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Join us at BIYSC! Unravelling the invisible

By Ana Belén Martínez (Communications and Outreach manager at the ALBA Synchrotron Facility)

Our eyes are a precious and powerful instrument to discover the world that surrounds us. They help us to understand how things are and how they may change. However, our eyes do also have some limitations and do not allow us to see the inner details of matter. With the help of microscopy, we are able to explore the characteristics of materials. But how can we know even more? How can we reach the frontier?

Aerial view of the ALBA Synchrotron. The rounded part of the building (the “eye”) is where the electron accelerators and beamlines are located.

Aerial view of the ALBA Synchrotron. The rounded part of the building (the “eye”) is where the electron accelerators and beamlines are located.

Synchrotron light is electromagnetic radiation that covers from infrared to hard X-rays. By using synchrotron light, researchers can obtain very useful information studying how light is absorbed, diffracted, scattered by their samples. This makes possible to understand very tiny details and features about their structure reaching the atomic and molecular levels.

A researcher of one of the ALBA’s beamlines is checking the monochromator, an instrument for selecting the needed wavelength for each experiment.

A researcher of one of the ALBA’s beamlines is checking the monochromator, an instrument for selecting the needed wavelength for each experiment.

Although synchrotron light does exist in our universe, inside the stars, there are also other places where synchrotron light is emitted. ALBA is the only synchrotron light source in Spain. In our facility, electrons are accelerated almost at the speed of light (99.9999%). Once they are curved by strong magnets to keep a circular trajectory, they emit synchrotron light that is used by researchers to analyse the structure and properties of different types of samples: cells, proteins, magnetic materials, powder materials, glass, etc. Synchrotron light is a million times brighter than the Sun, which enables researchers to understand how materials are and how they can be modified under certain conditions (pressure, time, temperature, etc.). The ALBA Synchrotron has eight beamlines where different experiments can be performed at the same time for creating new knowledge in areas such as physics, chemistry, life sciences, materials science, cultural heritage, biology, nanotechnology, etc.

One of the visitors next to the magnets of the ALBA Synchrotron at the experimental hall

One of the visitors next to the magnets of the ALBA Synchrotron at the experimental hall

Join at BIYSC! Be ready to enjoy a visit to the ALBA Synchrotron, where you will be able to find a huge scientific infrastructure in which scientific and technological disciplines live together to work with extremely high precision and accuracy. Despite the complex of accelerators has a perimeter of almost 300 meters, the electron beam generated is as thick as a human hair. Our “eye” is too big to discover really tiny things. APPLY NOW!

logo ALBA BIYSC

BIYSC is an International Scientific Challenge programme, that aims to connect the most passionate science students with the best researchers in their field. Registrations are open, do not lose your place! If you like science and you are between 16-19 years-old you cannot miss BIYSC from July 11th to 22nd 2016 in ‪#‎Barcelona! 10 projects, 10 ‪‎research centers, two weeks of practical courses to work in research centers side-by-side with researchers, ‪scientific conferences, debates, visits to the research centers and much more! Are you in? www.biysc.org

The ALBA Synchrotron. ALBA is the Spanish synchrotron light source. It is a complex of electron accelerators to produce synchrotron light, which allows visualization and analysis of matter and its properties at atomic and molecular levels.  ALBA is in operation since May 2012 with eight beamlines in operation and two more in construction. This scientific infrastructure produces about 6.000 hours of beamtime per year and is available for the academic and the industrial sector to give service to more than 1.000 researchers every year.

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