First synchrotron light is milestone for new instruments at ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO

ANSTO’S major project to introduce eight new beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron has reached a milestone with the delivery of ‘first light’ to the new MEX-1 beamline.

‘First light” refers to the process whereby synchrotron light is extracted from the Australian Synchrotron storage ring and sent down a beamline for the first time successfully.

First Light MEX-1
Combined instrument teams celebrate ‘first light’ on new beamline MEX-1

The MEX-1 beamline and its counterpart, MEX-2 will become part of the suite of spectroscopy instruments and enable X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) technique in the medium energy range, supporting the measurement of the chemistry, oxidation state and elemental distribution within a wide range of materials.

Expanding on the existing capabilities at the Australian Synchrotron, the MEX-1 and MEX-2 beamlines will be able to target the lighter elements (such as silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, potassium, and calcium), as well as heavier transition metal elements.

With a particular emphasis on in situ and in operando experiments, the instruments are optimised for cutting-edge applications in chemistry, biosciences and health, agricultural and environmental science, advanced electronics and energy materials in an X-ray energy range that is not currently available at the Australia Synchrotron.

Researchers can collect high-quality data while minimising the radiation dose delivered to sensitive samples, and MEX-1 also has the capacity to measure bulk samples under non-ambient environments.

At the beginning of June, the nuclear regulator ARPANSA provided approval to finalise construction, commissioning, and use of the MEX-1 Beamline at the ANSTO Australian Synchrotron.

During June, the frontend shutter was opened and the beam was threaded through the MEX-1 mirrors and the double crystal monochromator into the MEX-1 endstation, allowing the MEX team to register first light, and soon after collect their first XAS spectrum.

“These achievements come as a result of extraordinary efforts by a large number of ANSTO staff and contractors, and reflects their expertise and commitment,” said Project Manager, Dr Adrian Hawley.

Other spectroscopy instruments at the Australian Synchrotron include the Terahertz/Far-Infrared beamline is (the lowest photon energy beamline), the Soft X-ray Spectroscopy (SXR) beamline (with low energy X-rays) and the X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) beamline that delivers a very high brilliance X-ray beam over a wide range of energies.

Project BRIGHT funding of just over $94 million by more than 30 stakeholder organisations.

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