SESAME hosts its first users

 Kirsi Lorentz and her research team

© Kirsi Lorentz, The Cyprus Institute: Kirsi Lorentz and her research team (from left to right: Yuko Miyauchi, Grigoria Ioannou, Kirsi Lorentz and Iosif Hafez) at the XAFS/XRF beamline control hutch

Yuko Miyauchi,  Kirsi Lorentz and her research team

© Yuko Miyauchi, The Cyprus Institute: Kirsi Lorentz positioning the detector and mounting a sample for study in the experimental hutch of the XAFS/XRF beamline

© Grigoria Ioannou, The Cyprus Institute: Kirsi Lorentz and Yuko Miyauchi preparing to mount a sample for study in the experimental hutch of the XAFS/XRF beamline

Allan, Jordan, 3 August 2018. On 17 July, the first users arrived at SESAME to perform experiments using the Centre’s XAFS/XRF (X-ray absorption fine structure/X-ray fluorescence) spectroscopy beamline, SESAME’s first beamline to come into operation.

This was the Finnish Kirsi Lorentz and three of her colleagues at The Cyprus Institute: the Cypriot Grigoria Ioannou, the Japanese Yuko Miyauchi and the Greek/Egyptian Iosif Hafez, who together form a true international team in the spirit of SESAME.

Kirsi is the author of one of the 19 proposals from 5 of the SESAME Members (Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey) that have been recommended for a total of 95.8 hour shifts on the XAFS/XRF beamline by SESAME’s Proposal Review Committee (PRC). The PRC is an international advisory body that evaluates the scientific and technological merit of proposals from the General Users and determines their priority using criteria based on IUPAP’s Recommendations for the Use of Major Physics Users Facilities.

“This heralds in a new stage in SESAME’s march forward, and for scientists in the SESAME Members and the region it is the tangible beginning of a moment from when it becomes possible to carry out state-of-the-art research in the region” said Khaled Toukan, Director of SESAME.

 “It is a unique opportunity and a real honour to be the first user of a synchrotron light facility - a research visit to remember” said Kirsi, who is examining ancient human remains from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East, adding “we are very excited with the results we obtained at the SESAME XAFS/XRF beamline, and grateful to all those who have worked so hard to bring this crucial research facility into operation in our region”.

In the words of Messaoud Harfouche, the XAFS/XRF beamline scientist, “by combining the quick setup of the experiment and the easy control of the data acquisition system through a friendly user interface the performance of the beamline meets the aspirations of the users, and SESAME is looking forward to shortly receiving the authors of the remaining 18 proposals”.

Fifty-five proposals had been received in response to Call ‘O’ for beam time on the XAFS/XRF and IR (Infrared) spectromicroscopy beamlines. They were from the region (Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey), but also from beyond (Colombia, France, Italy, Kenya and Sweden), thereby pointing to the interest in using SESAME.

“It is gratifying to see users now starting to use SESAME’s beamlines” said SESAME Scientific Director Giorgio Paolucci “and it seems appropriate for the first project to have been one focussed on archaeology given how very rich the SESAME region is in archaeological sites and artefacts, as well as other ancient physical remains”.

Rolf Heuer, the President of the SESAME Council, congratulated SESAME on this milestone visit, and stated “the Council is now eagerly waiting to learn of Kirsi’s scientific results and that of the users who will follow her, and has asked that a few users be invited to present their work at one of the Council’s meetings”.