Brazil invests in cutting-edge technology with sirius project
The Sirius project – Brazil’s new synchrotron light source, the most complex scientific infrastructure ever built in the country and one of the world’s first 4th generation synchrotron light sources –, reflects the country’s investments in cutting-edge science and technology. The country is one of the few in the world to have harnessed this technology and has the capability to build a laboratory to support it.
The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) is responsible for the only synchrotron light source in Latin America since the late 1990s. As the new facilities are now available to researchers, Sirius will allow for corporate research in strategic areas, such as energy, food, environment, health, defense, and many others. In agriculture, for instance, it can be used for soil analysis and for the development of more efficient and cheaper fertilizers that are more environmentally and health-friendly.
The Sirius Project has an estimated cost of R$ 1.8 billion. It consists of a set of electron accelerators, experimental stations and a building that houses the entire complex. It is based in Campinas, São Paulo, a highly scientific and technology-driven area of Brazil.
The first electron beam traveled along the Sirius particle accelerator on March 8 of this year, a date considered as the milestone for the deployment of the new Brazilian synchrotron light source.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC) is responsible for overseeing the projects developed by the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory. The MCTIC expects partnerships and cooperation schemes to be set up with countries and corporations interested in conducting tests and trials, which would boost the LNLS’s performance and generate resources to support some of its operations.
Synchrotron light or radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that extends over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum – infrared light, ultraviolet light, and X-rays.
Synchrotron light is produced when charged particles, accelerated to speeds close to the speed of light, have their trajectory deflected by magnetic fields. The Synchrotron Light Source is a large machine capable of controlling the movement of these charged particles – typically electrons – to produce this synchrotron light.
Important fields of study, such as energy, healthcare and the environment, may gain additional insight into how things work at the scale of atoms and molecules. This is what enables the development of lighter and more resistant materials, better drugs, more efficient fertilizers, foods that are more nutritious, renewable energy sources or less polluting industrial processes.