BEATS, SESAME’s fifth beamline sees light and expands the Centre’s scientific capability

22 May, 2023
© SESAME 2023: Phase contrast reconstruction generated by combining 1000 projections of 12 ms exposure time each (left) of a vial of glass speres 300 µm in diameter positioned in front of the detector on the sample stage (right) for the first test of the BEATS beamline at SESAME.


SESAME is glad to announce that on Thursday, 11th May 2023, at 16:48, a group of its engineers and scientists successfully delivered the first X-ray photon beam to the experimental station of the BEATS (BEAmline for Tomography at SESAME) beamline. During the experiment, more than 1000 X-ray radiographic images of a rotating test sample were obtained in only 12 seconds by one of the beamline detectors. The data was collected and reconstructed by the high-performance computing facility specifically designed for the beamline and installed at SESAME in 2022, thus allowing the generation of a 3D image of the object. 

The BEATS beamline will provide full-field X-ray radiography and tomography: two powerful and non-destructive techniques for 3D imaging and analysis of a large variety of objects and materials. With its non-destructive approach, this new beamline will deliver virtual volume images that are particularly important for the Cultural Heritage and Archaeological communities. The characterization of the 3D internal microstructure offered by tomography, is also of paramount importance for an exhaustive understanding of other materials, objects, and organisms. The BEATS beamline may be used in a large range of scientific and technological applications ranging from medicine, biology, engineering, and materials science to earth and planetary sciences, thus representing a key asset for researchers in the SESAME region.

The layout of the SESAME BEATS beamline was inspired by the tomography beamline at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) and is fully optimized for absorption and phase contrast imaging. Particular attention was given to preserving the coherence of the X-rays. The X-ray source is a 3T 3-pole wiggler, which significantly increases the photon flux at X-ray energies up to 80 keV, necessary for the investigation of a broad variety of materials and samples. 

We were euphoric observing the first 3D images of BEATS only a few minutes after starting our tests […]” said the BEATS beamline scientist, Gianluca Iori. “It was the realization of four years of hard work, which made everyone at SESAME extremely proud.”  

The beamline was designed and built thanks to a European project that brought together leading research facilities in the Middle East (SESAME and The Cyprus Institute), and European synchrotron radiation facilities: ALBA-CELLS (Spain), DESY (Germany), Elettra (Italy), the ESRF (France), INFN (Italy), PSI (Switzerland) and SOLARIS (Poland). The initiative has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project was coordinated by the ESRF.

The first opportunity to submit a proposal to use the BEATS beamline will be in September 2023.


© SESAME 2023: Members of the BEATS project team of SESAME in the experimental hutch of the beamline.


BEATS project has received funding from the EU’s H2020 framework programme for research and innovation under grant agreement n°822535.