Brazilian officials have signed the contract to begin construction of the building housing a new light synchrotron on campus at the University of Campinas in São Paulo.
The new particle accelerator named Sirius is expected to take 3 years to build and will cost BR$510 million (US$ 192 million). Its key components are being designed and built by local technology firms.
A synchrotron is a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator, descended from the cyclotron, in which the guiding magnetic field (bending the particles into a closed path) is time-dependent, being synchronized to a particle beam of increasing kinetic energy. The largest synchrotron-type accelerator is the 27 kilometre diameter Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, built in 2008 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Science, technology and innovation minister Clelio Campolina Diniz was present to the signing by the National Light Synchrotron Laboratory (LNLS), and the National Centre for Energy and Materials Research (CNPEM).
The synchrotron project, masterminded by LNLS director Antonio José Roque da Silva, will have 40 receiving points for accelerated particles built into its shell-like structure. The accelerator ring has a 518 metre circumference and will be installed in a 68,000 square metre building, designed specially to adapt to seismic, subsurface or temperature variations.
When construction is complete in 2018, the new synchrotron will take the place of a smaller device that has been operational since 1997.
The agencies financing the project – the São Paulo Research Foundation and the federal agency FINEP – are encouraging tech startups and small businesses to apply for equipment supply contracts.
The project designers studied similar devices in Sweden and the UK, in order to create a secure floor structure on which the instruments will be based that is almost free of interference caused by any seismic or geological activity.
The light source in the new device is designed to be the highest-energy beam in any synchrotron of a comparable class. The device will be open for use by researchers in many scientific fields including energy, agriculture and health.