As a versatile analytical tool, it is
used in biological and life sciences, mining, geoscience and to
manufacture pharmaceuticals and new-age materials.
A similar device, known
as a cyclotron was
developed by American physicist Ernest Orlando Lawrence in 1930.
is a circular particle accelerator in which charged subatomic
particles are accelerated spirally outward in a magnetic field. It can
generate energies up to tens of millions of electron volts. Lawrence
won a 1939 Nobel Prize for development of the cyclotron.
synchrotron was built in the early 1960's.
There are 43
operational synchrotrons world-wide (as at July 2002) and
another 33 under construction or in the planning process.
There are nine in
the U.S and eight in Japan.
and the Herald Sun, Melbourne. July 21, 2002
Government of Victoria, in Australia's south east, has
established a national synchrotron facility in Melbourne.
The Bracks Government, in
partnership with Monash University, secured the national
synchroton for Victoria on 21 June 2001.
It will rise out of the remains
of an old drive-in theatre like a doughnut, or if you like, a
wagon wheel...(Herald Sun, Melbourne. July 21, 2002).
Construction of the synchrotron
in Australia's largest high-tech industry cluster will start in
the latter half of 2002.
begins in September 2002, lock-up will not be until 2004 and it
will take another year to install the complex internal
will be completed by 2007.
The $157 million Australian
Synchrotron Project is expected to create up to 700 jobs and add
as much as $65 million a year to the economy.
The synchrotron has a broad range of uses in advanced materials,
micro-manufacturing, biological sciences, mining and mineral
processing, pharmaceuticals, and genosciences.
can ‘see’ the 3D structure of proteins, genetic structures
facilitate drug discovery and pharmaceutical development. The
influenza drug Relenza, designed by Victorian scientists, was
developed using a synchrotron.
June 22, 2002
are generated from a heated filament and directed to a
high-vacuum, aluminum tube.
A linear accelerator uses
microwaves to push the electrons to a speed near that of light.
accelerate the electrons. Magnets steer the electrons and focus them
into a beam narrower than a human hair.
When electrons are deflected
by a strong magnetic field, they naturally produce synchrotron light
across the spectrum.
is sixty-metres in diameter.
Synchrotron light is channeled
into individual experimental stations.
using specific wavelengths can be conducted simultaneously at up to 20
Robyn Riley wrote in
Melbourne's Herald Sun news paper on July 21, 2002, that the Synchrotron
design is a little like a space-ship; sleek and smooth and modern.
"It will become the
most revolutionary research facility in the southern hemisphere",
August 3, 2000, at 1715 hours, a witness noticed a
tornado shaped cloud in sky while driving through
the town of Mt Evelyn, in Victoria.
He pointed the cloud out to his brother, a
passenger in the car.
was approaching, they noticed the spectacular sunset over Mt Dandenong.
The driver, a photographer, rang home to get a camera prepared to take
As he was
looking toward the sky to see if could he could spot tornado shaped cloud,
the man noticed what appeared to be a spherical cloud, orange in colour.
brothers noticed at least three reflections from centre of the "cloud".
At this point they became aware that this was not in fact a cloud.
Reflections and strange movements made it look like a fireball in the sky.
see trails of fire forming and streaking downwards. The photograph below
was taken aiming toward Sale Air Force Base
and the Omega Power Mast in Darriman.
Are proton beams being tested at these
highly secured installations?
It turns out that a beam of protons with an
average energy of 500-600 million electron volts (MeV), will travel through
about 1 mile of air before dying.
sound like a lot of energy, but in the accelerator world it's modest to
There are plenty of
synchrotrons out there that can do at least 500
million electron volts on a continuous duty basis, and there's no need for
Synchrotron: Big Project, Big
Business Review Weekly, January 31, 2002
Five months on from an Opposition
media release querying the value of the State's return on
investment in the synchrotron, BRW publishes a report that adds
to the accusations and casts additional doubt on Labor's
business acumen and fiscal responsibility.
the race to become the clever country, Australia is giving
favorable odds to biotechnology. As investment markets wait
for 'the next big thing', biotechnology holds the kind of
promise offered by the internet a decade earlier. Now is the
perfect time to pitch proposals to give public money to
science. The biggest proposal in biotechnology is about to get
started in Victoria, where the Labor Government is preparing
to build a synchrotron, a device that is used for researching
the composition of materials. The Victorian Premier, Steve
Bracks, calls the project 'the most exciting science
infrastructure project in Australia for decades'.
BATTERHAM: There is potential to build real value. How long
will it take? I cannot answer. Five years, 10 years ... this
project is at the brave end of the spectrum.
will cost an estimated $157 million to build the synchrotron,
and about $15 million a year to maintain it. The Victorian
Treasurer, John Brumby, says the Government will provide
funding of $100 million, with the remaining $57 million to
come from other sources, including the private sector. Brumby
has not named companies willing to invest in the project. The
$100 million earmarked for the synchrotron is more than a
third of the Government's entire budget for technology
spending in 2001-02.
synchrotron might be an exciting project, but close inspection
reveals a lack of accountability on the part of the Victorian
Government and a surprising lack of support for the project,
even in the technology sector.
the start, the plan to build the synchrotron has been plagued
by hasty decision-making. In the middle of last year, a group
of leading medical scientists, consisting largely of research
academics, began pushing hard for an Australian synchrotron.
The Federal Government responded with a review process led by
the chief scientist, Robin Batterham, which studied the need
for a synchrotron and the best possible location for it. On
May 5, the Bracks Government announced that it would allocate
$2 million in the 2001-02 state budget for a Victorian
synchrotron, which is about the size of a tennis stadium,
involves a machine called a particle accelerator. By adapting
and analysing the results of the synchrotron testing,
researchers can better understand and manipulate the
composition of materials, including drugs and industrial
materials. There are more than 40 synchrotrons around the
world. The closest one to Australia is in Singapore.
a synchrotron is a molecular microscope used to see the
molecular structure of the materials it examines. The
synchrotron accelerates electrons to the speed of light, which
causes them to release a burst of light. The light is aimed at
particles of test material set up in 'beam lines'. The light
scatters when it hits a particle, and the pattern of the
scattering displays the structure of the molecule.)