12 June saw the inauguration of yet another beamline at the SESAME synchrotron light facility near Amman (Jordan). This was the HElmholtz-SEsame Beamline (HESEB) for soft X-ray light designed and constructed by a consortium of five Helmholtz Research Centers of the Helmholtz Association under the lead of DESY. HESEB is a new, state-of-the-art measuring facility for experiments with soft X-ray light that will substantially widen research opportunities for scientists from the region and enable new international collaborations with many institutions, including German institutions.
Among the dignitaries present to celebrate the event, to cut the ribbon and unveil a commemorative plaque marking the inauguration were H.E. Professor Wajih Owais, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Jordan, H.E. Mr Bernhard Kampmann, Ambassador of Germany to Jordan, Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, President of the SESAME Council, Professor Otmar Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, and Professor Helmut Dosch, Chair of the Board of Directors at DESY – on behalf of the HESEB Consortium. Also present were the Governor of Balqa Governorate, the President of the Al-Balqa’ Applied University, members of the Jordan Parliament and of the Local Council, a high-level delegation from the Helmholtz Centers, and representatives of the Turkish and United Arab Emirates community and the local community.
“Had it not been for the donation of BESSY I, none of us would be here today and SESAME would not have been born” said Dr. Khaled Toukan, Director of SESAME, when welcoming the guests. “Now, again thanks to Germany, we have this beamline that we are proud of, which I may quite confidently say will be very much in demand by users” he added, as he thanked the five research centers of the Helmholtz Association for their joint efforts that produced the beamline.
“When the SESAME project was initiated almost 20 years ago, it received the immediate support of His Majesty King Abdullah II, and we are proud to have SESAME located in Jordan and we will always give it our full support” said H.E. Professor Owais. “We are therefore very grateful to the German Government for its generous contributions and on-going support to SESAME, as we are of Germany’s support to Jordan in very many areas, and in the case of my Ministry, in higher and technical education and scientific research” he added.
The importance of the new beamline, which extends the energy range of the available radiation to soft X-rays, and whose element-specific interaction with matter allows in-depth investigations of the electronic and structural properties of a variety of samples was highlighted in a round table moderated by Ms Alexandra Rosenbach (Helmholtz Association), with the participation of Dr. Andrea Lausi (SESAME), Dr. Wolfgang Drube (DESY), Dr. Sabreen Hammouda (FZJ), Professor Zehra Sayers (Sabanci University), and Professor Kirsi Lorentz (The Cyprus Institute).
During a tour of the experimental hall that followed the round table, the guests were able to see the optical components and experimental chamber of the HESEB beamline and to observe at first hand the beam spot.
Explaining what had prompted the Helmholtz Association to provide SESAME with the HESEB beamline, Professor Wiestler said "For many years now, SESAME has been demonstrating in an impressive way how a joint research project may bring people from different countries in the Middle East together for civil research. SESAME is a true bridge builder and a beacon of science diplomacy."