Accelerating progress on SESAME

The SESAME building, 35 kilometres northwest of Amman, Jordan (Image: SESAME)

An important step towards SESAME – Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East – has come with the signing of an agreement by the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the Elettra light source near Trieste for the construction and supply of accelerator components worth €1 million for the new facility. This is in addition to the €5 million that the EC agreed a year ago to provide for the construction of magnets via the CESSAMag project, which is led by CERN.

SESAME is a unique joint venture based in Jordan that brings together scientists from its members Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. The facility – a synchrotron light source – will provide an intense source of light from infrared to X-ray wavelengths, allowing researchers from the region to investigate the properties of advanced materials, biological processes and cultural artefacts.

In synchrotron light sources, electrons are accelerated and stored in a ring of magnets, where they are encouraged to ‘wiggle’ and radiate light. The storage ring must also contain so-called resonant cavities to provide energy to compensate for what is lost through radiation. The storage ring for SESAME will be completely new, but it will be fed by an injector system, including a booster synchrotron, based on elements from the BESSY I machine donated by Germany.

Magnets of the SESAME booster synchrotron (previously used in BESSY 1: donated by Germany) during installation in 2012 (Image: SESAME)

The CESSAMag (CERN-EC Support for SESAME Magnets) project will provide the magnet ring and power supplies for SESAME. CERN has already completed a ‘pre-series’ sextupole (six-pole) magnet for the storage ring. This is the first of several magnet types, which also include quadrupoles (four-pole) for focussing the electron beam, and dipoles (two-pole) for bending the path of the electrons around the ring. The compact sextupole magnets also incorporate other magnetic components to keep the beam on track. Procurement for the magnet system is being carried out in European Union countries and SESAME Members.

The Italian contribution, provided by INFN through Ministerial funds, is to provide the resonant cavities, based on experience at the Elettra synchrotron light source. The agreement was signed at the Frascati National Laboratory where scientists on the SESAME Council met last week.

As well as contributing to the construction of the machine, the training of local researchers and technicians at the laboratories of CERN, the INFN and Elettra is an equally important aspect of both  agreements.