Pioneering SESAME light source circulates first beam

12 January, 2017

Allan, Jordan, 12 January 2017. A beam circulated for the first time in the pioneering SESAME synchrotron at 18:12 (UTC+2) yesterday.  Following the first single turn, the next steps will be to achieve multi-turns, store and then accelerate a beam

This is an important milestone on the way to research getting underway at the first light-source  laboratory  in  the  Middle  East.  SESAME  was  established  under  the auspices  of  UNESCO  before  becoming  a  fully  independent  intergovernmental organisation in its own right in 2004. SESAME’s Members are  Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. Its mission is  to  provide  a  world-class  research  facility  for  the  region,  while  fostering international scientific cooperation. The first call for proposals to carry out research at SESAME was recently issued.

This  is  a  very  proud  moment  for  the  entire  SESAME  community,” said Professor Khaled Toukan, SESAME Director. “SESAME is now opening for business.

SESAME,  which  stands  for  Synchrotron-light  for  Experimental  Science  and Applications in the Middle East, is a light-source; a particle accelerator-based facility that uses electromagnetic radiation emitted by circulating electron beams to study a range of properties of matter. Experiments at SESAME will enable research in fields ranging from medicine and biology, through materials science, physics and chemistry to healthcare, the environment, agriculture and archaeology. 

Today’s milestone follows a series of key events, including the establishment of a Middle East Scientific Collaboration group in the mid-1990s. This was followed by the  donation  of  the  BESSY1  accelerator  by  the  BESSY  laboratory  in  Berlin.  Refurbished and upgraded components of BESSY1 now serve as the injector for the completely new SESAME main ring, which is a competitive third-generation light source built by SESAME with support from the SESAME Members themselves, the European Commission, CERN and Italy.

This  is  a  great  day  for  SESAME,”  said  Professor  Sir  Chris  Llewellyn-Smith, President of the SESAME Council. “It’s  a  tribute  to  the  skill  and  devotion  of  the scientists  and  decision-makers  from  the  region  who  have  worked  tirelessly  to  make scientific  collaboration  between  countries  in  the  Middle  East  and  neighbouring regions a reality.

The first circulating beam is an important step on the way to first light, which marks the start of the research programme at any new synchrotron light-source facility, but there is much to be done before experiments can get underway. Beams have to be accelerated to SESAME’s operating energy of 2.5 GeV. Then the light emitted as the beams circulate has to be channelled along SESAME’s two day-one beam lines and optimised for the experiments that will take place there. This process is likely to take around six months, leading to first experiments in the summer of 2017.  In the meantime, scientists wishing to carry out research at SESAME are encouraged to   submit   their   proposals   following   the   procedure   described   at link

Clarissa Formosa-Gauci

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The SESAME main ring.
The SESAME main ring.
The bright red spot on this display shows the passage of the first beam to circulate in the SESAME main ring.
The bright red spot on this display shows the passage of the first beam to circulate in the SESAME main ring.