Shanghai light source is out for a month

Li Qian
The  Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility will undergo a complete check and more equipment will be added to ensure a more stable light source for scientists and researchers. 
Li Qian
Shanghai light source is out for a month
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The nautilus-shaped Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility

The Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, known as the “Shanghai light source,” is to close for a month for checks and the addition of new equipment. 

A more stable light source will be provided to users after it opens again, according to the facility.

Featuring a giant nautilus-shaped structure, the facility is the core of a cluster of infrastructure facilities at the Zhangjiang Science City in the Pudong New Area.

It is the first intermediate-energy, third-generation light source on the Chinese mainland, and the nation’s biggest scientific facility and the biggest platform for scientific research and technological development.

It uses "synchrotrons radiation" technology, by which electrons move in a circle and emit electromagnetic waves in a wide range of frequencies to create beams that are hundreds of millions of times brighter than a normal X-ray.

It’s like a super X-ray machine and super microscope, allowing researchers to discern the structure of a virus, a protein and even an atom.

Zhang Qinglei, deputy researcher from the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, works as a “guardian” of the facility.

“Our work is to ensure the stable beamlines to users and fix problems such as the drop of luminous flux in time,” he told the Xinmin Evening News.

Now, he and his colleagues are working on the research into a fourth-generation light source.

According to Zhang, the third-generation light source helped scientists to take pictures of molecules, but the fourth-generation can take film of molecules and 3D holographic images of living cells.

Since the facility opened its doors to scientists on May 6, 2009, it has been used by tens of thousands of users from universities, hospitals, research institutes and technology companies in fields including life sciences, new materials research, environmental sciences, medicine and pharmacy, information technology and archeology.

In the past 10 years, scientists have made a great many breakthroughs, including insights into fatal diseases such as H1N1 swine flu, repairing valuable antiques in the Palace Museum in Beijing and inventing new materials used in high-speed trains.

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