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Australian Synchrotron


The Australian Synchrotron is a 3 GeV synchrotron radiation facility built in Melbourne, Australia and opened on 31 July 2007[1][2]. It is located on the former site of the Clayton drive-in theatre, on 800 Blackburn Rd, next to the Telstra research laboratories and across the road from the Monash University Clayton Campus.

The Australian Syncrotron is known as a 'Light Source' facility. It uses particle accelerators to produce a beam of high energy electrons which are placed within a Storage ring that circulates the electrons to create synchrotron light. The light is directed down separate beamlines at the end of which may be placed a variety of experimental equipment.


Accelerator Systems

Electron Gun:
The electrons used to provide the synchrotron light are first produced at the electron gun, by thermionic emission from a heated metal cathode. The emitted electrons are then accelerated to an energy of 90 keV (kilo-electron volts) by a 90 kilovolt potential applied across the gun and make their way into the Linear Accelerator.

Linear Accelerator:
The linear accelerator (or linac) uses a series of RF cavities, operating at a frequency of 3 GHz, to accelerate the electron beam to an energy of 100 MeV, over a distance of around 15 metres. Due to the nature of this acceleration, the beam must be separated into discrete packets, or 'bunches'. This bunching process is done at the start of the linac, using several 'bunching' cavities. The linac can accelerate a beam once every second.

Booster Synchrotron:
The booster is an electron synchrotron which takes the 100 MeV beam from the Linac and increases its energy to 3 GeV. The booster is 130 metres in circumference and contains a single 5-cell RF cavity (operating at 500 MHz) which provides energy to the electron beam. Acceleration of the beam is achieved by a simultaneous ramping up of the magnet strength and cavity fields. Each ramping cycle takes approximately 1 second (for a complete ramp up and down).

Storage Ring:
The storage ring is the final destination for the accelerated electrons. It is 216 metres in circumference and consists of 14 nearly identical sectors. Each sector consists of a straight section and an arc, with the arcs containing 2 dipole 'bending' magnets each. Each dipole magnet is a potential source of synchrotron light and most straight sections can also host an insertion device, giving the possibility of 30+ beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron. Two of the straight sections are used to host the storage ring 500 MHz RF cavities, which are essential for replacing the energy that the beam loses through synchrotron radiation. The storage ring also contains a large number of quadrupole and sextupole magnets used for beam focusing and chromaticity corrections. The ring is designed to hold 200mA of stored current with a beam lifetime of over 20 hours.

Vacuum Systems:
The electron beam is kept within a very high vacuum at all times during the acceleration process and within the storage ring. This vacuum is necessary as any beam collisions with gas molecules will quickly degrade the beam quality and reduce the lifetime of the beam. The vacuum is achieved by enclosing the beam in a stainless steel pipe system, with numerous vacuum pump systems continually working to keep the vacuum quality high. Pressure within the storage ring is typically around 10-10 millibar.

Beam Lines

Imaging and Medical Therapy
Protein Crystallography
Powder Diffraction
Small and Wide Angle Scattering
X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy
Soft X-ray Spectroscopy
Infrared Spectroscopy

Funding contributors

  • Victorian Government (Official Site)
  • Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Official Site)
  • CSIRO (Australian Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation)
  • Monash University (Official site)
  • New Zealand (New Zealand Government)
  • Queensland (Government site)
  • Western Australia (Government site)
  • Melbourne University (Official site)
  • New South Wales consortium
  • South Australia/La Trobe University consortium

See also


  1. ^ Official Opening webcast timetable & archive site, from 0020UTC 31 Jul 07
  2. ^ Scientists to unveil monster synchrotron, ABC News (Australia), 31 July 2007

  • Australian Synchrotron is at coordinates 37°54′51″S 145°08′33″E / -37.914037, 145.142591Coordinates: 37°54′51″S 145°08′33″E / -37.914037, 145.142591

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Australian_Synchrotron". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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