works in a nearly perfect vacuum.

The storage ring is the heart of the synchrotron, consisting of 12 electromagnets. At one time approximately a billion electrons are injected into the ring. They are accelerated to the SOLARIS synchrotron's default energy of 1.5 GeV. Simultaneously, the electromagnets bend the trajectory of the beams, so that they flow around the ring. Each time the trajectory of the beam is bent, a stream of photons, or synchrotron light, appears.

The beamlines are attached to the storage ring of the synchrotron in the places where the synchrotron light appears, in other words where the electromagnets bend the trajectory of the electron beam. The lines and their end-stations modify the synchrotron light so that they best serve the needs of the research which is being carried out.


SOLARIS synchrotron booklet