New Linear Accelerator

Video: Canadian Light Source goes dark for more stable light over the long haul

Investment will ensure continued world-leading discovery, innovation

The Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan is replacing its linear accelerator (linac), the device that speeds up electrons to produce a beam of light researchers use to study materials at a molecular or cellular level. This critical replacement will ensure the CLS continues to deliver high-quality, stable and reliable light to the over 1,000 scientists from across Canada and around the world who use the CLS each year for research related to health, agriculture, environment and advanced materials.

Starting May 27th, 2024, the CLS will begin a six-month project to remove the existing linac and replace it with a new unit that will improve the efficiency and reliability of the light beam. For the latest updates, check back on this page or follow us @canlightsource on social media for #newLINAC posts.

The latest news...

June 6: With the old linac equipment removed from our basement, our health and safety staff needed to scan these pieces for radiation before they could be recycled or donated. They have now checked over 175 items! Next, we cleaned the linac hallways and started giving them a fresh coat of paint. Our staff also fully dismantled our modulator room. Klystrons, modulators, and other infrastructure were removed, making way for the mechanical and electrical service installation that is now ongoing. We have new modulators and klystrons waiting on our experimental floor. This equipment will provide the radiofrequency energy that is used to accelerate electrons through our linac before they produce synchrotron light for research. 

May 30: The CLS has been dark for a short time, but there has already been a significant amount of progress thanks to our hard-working team. Once our operators turned off the machine, we soon started to dismantle the electron gun and linear accelerator in our basement. Our staff have already removed the power supply tank, accelerating sections, and other assorted infrastructure. About 90% of the removed equipment will be recycled and the remaining 10% will be donated to universities or museums. The appearance of our basement has already changed dramatically. The linac hallways that are usually filled with specialized equipment are looking quite empty. While it may seem that this project has just begun, years of planning have led us to this point to help ensure the transition goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Our team of engineers, technicians, physicists, and many others carefully prepared for when the key was turned for the final time and the six months of work that would follow. Installing a new linac will ensure the CLS provides high-quality, reliable synchrotron light for innovative research for years to come.

May 27: Starting today, the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan will begin work to replace its linear accelerator (linac) - the system that speeds up electrons to produce the ultrabright light researchers use to study materials at the molecular or cellular level. The new linac will replace aging infrastructure from the Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory that dates back to the 1960s and the early days of the CLS, and will enhance the facility’s efficiency and reliability. Over the next six months, staff will remove the old linac, its electron source and associated operating systems and refurbish the underground tunnel in which it is located. A new linac with a shorter and more modern design will then be installed, including accelerating devices, electromagnets, high-power radiofrequency transmitters, computer control system and ancillary systems, under the direction and supervision of the vendor, Research Instruments (Germany), who designed and built the system. Read more