Light Source Synchrotron To Upgrade To 2.0

By Ben Hamill - October 14 2020
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Light Source Synchrotron To Upgrade To 2.0

More than 3,000 experiments have been completed at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron in Saskatoon – experiments that are helping scientists develop everything from cancer treatments to new processes in geology and biochemistry. And after 15 years in operation, the facility will now be upgraded in such a way that the synchrotron will be kitted out with a new beam at least 700 times brighter than before.

There exists many a misconception about the super-tech facility where he spends his days, and sometimes even his nights, says Saskatoon-based scientist Toby Bond. And while he says the theory that the light beam could create a black hole big enough to swallow Earth and everything else in a million-kilometer radius is no more than a common misconception and/or conspiracy theory, he cannot deny that his workplace can at times begin to feel like something out of a science fiction motion picture.

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What Exactly Does It Do?

The size of a football field and located at the University of Saskatchewan, the facility every year attracts scientists from all over the world – scientists interested in having their questions and conundrums answered and solved with the help of the beamlines and particle-accelerator technology developed by the facility.

Since the beamlines use super-bright light to see inside of objects at molecular level, scientists have been able to examine the actual chemistry of agricultural soil, study the effects of the acidity of rain on the silk of a spider, and even see right inside the rib of a T-Rex. In essence, what the beamlines do, is to help scientists study objects at a level not previously possible in terms of what the human eye is able to look at or see – at levels much more intense and detailed even than possible with X-ray technology, high-powered microscopes, etc.

A Plan Four Years In The Making

The aforementioned upgrade – dubbed CLS 2.0 – is now nearing completion and is a plan the executive team of scientists at the facility has been working on for the past 4 years.

Though the team hasn’t yet “defined” the exact nature or capacity of what the upgraded CLS 2.0 will be once the improvements have been completed, the technology now available around the world certainly holds a great deal of promise – and also for the synchrotron, says communications advisor Sandra Ribeiro.

What is already definable is that once the upgrade has been completed, the improved beamline will shine an incredible 700 times brighter than what is currently possible – making of the facility a third-generation technological facility. Though nowhere near the largest in the world, said Bond, in terms of sheer capability, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron certainly is one of the world’s most powerful. And it’s about to become even more powerful and centrally significant yet.

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