Detecting a hidden layer in a top work of art by Rembrandt, identifying metal fatigue in ships, predicting arteriosclerosis: these are just a few of the possible applications of Smart*Light, a synchrotron that fits on a table. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology and Delft University of Technology will build and develop this X-ray source within a consortium of other universities and companies. The high-intensity X-ray beam that this device will produce is now only available via large, expensive and scarce facilities. A symposium on Tuesday 23 January gets the research project officially underway.
At the moment, researchers wanting to work with X-ray have just two options: a compact X-ray tube that emits uncontrolled X-rays in all directions or one of the 70 or so synchrotrons available worldwide – large facilities that produce X-rays with a highly precise direction and amount of energy, very expensively. The most powerful source in Europe is the ESRF in Grenoble.
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