A synchrotron is a source of brilliant light that scientists can use to gather information about the structural and chemical properties of materials at the molecular level.
A synchrotron produces light by using radio frequency waves and powerful electro-magnets to accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light. Energy is added to the electrons as they accelerate so that, when the magnets alter their course, they naturally emit a very brilliant, highly focused light. Different spectra of light, such as Infrared, Ultraviolet, and X-rays, are directed down beamlines where researchers choose the desired wavelength to study their samples. The researchers observe the interaction between the light and matter in their sample at the endstations (small laboratories).
This tool can be used to probe matter and analyze a host of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes. Information obtained by scientists can be used to help design new drugs, examine the structure of surfaces to develop more effective motor oils, build smaller, more powerful computer chips, develop new materials for safer medical implants, and help with the clean-up of mining wastes, to name just a few applications.Download a pdf of this page
About the CLS synchrotron
The CLS is Canada’s national centre for synchrotron research. Located at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, the CLS is a world-class, state-of-the-art facility that is advancing Canadian science, enhancing the competitiveness of Canadian industry and contributing to the quality of life of people around the world. READ MORE ⇣
Launched in 1999 and officially opened in 2004, the synchrotron is one of the largest science projects in Canadian history and was the product of an unprecedented collaboration of federal, provincial and municipal governments and agencies, universities from across the country and industry.
The CLS is committed to being a world-leading centre of excellence in synchrotron science and its applications by working with the scientific community to promote the use of synchrotron light, promoting industrial partnerships and innovation, and engaging in scientific and educational outreach.
Currently, the CLS has just under 200 employees including scientists, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel. Located next to Innovation Place, one of Canada’s leading high-tech industrial parks, the CLS provides a much-needed national R&D capability and strengthens Saskatoon’s reputation as Canada’s “Science City.”
The mission of the CLS encourages excellence in both basic and applied science, with the mandate to grow the Canadian synchrotron research community and be responsive to its needs. This is accomplished through leadership by an independent board of directors that emphasizes the facility’s national character, with representation from government, universities and industry, as well as advisory committees made up of leading scientists from across Canada and around the world.
Access to the CLS for scientists doing basic research is through a peer-review process that encourages excellence and originality in the science done at Canada’s synchrotron. Research time is also reserved on each beamline for fee-for-service access by industry.
This tool can be used to probe matter and analyze a host of physical, chemical, geological and biological processes. Information obtained by scientists can be used to help design new drugs, examine the structure of surfaces to develop more effective motor oils, build smaller, more powerful computer chips, develop new materials for safer medical implants, and help with clean-up of mining wastes, to name just a few applications.
More than 40 synchrotron light sources have been built around the world. The Canadian synchrotron is competitive with the brightest facilities in Japan, the U.S. and Europe.
CLS was built in three phases: Phase I included the building, the rings, and several beamlines at a cost of $174M; Phase II added seven more beamlines ($56M) including the much-lauded Biomedical Imaging and Therapy beamlines; Phase III, currently under way, adds six more beamlines at an estimated cost of $65M
More than 3,000 scientists have used the CLS more than 5,000 times.
Beamlines carry the synchrotron light to scientific work stations that operate 24 hours per day, 6 days per week, approximately 42 weeks of the year.
The first synchrotrons were additions to facilities built to study subatomic physics. Synchrotron light was an annoyance to those researchers because it meant their electron beams lost energy every time they went through a bending magnet. However, the remarkable qualities of this light were soon recognized and researchers began to come up with ways to use it.
CLS utility costs are approximately $1.8M annually including electricity, steam and water. When we are operating the facility with stored beam, consumption is approximately 3.2-3.5 megawatts to produce approximately 200 kW of synchrotron radiation. This translates to approximately $1,000 worth of electricity daily.
The six-storey building (Phase I construction) required 1,300 tons of steel and enough concrete to build 160 1,200-square-foot homes. This concrete base has more than 700 piles each 10-20m deep with vibrational isolation from the foundation for the walls in order to ensure stability.
An economic impact study estimated that CLS operations directly contributed almost $90M to the Canadian GDP. This means that for every dollar of CLS operating funding (approximately $23M) our operations contributed three to the Canadian economy.
Though a synchrotron is not the only way to generate IR, UV or X-Ray light, we experience substantial benefits in brightness, experiment quality and speed, along with increased ability to select specific light wavelengths. Synchrotron light is emitted when the path of an electron beam is altered via extremely powerful magnets. . READ MORE ⇣
Brightness or Flux
If you were to expose a 1 mm2 sample, similar to what a researcher might put under a regular light microscope, to a number of different light sources and measure the amount of energy the matter in that sample interacted with, you would find that the energy generated by a synchrotron using insertion devices is considerably higher than what is produced by other light sources.
Generally speaking, synchrotron sources pack more photons into a smaller beam of light. This offers researchers more information about their sample and makes a greater variety of techniques available to use to learn about their sample.
In situ experiments
Another advantage to some synchrotron techniques is the ability to conduct experiments in situ, or as they are – without treatment. There are a number of research techniques that require the scientist to treat their sample (crush it; make a solution; slice it; etc). While this is also required for some synchrotron techniques, there are also some that allow for the sample to be analyzed without treatment or with less treatment, which can be a significant advantage.
Tuneability or ability to select specific light
By producing high flux light across a significant portion of the spectrum, a synchrotron offers many different techniques to researchers in one building. In order to gather information, the wavelength of the light has to be appropriate for the size of the matter of interest. Shorter wavelengths allow scientists to gather information about smaller things.
In addition, each element absorbs energy at a known level. Being able to select a specific wavelength, or range of wavelengths, allows researchers the flexibility to direct their research towards specific questions.
Due to the extreme brightness of the light, it does not take as long to conduct the same experiment using a synchrotron source of light as it does with a ‘table top’ source for some techniques.
How does a Synchrotron work?
As a third generation synchrotron, the CLS is comprised of several components including the Electron Gun, Linear Accelerator, Booster Ring, and Storage Ring. Each of these sections contributes to producing a beam of synchrotron light, which is then harnessed in a beamline, using an optics hutch, experimental hutch and work stations. READ MORE ⇣
Electron Gun & Linear Accelerator
The Electron Gun begins the process by running high voltage electricity through a heated tungsten button, electrons are boiled out and enter the Linear Accelerator (LINAC). These electrons are then accelerated to 99.999998% of the speed of light using microwave radio frequency cavities. READ MORE ⇣
The process begins in the basement where high voltage electricity passing through a heated cathode produces pulses of electrons. Heating the cathode to incandescence gives some electrons enough energy to leave the surface (essentially boils them off). The high voltage (approximately 200,000 volts – a car battery has only 12 volts!) repels the electrons, accelerating them toward the Linear Accelerator, or LINAC.
The source of the electrons, the cathode, is a tungsten-oxide disk (tungsten is the same material as light bulb filaments). As electricity flows through the disk, it will heat it until electrons are emitted (at about 1,000 °C). A nearby screen is given a short, strong positive charge (125 times per second) which pulls the electrons away from the disk. The system is similar to that found in a television picture tube.
The electron gun supplies electrons to the Linear Accelerator (LINAC). A series of cavities with microwave radio frequency fields in the 2,856 megahertz LINAC provide energy to the electrons that are accelerated to an energy of 250 million electron volts, or 250 MeV. At this energy the electrons are travelling at 99.9998% of the speed of light (3.0 x 108 m/s).
The microwaves push the electrons much the same way a surfer is pushed by water waves. The LINAC produces pulses of electrons for 2 nanoseconds up to 140 nanoseconds for injection into the storage ring. The short pulses can be used to fill a single "bunch" in the storage ring for use in time-sensitive measurement studies. The long pulses are used to produce a (3x140=) 420 nanosecond pulse train in the storage ring. Pulses of electrons are supplied once per second by the LINAC. After several minutes of operation enough current is accumulated in the storage ring for several hours of operation and the LINAC is turned off until it is required to refill the ring.
The electrons (and later the photons) must travel in a vacuum to avoid colliding into atoms or molecules and disappearing. The ultimate vacuum chamber pressure is lower than 10-11 torr (1 atm. pressure is 760 torr). This means that there are fewer molecules present in our vacuum system than there are in space around the International Space Station.
Electrons travel from the LINAC to the Booster Ring where a specially designed radio frequency cavity raises the energy of the electrons from 250 MeV to 2900 MeV as they circulate in the ring. Following this boost in energy, the electrons are transferred to the Storage Ring. READ MORE ⇣
In particle physics, the standard unit to measure energy is MeV or mega-electron volts (1*106 eV). One eV (electron volt) is the amount of energy that an electron gains when it moves through a potential difference of 1 volt (in a vacuum). As they circulate, electrons receive a boost in energy from 250 MeV to 2,900 MeV (energy equivalent to about 2 billion flashlight batteries!) from microwave fields generated in the Radio Frequency Cavity at 2,856 MHz. For comparison, the energy of charged particles in a nuclear explosion range from 0.3 to 3 MeV. The typical atmospheric molecule has an energy of about 0.03 eV.
The electrons travel around the 103 m ring approximately 1.5 million times in 0.6 seconds. Each of 68 bunches contains 50 pC (3.1 x 108 electrons) with a total energy of 9.92 J at 2,900 MeV and 10 mA circulating current.
The booster ring cannot increase the speed of the electrons to, or beyond, the speed of light, but the electrons travel at about 99.999998% of light speed.
The high energy electrons are transferred from the Booster Ring, to circulate the Storage Ring`s twelve straight sections. The electrons emit synchrotron light every time their path is bent by the magnets inside the Storage Ring. In each straight section there are also special magnets series called Insertion Devices that increase the brightness of the beam before entering the Beamline. READ MORE ⇣
When the electrons reach 2,900 MeV, an injection system transfers them from the booster ring to the 171m storage ring. The process repeats once per second up to 600 cycles (about 10 minutes), as required, to reach an average circulating current of 250 mA.
Once in the storage ring, the electrons will circulate for four to 12 hours producing photons every time the 6800 kg dipole magnets change the direction of the flow of electrons. While the ring looks circular, it is really a series of 12 straight sections each with 2 dipole magnets, and a series of four-pole and six-pole magnets to narrow the beam.
Some straight sections also include space for special magnets called Insertion Devices. After each turn there is a photon port to allow the light to travel down the beamlines.
Over time, the number of electrons stored in the ring will decline. This is inevitable because the vacuum isn’t perfect. Electrons collide with the few particles that are present and are lost. As a result, CLS must either empty the ring and re-inject electrons, or add more electrons to maintain the necessary current.
There are two types of electro-magnets in the booster ring. The blue dipole magnets weigh over 3000 kg. The magnetic field created by the magnets is used to direct the electrons around the booster ring. The field of the green quadrupole (four-pole) magnets is used to force bunches of electrons into a fine beam within the vacuum chamber.
Radio Frequency (RF) Cavities:
There are two cavities that use microwaves to boost the electron’s energy. A cylindrical cavity in the booster ring delivers a high-energy kick to the electron bunches during each turn around the ring. It operates with a radio frequency (RF) of 500 MHz.
The purpose of the cavity, pictured left, in the storage ring is to replace the energy lost by the electrons to light production. Superconductivity is the flow of electric current without resistance in certain metals and alloys at temperatures near absolute zero. The operating temperature is -270°C (-273°C is 0 K or absolute zero, the point at which all motion stops). Operating at such cold temperatures eliminates most power loss, while the RF field provides energy.
The CLS is one of the brightest synchrotrons in the world despite being roughly one tenth the size of similarly bright synchrotrons. One of the ways that we achieve this is through insertion devices. While dipole magnets change the direction of the electrons, thus producing light, multi-magnet insertion devices called undulators and wigglers move the electrons back and forth many times creating a narrow beam of much more intense light.
A wiggler or undulator consists of a periodic series of magnets, placed in a straight section of the storage ring. The magnetic fields force the electrons to ‘wiggle’ around the straight path. The result is a very high flux of photons along the beamline.
A wiggler produces a wide range of high energy X-rays. An undulator produces even higher intensity X-rays with a narrower range of energies.
Beamlines and Experimental Stations
A beamline has several major components including sections that focus and select the required wavelength of light, select the appropriate technique for the experiment, and detect or measure effects of the light as it interacts with the sample. READ MORE ⇣
The CLS has 13 beamlines accessible for “users” or scientists from other institutions using this equipment as part of their research programs. A beamline (#6 above) consists of a optics hutch (#7) where synchrotron light is focused and wavelength is selected, an experimentation hutch (#8) where the appropriate technique is selected for the experiment, and work stations (#9) where scientists operate the beamline and measure light as it is absorbed, reflected, refracted, or scattered by the sample.
Synchrotron light passes through the optics hutch on its way to the sample. There, the monochromator enables researchers to choose the wavelength of light best-suited to the experiment they are conducting. The monochromator is the device that separates different wavelengths (much like a prism). This is done using either optical dispersion (as in a prism), or of diffraction, using a grating which separates the wavelengths of light and filters out the light that isn’t required. Each of the beamlines at CLS is unique and have markedly different monochromators specific to their design.
The selected wavelengths of synchrotron light are focused by the mirrors in the optics hutch onto the sample in an endstation located in the experimental hutch. Each endstation is designed specifically for the types of experiments conducted on that beamline. In general, each one consists of a sample holder and a detection system, unique to the technique employed by the scientist, as well computers through which the researchers control the mechanisms involved in the experiments and view the data as it is recorded.
- Far Infrared Spectroscopy (Far IR)
- A new window into the study of molecules, this beamline offers wavelengths of light that are very hard to obtain using conventional sources.
- Infrared light causes specific vibrations in molecule bonds, so researchers can identify molecules by their precise vibration pattern.
- Applications include simulations of molecules from space and organic chemistry.
Far Infrared Beamline (Far-IR)
Far-IR Beamline Specifications Chart Source Bending Magnet Energy Range 5-1000 cm-1 or 0.00062-0.124 eV Resolution ≥ 0.001 cm-1 Flux 1 x 1013 @ 100 µm Techniques Fourier Transform Absorption Spectroscopy Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/farir/Pages/default.aspx
Operating at far infrared wavelengths (5-1000 cm-1 or 0.00062-0.124 eV), this beamline is used primarily for ultrahigh resolution investigations of gas phase molecules. When molecules absorb infrared light, they vibrate and rotate. This absorption can be measured and displayed as a spectrum of lines, or a spectral signature, that is unique to the molecule and provides insight into the structure of that molecule.
To conduct studies on this beamline, gas samples are stored in a temperature-controlled absorption cell (metal tank shown in the picture above). Infrared light from the synchrotron travels through the chamber to the detector where the amount and frequency of light absorbed is measured.
One experimental area of interest is the work of Dr. Predoi-Cross from the University of Lethbridge: “Synchrotron-based spectroscopic techniques have the potential to increase our understanding of planetary atmospheres through studies that will enable more accurate modelling... we have studied the spectral signatures of several molecules over a wide range of pressures and temperatures using the facilities available at the far-infrared beamline.” This information is important as results determined in the lab can be used to interpret real life situations.
- Mid Infrared Spectroscopy (Mid IR)
- Imaging of living tissues to determine which molecules are present using signature vibrations caused by infrared light.
- One use is the study of scar tissue formed in heart attack and burn victims, as well as plaques formed in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Mid Infrared Beamline (Mid-IR)
Mid-IR Beamline Specifications Chart Source Bending Magnet Energy Range 560-6000 cm-1 or 0.070-0.744 eV Resolution 16.0-0.125 cm-1 Flux 1 x 1014 @ 10 µm Techniques Spectromicroscopy Website http://midir.lightsource.ca/
The Mid-IR beamline provides a state-of-the-art Fourier transform spectrometer and microscope for use in high-spatial resolution spectromicroscopy experiments. This is an effective tool to perform spectroscopy and mapping experiments on microscopic regions of a sample (routinely 6 microns by 6 microns in size and 3 by 3 in some cases). Absorption of light in the infrared region of the spectrum causes excitations in the vibrations of chemical bonds as well as rotations of molecules. This absorption can be measured and displayed as a spectrum that is unique to the molecule and provides insight into the structure. The infrared spectrum of materials can be used both to identify the material and to deduce molecular and chemical properties. It is ideal for studying the structure and mechanism of biological molecules.
Dr. Ali and his team from the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, University of Saskatchewan, Health Region and National Research Council compared paired slices of cancerous and healthy brain tissue that had been removed from patients. One of the specimens from each pair was stained and examined by a pathologist using a regular light microscope. The second specimen was then examined under the synchrotron’s infrared spectromicroscope, which is capable of detecting the tell-tale signatures of biomolecules such as proteins, carbohydrate and fat components inside individual cells and build a chemical map.
- High Resolution Spherical Grating Monochromator (SGM)
- This beamline uses long-wavelength (soft) X-rays, which have little penetration. This is useful for studying chemical properties of materials.
- Used in soil sciences, materials studies, and geology. The techniques have been used to follow nitrogen speciation through a cow’s digestive system.
- Study of oxides, some of which are destructive, while others actually protect surfaces. Used in developing new paints and coatings.
Spherical Grating Monochromator (SGM) Beamline
SGM Beamline Specifications Chart Source Undulator Energy Range 250-2000 eV Wavelength 62-6.5Å Resolution >5000 (below 1500 eV) Flux 4x1012 @ 250 eV
1x1011 @ 1900 eV
Spot Size 1000μm x 100μm Techniques XANES, FLY, XEOL & XPS Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/sgm/Pages/SGM_Home.aspxThe SGM beamline is an X-ray absorption and X-ray photoemission beamline that uses synchrotron light in the soft X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum to perform absorption spectroscopy experiments. By measuring how samples absorb different energies of light, researchers are able to determine what elements are present and how those elements are bonded together.
Soft X-rays have less energy and longer wavelengths than hard X-rays so they can be used to investigate the lighter elements (those with lower atomic numbers) of a sample, like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. This makes the SGM beamline very important to studying exciting new materials like graphene and nanotubes, which are made from interconnected carbon atoms. The beamline is also important for studying environmental samples like soils and minerals. Using the X-ray absorption spectra of carbon and the other elements in their samples, geochemists can investigate how chemical and fertilizer application change farmland and gain insight into how the carbon in the world’s soils will be affected by global warming.
More detail is provided in the ‘Techniques’ section of this resource. To summarize, as the sample absorbs photons, the endstations detect changes in the sample and measure them. Absorbing the X-rays causes the atoms to become excited. As they return to their rest state, they must release energy by emitting a particle. Emitted photons in the visible range are measured with X-ray Excited Optical Luminescence (XEOL); X-rays emitted are measured with Total Fluorescence Yield (FLY); and electrons emitted are measured with X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS).
The following figures are data sets taken of soil by high school students in the Students on the Beamlines program:
- Variable Line Spacing Plane Grating Monochromator (VLS-PGM)
- Uses long wavelengths of light (both soft X-ray and ultraviolet) to study surface science, that is, what happens where surfaces meet.
- Provides information for building nanostructures, anti-wear coatings, and the surfaces of a variety of materials. One application is the study of anti-wear additives in motor oil that coat moving parts and extend engine life.
Variable Line Spacing Plane Grating Monochromator (VLS-PGM) Beamline
VLS-PGM Beamline Specifications Chart Source Undulator Energy Range 5.5-250 eV Wavelength 2254-49.6Å Resolution >10,000 E/ΔE Flux 2x1011 @ 9-240eV & 50x50 μm slits Spot Size 500 μm x 500 μm Techniques XAS, FLY, XEOL & XPS Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/vlspgm/Pages/default.aspx
The VLS-PGM beamline operates within the ultraviolet and soft x-ray range of 5.2-250 eV and is ideal for high resolution, low energy spectroscopic studies of materials for both fundamental and applied science. There are several endstations that allow for different techniques to be used including the Solid State X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy chamber (used for XAS and optical luminescence), Time of Flight chamber (gas phase studies), and a photoelectron spectrometer.
As these soft X-rays interact with the electron shells of elements with a low atomic number, a number of measurements can be taken of the sample. Absorbing the X-rays causes the atoms to become excited. As the atoms return to their rest state, they must release energy by emitting light. Photons in the visible range are measured as the X-ray Excited Optical Luminescence (XEOL); X-rays emitted are measured as the Fluorescence Yield (FLY); and electrons emitted are measured as TEY. TEY, XEOL and FLY can be performed simultaneously and determine the properties of the sample.
An example of where this information is valuable can be found in the development of ceramics fabricated to replace or repair damaged bone (called bioceramics). Developing material with slower degradation rates is very important and can be tracked.
VLS-PGM recently hosted a variety of new researchers addressing environmental and industrial concerns. The Athabasca Oil Sands and their environmental impact have drawn global media attention with concerns of possible toxins leaching from the tailings pond into the Athabasca River. The toxin of primary concern is naphthenic acid (NAs). VLS-PGM was the first beamline to apply XANES techniques to speciate NAs to determine if NAs are naturally occurring or anthropogenic.
- Soft X-Ray Spectromicroscopy (SM)
- Spectromicroscopy analyzes how light interacts with matter and images matter as in microscopy.
- SM is particularly useful in the study of thin films and surfaces, and can provide detailed images of cell walls. It is also used in study of commercial molecules, such as polymers.
Spectromicroscopy Beamline (SM)
SM Beamline Specifications Chart Source Undulator Energy Range 130-2500 eV Wavelength 95-5 Å Resolution 3,000-10,000 E/ΔE Flux STXM ~ 108 ph/s in 30 nm spot,
PEEM ~ 1012 ph/s in 50 µm spot
Spot Size STXM: 35 nm
PEEM: 50 nm
Techniques XAS, FLY, PEEM Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/sm/Pages/SM-Home.aspx
The Spectromicroscopy beamline combines X-ray absorption spectroscopy (ability to determine absorption of specific elements at specific energies, or wavelengths) and microscopy (imaging matter on a smaller scale than the eye can see, up to 30nm) like an optical microscope. This provides chemical information such as oxidation state, type of ligand and coordination number. Using reference spectra, the chemical species can be quantitatively mapped in a sample. The elements that can be examined include those with atomic number 6 (C) through to 42 (Mo). Samples can be examined wet or dry, and because there is less radiation damage compared to hard X-ray techniques, softer materials like tissues can be examined, making the technique ideal for environmental, life and material science research.
There are two microscopes on the SM beamline: the scanning transmission X-ray (STXM) microscope and X-ray photoelectron emission microscope (X-PEEM).
In STXM, a Fresnel zone plate is used to focus monochromatic (single wavelength) X-rays to a small spot size (~30 nm). The sample is moved across the beam through the focal point while detecting photons transmitted through fluorescence. These techniques are used to help scientists develop a good understanding of the natural biopolymers, their distribution and interaction with other compounds at sub-cellular levels of grains which will help to develop better varieties and enhance nutritional and functional qualities of food products (Karunakaran, et. al. Activity Report 2009, p 50).
- Resonant Elastic and Inelastic X-Ray Scattering (REIXS)
- For atomic-scale microscopy with applications in environmental science and advanced materials development.
- Uses monochromatic coherent X-ray radiation to zoom in on an atom and its local environment.
- Allows researchers to determine electronic, chemical and magnetic properties of materials.
- Used in biomaterials research, nanoscale electronics development, and for the next generation of quantum devices.
Resonant Elastic and Inelastic Soft X-Ray Scattering (REIXS) Beamline
REIXS Beamline Specifications Chart Source Undulator Energy Range 100-2000 eV Wavelength 155-6.2 Å Resolution 2 x 10-4 @ 1000 eV Flux 5 x 1012 @ 1000 eV Spot Size 250 µm x 150 µm Techniques XAS, XPS, Elastic & Inelastic Scattering; Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/REIXS/Pages/default.aspx
This beamline is a state-of-the-art soft X-ray scattering facility dedicated to the study of novel and advanced materials, including strongly correlated electron systems, nanoscale biomaterials, spintronics materials, and more using various photon-in and photon-out techniques under magnetic fields and at different temperatures. The beamline is designed to achieve high flux, high brightness, moderate resolution and full polarization control.
The source of the beamline is an Elliptically Polarizing Undulator (EPU) produces photons of linear polarization in any direction, as well as of circular or elliptical polarization. With the capability to accept light from two EPUs, beams are spatially separated by magnets and all optical elements are capable of handling two beams. In the two-beam mode, a rotary chopper is used to select which beam reaches the sample in the endstation. When the two EPUs are generating light with different polarizations, rapid switching of the polarization can be realized. The REIXS beamline has two endstations: RSXS and XES.
The Resonant Soft X-ray Scattering (RSXS) technique combines diffraction methods with spectroscopic techniques to develop a new structural characterization method in the soft X-ray regime. The highly monochromatic, coherent, polarized and variable energy X-ray radiation allows us to zoom in on a particular atom in a specific local environment. The extreme sensitivity to local charge, spin and structural changes will allow us to study the interplay of charge, spin, orbital and lattice degrees of freedom in strongly-correlated electron systems, and to investigate phenomena such as superconductivity, charge order, orbital order and various types of magnetism. The use of circularly polarized X-rays will enable a nanometre-scale study of magnetic structure in materials such as monolayer films and multilayers, the formation of magnetic domains and domain walls.
The X-ray Emission Spectroscopy (XES) endstation is a synchrotron-based tool to study the electronic structure of new materials. Along with the spectrometer for soft XES and Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS), the endstation also includes instrumentation for soft X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS). It will allow access to new information on chemical state, electronic structure or best possible synthesis of experimental systems. This research will ultimately lead to novel devices like sensors with advanced and tailored optical, electronic, magnetic and catalytic properties.
- Quantum Materials Spectroscopy Center (QMSC)
- This beamline is currently under construction
Quantum Materials Spectroscopy Centre (QMSC)
QMSC Specifications Chart Source Undulators Energy Range 10 eV-1200 eV Wavelength 1.03 nm-124 nm Resolution 0.8 meV-70 meV ( at 10 eV and 1200 eV respectively) Flux Up to 1013 photons/sec/0.01% BW (at the resolving power 104) Spot Size Less than 20 µm x 100 µm Techniques ARPES & SARPES-XPS Website Under Construction
Modern science and technology rely on materials whose usefulness depends on their electronic properties – that is, how they conduct or resist electric charges. Semiconducting materials, for example, are the foundation for the world’s computer and telecommunications industries.
The QMSC, currently under construction, will be used to design and explore novel complex materials for their potential in next-generation technologies. This national research centre will include advanced beamline tools for probing electronic structure, a dedicated materials preparation facility, and integrated support in materials science theory.
The QMSC will enable Canada to play a leading role in both furthering the quantum theory of solids and developing technological advances in fields as diverse as electronics, telecommunications, computer science and biomedicine.
The electronic band structure and magnetic properties are the research targets.
Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) and SARPES (with a spin detector) are the two endstations designed to provide extremely detailed information about the structure of these materials.
- Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility (CMCF)
- Crystals scatter X-ray beams because of their wavelength. In crystallography, researchers collect data on how the light scatters, to construct an atom-by-atom model of the molecule.
- Used primarily to understand protein structures, which is important to the knowledge of fundamental processes in virtually all fields of biological and medical sciences.
- CMCF-ID is capable of satisfying the requirements of the most challenging and diverse crystallographic experiments (physically small crystals but with large cell dimensions making up the crystal).
Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility (CMCF)
CMCF Specifications Chart Source Bending Magnet Undulator Energy Range 4-18 keV 6.0-18 keV Wavelength 3.1-0.7 Å 2.1-0.7 Å Resolution Δ E / E 1.4x10-4 1.5x10-4 Flux 1x1011 ph/s (200 µm) 5x10¹² ph/s; 2x10¹² ph/s (100 µm); 1x10¹² ph/s (50 µm); 7x1011 ph/s (20 µm); Spot Size 230 μm x 195 μm 130 µm x 30 µm Techniques XRD; XAS Website http://cmcf.lightsource.ca/beamlines/about-cmcf/Macromolecular crystallography is the use of X-ray diffraction to determine the structure of big (‘macro’) biological molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids.
This is the method that was used to discover the famous double-helix structure of DNA. A researcher that wishes to study the structure of a particular protein must first isolate it and then grow it into a crystal. A crystal of a macromolecule, made of thousands of identical molecules, is placed in a focused hard X-ray beam. As the X-rays pass through the crystalline structure, they are diffracted and the resulting diffraction pattern is recorded.A series of many diffraction images, collected as the crystal is rotated by a small amount, leads to a three-dimensional model of the electron density structure surrounding the molecule, which is then used to construct a model of the structure of the molecule, as seen above.
Synchrotron crystallography research has produced the detailed structures of tens of thousands of proteins and other macromolecules. These structures have contributed to the understanding of fundamental processes in virtually all fields of biological and medical sciences, and are vital to drug design and protein engineering. A recent example of this is the discovery of the function of an enzyme in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, which will lead to new possibilities in treatment of the disease. The structure of KshA, which is crucial to the survival of this bacterium, was determined by Jenna Capyk, et al. (2009) using CMCF 1 beamline at CLS (top of the next page). This detailed structural information can now be used to develop a drug treatment that will inhibit this enzyme, allowing the body’s immune system to conquer the bacteria.
The CMCF facility consists of two beamlines. CMCF-ID, part of the Phase I beamlines, is capable of satisfying the requirements of the most challenging and diverse crystallographic experiments (physically small crystals with large unit cell dimensions) using single crystal X-ray diffraction. CMCF-BM, part of the Phase II beamlines, is a fully automated, high throughput beamline, accessible remotely. Scientists are able to send pre-frozen crystals to the facility and set up experimental parameters as well as inspect, evaluate, and download their data from their home laboratories. Pharmaceutical companies will find this beamline useful for analyzing bulk samples of one protein that is targeted for drug design expressed in many different environments.
- Very Sensitive Elemental and Structural Probe Employing Radiation from a Synchrotron (VESPERS)
- Delivers micro-focused hard X-rays to solid materials, so that they can be analyzed with X-ray diffraction analysis, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and X-ray absorption spectrometry.
- Research mainly in earth and materials sciences, as the method can determine trace elements and crystal structure in microsamples.
- Used in the study of transportation of toxic element traces in soils.
Very Sensitive Elemental & Structural Probe Employing Radiation from a Synchrotron (VESPERS) Beamline
VESPERS Specifications Chart Source Bending Magnet Energy Range 6-30 keV Wavelength 2.0-0.4 Å Resolution Si(111)-10-4
Flux Si-111 ~ 2x109 @ 15 keV
MLM1 ~ 1x1011 @ 15 keV
MLM2 ~ 4x1011 @ 15 keV
Spot Size (2-4) µm x (2-4) µm Techniques XRD, XR, XAS Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/vespers/home/Pages/welcome.aspx
Elements that XAS spectroscopy can access using this beamline include:
The object of VESPERS is to deliver a micro-focussed hard X-ray beam to solid materials so that a microscopic volume can be analysed using x-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) either simultaneously or sequentially and can create a map displaying the distribution of specific elements within an area of interest in the sample.
XAS measures the amount of radiation absorbed by the sample as the monochromator changes the energy of the synchrotron light the sample is exposed to. The energy at which the radiation is absorbed is element-specific. XRD refers to the recording of the pattern of X-rays as they pass through a crystalline material revealing information about the structure of the material. In the XRF technique, the atoms within the sample absorb synchrotron light, creating an excited state in the atoms of the element being probed. As these atoms return to their rest state they emit a photon with a wavelength specific to the excited element.
Research at VESPERS includes the study of dinosaur bones by a physicist/paleontologist team from the University of Regina and the Royal SK Museum. They study chemical speciation and location in fossils in an effort to determine dinosaur environments and diets.
- Biological X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy (BioXAS)
- This beamline is currently under construction.
Biological X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (BioXAS) Beamlines
BioXAS Specifications Chart Source Wiggler Undulator Energy Range 5-28 keV 4-21 keV Wavelength 2.5-0.4 Å 3.1-0.6 Å Resolution 10-4 10-4 Flux 9x1012 2x1013 Spot Size 600 µm x 200 µm 400 µm x 20 µm Techniques XAS, Imaging Website TBD
BioXAS will enhance and complement life science research at CLS with three beamlines, two from the wiggler and one from an undulator. Two beamlines will be dedicated to XAS (X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy) and one will be a multi-mode XFY imaging line. These systems, currently under construction, will be tailored for the study of metals in living systems using XAS and imaging. BioXAS will investigate the molecular form and microscopic location of metals in biological systems with unprecedented sensitivity.
These studies include investigations of the role of metals in brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, how to treat the deadly effects of toxic elements such as mercury, and developing improved drugs to treat cancer. Environmental research at BioXAS focuses on how metal contaminants affect organisms and, ultimately, humans.
The image below is of the BioXAS optical hutch looking from the monochromator towards the experiment hutch.
The following elements could be potentially studied with the combination of these two beamlines using XAS techniques.
- Soft X-Ray Microcharacterization Beamline (SXRMB)
- Uses wavelengths of light between soft and hard X-rays.
- Applied mostly to study of transition elements. Used in material, life, environmental, geological, surface and soil science.
Soft X-Ray Beamline for Micro-characterization of Materials (SXRMB) Beamline
SXRMB Specifications Chart
Source Bending Magnet Energy Range 1,700-10,000 eV Wavelength 7.3-1.3 Å Resolution InSb(III) 3.3x10-4
Flux XAS: >1x1011
Spot Size 300 µm x 300 µm
~ 10 µm x 10 µm
Techniques XAS, XEOL; PEEM; XPS; XFY Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/vespers/home/Pages/welcome.aspx
Researchers using (X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy) XAS techniques will be interested in some of these elements:
The main focus of this beamline is to provide users with access to the intermediate photon energy range between what is defined as soft and hard X-rays. Covering the absorption energies of many main group and transition metal elements, this beamline will find wide application in a number of fields including, but not limited to, materials science, life science, environmental science, geological and soil science, and tribology.
Research using this beamline includes the study of naphthenic acids, a complex byproduct of the process to refine crude oil. An experiment that contributes to understanding the chemistry involved was conducted using SXRMB to study the K-edge of S within different concentrations of naphthenic acid.
Another environmental research project on SXRMB made use of a fluorescence technique. Students studied potential effects of acid rain on their community in SK Boreal forest. These students were particularly interested in a signature that might indicate whether or not damage had occurred and were focusing on S and V.
- Hard X-Ray MicroAnalysis (HXMA)
- Hard X-rays used in X-ray absorption spectroscopy and diffraction.
- Provides detailed information about the structure and chemical properties of molecules in samples.
- Used to determine the fate of contaminants such as arsenic in mine wastes, or mercury from fish in the human diet.
Hard X-ray Microanalysis (HXMA) Beamline
HXMA Specifications Chart
Source Superconducting Wiggler Energy Range 5 – 40 keV Wavelength 2.5 - 0.3 Å Resolution 10-4 Flux XAS, Diffraction: 10¹² @ 12 keV
Microprobe: 10¹º @ 12 keV
Spot Size XAFS, Diffraction: 0.8 mm x 1.5 mm²
Microprobe: 6 x 6 µm²
Techniques XAS, microprobe, Diffraction Website http://exshare.lightsource.ca/hxma/Pages/HXMAHome.aspx
This is a hard X-ray beamline with three different endstations which include XAFS and diffraction capabilities. The microprobe rasters samples, taking X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) readings at micron-sized steps to create an image or map of the readings, as shown here.
- Synchrotron Laboratory for Micro and Nano Devices (SyLMAND)
- Unique in North America, SyLMAND is dedicated to fabricating extremely small components – 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair – that can be used in revolutionary microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices.
- Biomedical Imaging and Therapy (BMIT)
- Unique in North America, the BMIT facility’s two beamlines will offer advanced imaging for biological tissue in unprecedented detail, as well as high-precision radiation therapies for cancer.
- Core research programs include human and animal reproduction, cancer imaging and treatment, spinal cord injury and repair, cardiovascular imaging and disease, bone growth and development, arthritis and athletic injuries, dental conditions, mammography, developmental biology, gene expression research, development of new imaging methods as well as extending present imaging capabilities.
Bio Medical Imaging & Therapy (BMIT) Beamlines
BMIT Specifications Chart Source Bending Magnet Superconducting Wiggler Energy Range 15-40 keV 20-100 keV Wavelength 1.6-0.3 Å 0.6-0.1 Å Resolution M1 DCM 0.57 x 10-4 with Si(2,2,0) M1 CT:10-3
Flux 1.5 x 10¹¹ ph (s*mr²*0.1%bW*mA) @ 10 keV 3 x 10¹² ph (s*mr²*0.1%bW*mA) @ 20 keV Spot Size 240 mm x 7 mm @ 23 m 220 mm x 11 mm @ 55 m Techniques DEI, KES, Phase Contrast Imaging, CT ; MRT; SSRT Website http://www.lightsource.ca/bioimaging/
BMIT is designed to image biological tissue and to conduct radiation therapy research. The facility will address the interest of scientists and clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer (breast tumours and paediatric oncology), circulatory and respiratory disease (heart disease and asthma) neurological and behavioural disease (brain and spinal cord injuries, epilepsy), reproductive dysfunction (infertility, menopause, and contraceptives), musculo-skeletal disease and kinesiology (arthritis, athletic injuries), and dental conditions (such as temporomandibular disease). BMIT has two beamlines: one which uses a bending magnet to produce light and one which uses a powerful superconducting wiggler.
BMIT is one of the few CLS beamlines that produces an X-ray similar to what we generally think of in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. The difference is that BMIT can use different methods to achieve that image. Those differences are important, as can be seen below. (DEI stands for Diffraction Enhanced Imaging)
When complete, there will be three experimental endstations on BMIT. They will be capable of several imaging techniques in both projection and 3D computed tomography (CT) modes. Additionally, the insertion device beamline will be capable of microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) and synchrotron stereotactic radiation therapy (SSRT).
Data from NSLS X15-A: Pisano, Johnston(UNC); Sayers(NCSU); Zhong(BNL); Thomlinson(ESRF); Chapman(IIT)
- Brockhouse X-Ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector (BXDS)
- This beamline is currently under construction
The Brockhouse X-Ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector (BXDS)
Brockhouse Specifications Chart Source Undulator Wiggler Energy Range 5-20 keV 7-22 keV 20-94 keV Wavelength 2.47-0.62 Å 1.77-0.56 Å 0.62-0.13 Å Resolution 10-4 3x10-4 3x10-3 Flux 1012 1012 1011 Spot Size H400 µm x V50 µm H500 µm xV100 µm H5mm x V0.25 mm Techniques Scattering & Diffraction Website http://www.bnbsector.org/
The Brockhouse X-Ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector, with three beamlines, is under construction and will be a national centre for structural characterization of many forms of materials systems. This includes crystals, solids, liquids, and nanostructures under ambient conditions and at extreme temperatures, pressures and magnetic fields. The sector will support a diverse community of Canadian and international scientists spanning the disciplines of physics, chemistry, geology, environmental science, biology and engineering. Some potential applications include structural studies of polymers, drugs, emulsions, novel batteries, petroleum products and quantum materials.
- Personnel Safety Systems (PSS) - includes Fire Alarms System, Accelerator Access Interlock Systems, Oxygen Monitoring System
- Equipment Protection Systems (EPS) – includes beam position, size and quality, cooling/heating systems, vacuum systems, power supplies and magnet settings, timing systems, and valve controls
- Accelerator operators disable/enable all or individual beamlines including start and shutdown processes and select mode of accelerator operation such as normal (beam available to users) versus accelerator studies
- Equipment Alignment: absolute position to 150 µm with 3σ confidence level over a diameter of approximately 50m.
- Vibration Stability: no vibrational noise above 1µ amplitude at less than 300 Hz.
- Ultra-High Vacuum Systems: ultimate chamber pressure less than 10-11 torr.
- Motion Requirements: sub-micron and sub-micro radian positioning of optical components.
- Controls System: twice as many control points as a Candu reactor.
- DC Magnet Power Supplies: stability better than 10 ppm with 24 bit resolution. Maximum magnet power supply output is 700V and 600A.
- Cryogenics: 280W at 4.5K liquid helium (LHe) liquefier/refrigerator and LHe distribution system.
- Superconducting RF cavity: the first light source in the world to use a superconducting RF cavity to power the electron beam from day one.
Synchrotron Laboratory for Micro and Nano Devices (SyLMAND)
SyLMAND is a unique facility dedicated to research and fabrication of polymer and metal microstructures using X-ray Lithography (XRL). It will provide distinctive capabilities not currently available in Canada and be highly complementary to other existing and emerging facilities. Typically the high-aspect-ratio structures created using XRL are used for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices, microfluidic and optical devices. They have very tall, smooth walls compared to structures built with other techniques. MEMS are very small devices that combine electrical and mechanical components such as sensors, actuators and valves and switches in larger devices.
XRL uses highly collimated, high-intensity X-rays from a synchrotron source to pattern X-ray sensitive polymers through a mask. In addition to fabrication opportunities available with direct X-ray exposure, devices can also be produced inexpensively using LIGA.
The steps of fabricating micro-parts by LIGA are shown above. After X-ray exposure and development, the mold is electroplated filling the voids. The electroplated structures can be used as individual metal micro-parts or as moulds for replication in polymers and ceramics by hot embossing or injection moulding.
In addition to being a more cost-effective fabrication process, LIGA enables the use of materials with increased toughness, high temperature inertness, chemical and biological compatibility, magnetism and more. This allows a huge variety of MEMS applications.
For more information regarding SyLMAND, please visit http://sylmand.info
Note*: For more detailed information regarding specific beamlines, please see our Beamlines tab
Salute to safety!
CLS is committed to providing a safe working environment for all staff and protecting the general public and environment from risks. As part of our commitment to safety, we utilize personnel safety systems, equipment protection systems and emergency shutdown processes. READ MORE ⇣CLS is committed to providing a safe and healthful working environment for all staff and to protect the general public and the environment from unacceptable risks.
Control room management is an important part of ensuring personnel safety throughout the facility.
From the control room we monitor:
In the case of an emergency the synchrotron can be shut down automatically in less than 20 milliseconds from the control room and from several other locations manually.
When dealing with sources of energy, there are safety concerns that must be addressed. Radiation is energy that comes from a source and travels through some material or through space. Light, heat and sound are types of radiation. There are many natural sources of radiation, including the sun and various elements in the earth. Since the CLS is a source of light radiation, thermo-luminescent detectors (TLDs) are used to record any possible radiation that escapes the shielding surrounding the rings and endstations. These are located throughout the facility as well as carried by personnel. The national limit from natural sources (background radiation) is 3 milli-Sieverts (mSv) per year. CLS measures very little above what is detectable in the background and is well within the annual regulatory limit imposed by the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) which is 50 mSv - equivalent to approximately 500 chest X-rays per year.
Experiments and Safety
CLS will authorize an experiment only after the activities associated with the experiment have been defined, hazards have been identified, and adequate hazard controls have been implemented. Once a proposal has met all applicable requirements, a permit is issued identifying engineering, and administrative controls and training requirements.
The CLS uses state-of-the-art technology. From controlling vibrations and temperature in the facility to vacuum systems and advances in cryogenics, we were able to expand on previous improvements in synchrotron science. READ MORE ⇣
The 84m x 83m CLS facility won the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers’ 2002 award for “exceptional engineering achievement.” The six-storey building required 1,300 tons of steel and enough concrete to build 160 1,200-square-foot homes.
A major challenge was to ensure stability of the light beams that travel along 30m beamlines to the user end stations. There’s a risk that vibrations – from traffic, wind, cranes, mechanical pumps, etc. – will affect the beam and invalidate data in scientific experiments. To address this risk, the facility is built on more than 700 piles, each 10-20 m deep, and the floor is vibrationally isolated from the walls. Temperature must also be controlled. The booster and storage rings can only vary from 23°C by 0.1°C. The beamline hall has the air circulate every seven minutes in order to keep its temperature within a degree of 23°C.