Sunday, March 12, 2006



This generates electrons from a heated filament at low energy and directs them to....


Where microwave energy in the Linear Accelerator increases the kinetic energy of the electrons to almost the speed of light.


Where the electron energies are further increased by about a factor of 10 by microwave energy.


Once the electrons reach their target energy they're transferred to the outer storage ring. The electrons are accelerated to their final energy and circulate for many hours confined to the circular orbit by a series of bending magnets, separated by straight sections. In one hour, they travel over one billion kilometres.


As the electrons are deflected through the magnetic field created by the bending magnets, they give off electromagnetic radiation so that at each bending magnet, a beam of synchrotron light is produced.


The dust-free areas at the end of the beamline where scientists set their experiments, using infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray light emitted by the speeding electrons.

The Synchrotron is, in effect, a giant microscope tens of millions of times more powerful than a conventional microscope.

Current research at Monash University's Centre for Biospectroscopy is using synchrotrons around the world for looking at individual cells in blood disorders, including Malaria and Sickle Cell disease. Identifying individual pre-cancerous cells in cervical cancer. Imaging micro-alga to measure the concentration of protein, silica and carbohydrates as the single cells respond to environmental stress.

This only scatches the surface of what a synchrotron can do. 80% of all new drugs are made with the help of a synchrotron and I haven't even mentioned the other science disciplines that use it. The Monash Synchrotron is to be working by 2007 but Australia could use another in Queensland and Western Australia.

So next time Monash has an open day, go and have a look, ask questions and take your sons and science loving daughters.

I expect to see you there as well, Link.


Link said...

Yeah well its a rather complicated device eh? and you mentioned it so very casually at the time when I asked you WTF is a synchotron! In fact I'll have to read it all again, to get a grip - not sure if that will help. Thanks Jahteh! Sorry I'm a bit slow on the uptake.

JahTeh said...

I didn't really make it clear just how big the building is, about the size of a football field. When I say single cell, I mean a single cell component of blood. I was talking last night to a PhD student doing a thesis on accoustic levitation which they use in synchrotron work which is putting a liquid sample between two force fields in what becomes a containerless medium. It was great and it didn't hurt that he was cute.

Brownie said...

our blogpal Jellyfish works on the synchroton. You may have spoken with her at the Lane's Edge immobile meetup?
(my factual accuracy has taken a beating this week so I may be wrong)

JahTeh said...

I met Jelly at the Lefty do at the QVsquare. I'm sure she wasn't at the Lane's Edge but I was too busy watching you do your Amanda Vanstone impression of how to jab a broken glass into a rodent's eye.

Brownie said...

(whose blog has suddenly become inaccessible - WTF? 'Jelly! are you OK?') is the one standing at the end of the table, next to Rachy In Perpetuum, in the G-G's photo of Lane Sedge.

Brownie said...

Apologies for my mistake. When I met Mallrat at the LanesEdge thing, I kept calling her Jellyfish too.
' Due to the unfortunate proximity of the Monash gender Dysphoria Clinic close to Mallrat's home, Mallrat is of indeterminate gender. Mallrat lives with his/her parents in a Bathurst-brick home with a concreted backyard and a Hills hoist, sleeps in a single bed, works as a casual on the Synchrotron, and is a regular visitor to Bunnings.'