Innovative solutions used in the Sirius particle accelerator drive scientific cooperation between the CNPEM and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ IHEP
On May 30 Brazil and China signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate scientific cooperation in the area of technological applications for synchrotron light sources. The agreement was signed between the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) and the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The CNPEM is responsible for Sirius, one of only three fourth-generation synchrotron light sources in operation worldwide. China has two synchrotron projects underway in order to update to the fourth-generation technology.
At the signing ceremony, CNPEM Director General Antonio José Roque da Silva said, “Both countries understand synchrotron light sources to be important tools for solving major problems and international cooperation networks to be essential in solving long-term challenges in a variety of areas such as the environment, global warming, energy, and health. It is important to highlight that the Brazil/China science and technology partnership is part of a broader scenario that extends beyond synchrotron light to include satellites, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Collaborations like this one are essential for promoting the exchange of knowledge and hastening solutions to global challenges.”
“The signing of this memorandum of understanding embodies the intentions expressed by both countries during a recent visit to China by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Luciana Santos. In fact, the topic was part of the joint declaration by the presidents of Brazil and China, which was published by the federal government at the end of the trip,” noted Carlos Matsumoto, Head of the Special Counsel for International Matters at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).
Relations with China within the sphere of the Sirius project began some time ago; the country even provided some components. Today, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is interested in establishing stronger institutional ties with Brazil to pursue more intensive technology exchange over the longer term.
“The partnership with the CNPEM is a notable achievement, and the main reason for our visit. We wish to join forces to encourage the scientific community to work together, using synchrotron light techniques not only to publish articles, but to approach long-term projects in search of solutions to large-scale global problems,” explained Yiqi Jiang, a representative of the CAS’s Secretary for International Cooperation.
The bilateral accord offers Brazil a strategic position. One of the goals of the Sirius project was to stimulate the development of Brazilian industry by generating demand for services, raw materials, and equipment; because Brazilian companies were involved, 85% of the resources for the project were invested in the country. Along similar lines, the agreement with China could benefit the Brazilian companies that were involved with Sirius, and also transform Brazil into an exporter of high-tech knowledge.
“Over the past decade, Brazil and China have collaborated on synchrotron radiation science and technology at fundamental moments for the development of Sirius, one of the world’s three functional fourth-generation synchrotrons. Now IHEP is spearheading the construction of the HEPS, its own fourth-generation synchrotron, and we are ready to reciprocate their support and share our experience. Today our partnership, solidified through shared knowledge and experience, is being formalized through this agreement signed by the CNPEM and IHEP to allow our scientific and technological collaborations and light the way to a better future, prompting knowledge, discovery, and innovation to benefit both nations,” declared Harry Westfahl Jr., Director of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light National Laboratory (LNLS) at the CNPEM.
The document was signed by CNPEM Director General Antonio José Roque da Silva and Yuhui Dong, Vice Director of IHEP, accompanied by LNLS Director Harry Westfahl Jr. Also present at the ceremony were Yiqi Jiang, Deputy Director of the American and Oceanic Affairs Office in the Secretary of International Cooperation at CAS; You Zhou, First Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology at the Chinese Embassy in Brazil; Huan Li, Second Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology at the Chinese Embassy in Brazil; Lijun Guo, Deputy Director of IHEP within the CAS; Miao He, Director of the HEPS Beamline Division at IHEP; Carlos Matsumoto, General Coordinator for Multilateral Cooperation at MCTI; Liu Lin, Head of the Accelerator Division at LNLS; Lucas Sanfelici, Head of the Beamline Engineering Division at LNLS; Helio Cesar Nogueira Tolentino, Head of the Heterogeneous and Hierarchical Division at LNLS; Narcizo Marques de Souza Neto, Head of the Condensed Matter and Materials Science Division at LNLS; Mateus Borba Cardoso, Head of the Soft and Biological Material Division at LNLS; Eduardo Coelho Pereira, representing the Data Acquisition and Processing Division at LNLS, led by Daniel de Oliveira Tavares.
Sirius began operations in 2020 when the first beamline (as the research stations are called) was made available, prioritizing research related to the Sars-CoV-2 virus in order to combat the Covid pandemic. Today six beamlines are operational and receive project proposals from researchers from across Brazil and around the world. Another four beamlines are beginning operations in the scientific commissioning phase, which involves experiments that help assess the parameters of the research stations. The first phase of the project also includes installation of four additional beamlines, but this depends on the availability of funds in the federal budget.
About the CNPEM
With a sophisticated and vibrant environment for research and development that is the only one of its kind in Brazil and found in only a few scientific centers in the world, the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) is a private, non-profit organization overseen by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). The Center operates four national laboratories and is home to Sirius, the most complex project in Brazilian science and one of the world’s most advanced synchrotron light sources. The CNPEM is home to highly specialized multi-thematic teams, globally competitive lab infrastructure that is open to the scientific community, strategic lines of research, innovative projects in partnerships with the productive sector, and training for researchers and students. The Center is an environment driven by research into solutions that impact the areas of health, energy and renewable materials, agri-environmental, and quantum technologies. Through the CNPEM 360 Platform users can explore spaces via immersive virtual visits to all the laboratories in Campinas (SP) as well as obtain information about the work conducted there and resources available to the scientific and business communities. In 2022, with support from the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC), the CNPEM expanded its activities with the opening of the Ilum School of Science. This interdisciplinary undergraduate program in science, technology, and innovation implements innovative ideas to provide a high quality free and full-time educational program immersed in the research environment at the CNPEM.
Designed and built by Brazilians and funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI), Sirius is one of the most advanced synchrotron light sources in the world. This huge assembly of equipment centers around a state-of-the-art electron accelerator which produces a type of light that can reveal the microscopic structure of organic and inorganic materials. These analyses are conducted in research stations called beamlines. Sirius contains various beamlines which are optimized for different kinds of experiments that function independently, allowing several groups of researchers to work simultaneously on different studies in a variety of areas like health, energy, new materials, and the environment.
The different experimental techniques offered by the beamlines at Sirius make it possible to observe microscopic aspects of materials like the atoms and molecules they contain, their chemical states and spatial organization, as well as to monitor changes over time in physical, chemical, and biological processes that take place in fractions of a second. Using the beamlines, researchers can observe the changes that occur when materials are subjected to different conditions like high temperature, mechanical stress, pressure, electrical or magnetic fields, or corrosive environments, for example. This is one of the main advantages of synchrotron light sources over other experimental high-resolution techniques.
The beamlines at Sirius are advanced scientific instruments that were planned to solve problems in areas that are strategic for the country’s development. Six beamlines have been made available to the scientific and technological community, within a group of 14 lines originally planned to cover a wide variety of scientific projects. All in all, Sirius can house a total of up to 38 beamlines.