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Australian Synchrotron - the future of research

Supplier: Dynapumps
30 May, 2012

When the Australian Synchrotron was finally complete in July 2007, the facility finally provided Australian scientists and researchers, access to a world class facility that could be used in numerous areas of research.

In simplistic terms, a synchrotron is a particle accelerator used to generate a high energy “beam” of electrons, which are accelerated within a circular storage ring to speeds that are close to the speed of light.  When the electron beam, while travelling around this storage ring, is forced to change direction using extremely strong magnets, a highly energised form of light, or synchrotron radiation, is generated.  Scientists transform this light into various forms, including x-rays, and utilise the resulting form of energy in areas of research including bioscience, forensics, environmental and agricultural science as well as minerals exploration and advanced materials development.

At the heart of the synchrotron is one of Australia’s largest and most complex vacuum systems.  In order to ensure that the accelerated electrons can be manipulated without them colliding with unwanted particles, the pressure inside the outer storage ring must be reduced to a level of around 0.000000000000001 % of atmospheric pressure.

To achieve this level of pressure, the Synchrotron utilise advanced vacuum pumps supplied by Varian Vacuum Technologies.  These Ion pumps are the only vacuum pumps that are capable of such low pressures and are standard on all synchrotrons throughout the world.  Since Dynapumps appointment as the Varian Vacuum Technologies agent in Australia, our engineers have been heavily involved in providing assistance to researchers at the Australia Synchrotron, to not only support the existing installed equipment supplied by Varian, but also to improve the performance of their vacuum system, in areas such as pressure measurement as well as ion pump control.

A recent example of this was the supply of modified ion pump controllers to enable the operations engineers to monitor multiple ion pumps with a single controller.  This was previously not available with the original equipment installed by others and has provided the engineering staff at the Synchrotron a far great level of control.  Other current collaborative work being undertaken between Dynapumps and the Synchrotron staff include organising training for engineering staff at the Varian Vacuum Technologies factory in Torino, Italy.