SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) is a third generation 2.5 GeV synchrotron-light source under construction in Allan (Jordan), modelled institutionally on CERN. It has been set up under the auspices of UNESCO. SESAME 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 Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The Observer 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.

The SESAME synchrotron and 4 of its 7 Phase I beamlines are expected to be operational in early 2016. These beamlines are the

  • 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 mainly for materials science; and
  • Macro-molecular crystallography beamline for use in structural molecular biology.

The shielding wall, which will house the main storage ring in a modern building specially constructed for SESAME, has been completed, the microtron that provides initial acceleration and injects the beam into the booster became operational in 2012, and the booster that injects the beam into the storage ring became operational in 2014.

UNESCO helps in fostering awareness and participation of its Member States and partners in the activity of SESAME, and in running and developing a training programme designed to set up, in the Middle East and neighbouring countries, a community of users of synchrotron radiation in many areas of basic and applied research in science and technology.

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