08.09.2014 - Natural Sciences Sector

SESAME’S 800 MeV Booster Synchroton is now in operation

© SESAME - SESAME's Booster 2014

On 3 September 2014, the SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) booster came into full operation. This success opens the path for the final goal, which is to make SESAME the first operational Synchrotron Light Source in the region. It will be operated by a truly international research centre that will foster a regional community of scientific users, thus building scientific and cultural bridges in the Middle East.

When it starts operations in early 2016, SESAME will provide a vast scientific potential for scientists from the Middle East and neighbouring countries, enabling them to determine the structure of complex biologically active molecules and viruses to improve medical remedies, to get insight into the interior and the three-dimensional micro-structure of objects such as materials of primary importance for high technologies, cultural heritage and archaeology, or to investigate magnetisation processes which are highly relevant for magnetic data storage, to cite just a few examples.

Successfully having brought SESAME’s booster to full operation is of particular significance since this is the first high-energy accelerator in the Middle East, and this achievement with the booster is to be attributed to a team of young scientists and technicians from the region for whom accelerator technology is a new field.

The booster is the second stage of acceleration of SESAME’s machine. The first is the microtron that became operational in 2012. It produces electrons and accelerates them to 20 MeV (Million Electron Volt). The electrons are then transferred to the booster, where they are accelerated to their final energy of 800 MeV.

From the booster, electrons will be passed through a transfer line to a storage ring (currently under construction) that on each fill will keep an electron beam of 400 mA at 2.5 GeV (Giga Electron Volt) circulating for hours. Bending magnets on the storage ring will force the electrons to change trajectory as they circulate, causing them to emit synchrotron light. The synchrotron light will be directed towards the beamlines which surround the storage ring and are connected to it. Each beamline is designed for use with a specific technique or for a specific type of research.

Modelled institutionally on CERN – with different scientific goals – and set up under the auspices of UNESCO, SESAME is an intergovernmental facility built in Jordan. SESAME’s Members are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The Observers countries are Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

UNESCO serves on the Council of SESAME, which is the governing body of the Centre, and helps to promote partnerships within the Centre's programmes and among its Members as an instrument to empower them to enhance their basic and applied scientific knowledge and technology, harness science and technology innovations for sustainable development, and construct the defences of peace in the minds of people through cooperation in the sciences, education and intercultural dialogue in a region that calls for international solidarity and action.

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