Dazzling new light source opens at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

"The light shines brilliantly these days at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL). The start up of SSRL's new synchrotron light facility, SPEAR3, guarantees a world-class program in x-ray science for years to come," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "This is the first time the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health have joined in funding an accelerator research facility. I expect this to be a long and productive collaboration whose impact will be truly far-reaching, generating new knowledge and benefits to humanity."

Some 2,000 scientists from around the country will use SPEAR3's extremely bright x-ray light each year to illuminate the long-kept secrets of materials, chemical and biological matter.

SPEAR3, was formally opened at a dedication ceremony at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) on January 29. SPEAR3 incorporates the latest technology--much of it pioneered at SSRL and SLAC--to make it competitive with the best synchrotron sources in the world.

Synchrotron light has revolutionized our view into the sub-microscopic world and has contributed to major innovations in fields including solid-state physics, materials science, environmental sciences, structural biology and chemistry. Synchrotron light is created when electrons traveling the speed of light take a curved path around a storage ring--emitting electromagnetic light in x-ray through infrared wavelengths. The resulting light beam has characteristics that make it ideal for revealing the intricate architecture and utility of many kinds of matter.

"This facility will be crucial to advancing the field of structural biology, which is growing in importance to the NIH mission, by enabling cutting-edge targeted drug design projects and major efforts such as the Protein Structure Initiative and the Structural Biology arm of the NIH Roadmap," said Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health. "From its

Contact: Neil Calder
DOE/Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

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