The Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) is the first international center of its kind in the Middle East. It is a third generation 2.5 GeV synchrotron-light source, located in Allan, Balqa Governorate, modelled institutionally on CERN. It was created under the auspices of UNESCO and came into existence as a fully independent intergovernmental organization on 15 April, 2004.

SESAME was officially opened on 16 May, 2017 and aims at both:

  • Enabling world-class research in its Members in subjects ranging from biology and medical sciences through materials science, physics and chemistry to archaeology; and
  • Building scientific and cultural bridges between neighbouring countries, promoting mutual understanding and tolerance through international cooperation, and fostering a regional community of scientific users who will work together at SESAME.

The Members of SESAME are currently Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The observer countries are France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The SESAME synchrotron and 3 of its 7 Phase I beamlines are expected to be operational in 2017. These are as follows:

  •  X-ray absorption fine structure/X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy beamline for basic materials science, as well as applications in materials and environmental science on the micrometre scale;
  • Infrared spectromicroscopy beamline for molecular biology, environmental studies, materials, and archaeological sciences;
  • Materials science beamline intended for materials science; and
  • Macro-molecular crystallography beamline for use in structural molecular biology.

UNESCO supports in raising awareness and participation of its SESAME Members and partners and in developing and administering a training programme designed to establish a community of users of synchrotron radiation in many areas of basic and applied research in science and technology, in the Middle East and neighbouring countries.


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