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What Can Be Done in a Light Source?

Whether synchrotrons or FELs, light sources are advancing research and development in fields as diverse as:


  • biosciences (protein crystallography, cell biology)
  • medical research (microbiology, disease mechanisms, high-resolution imaging and cancer radiation therapy)
  • chemical and environmental sciences (toxicology, atmospheric research, clean combustion and cleaner industrial production technologies)
  • agriculture (plant genomics, soil studies, animal and plant imaging)
  • minerals exploration (rapid analysis of drill core samples, comprehensive characterization of ores for ease of mineral processing)
  • advanced materials (nanostructured materials, intelligent polymers, ceramics, light metals and alloys, electronic and magnetic materials)
  • engineering (imaging of industrial processes in real time, high-resolution imaging of cracks and defects in structures, the operation of catalysts in large chemical engineering processes)
  • forensics (identification of suspects from extremely small and dilute samples)
  • materials modification and fabrication

Image 1. 3D reconstruction of the brain of a transgenic mouse, study of Alzheimer's disease, Krucker et al. (SCRIPPS, UZh, ETHZ, PSI). (Courtesy: Swiss Light Source/PSI)

What If I Want to Know More about Light Sources?

For more information about properties and history of light sources, visit (Chapter 2 of the X-Ray Data Booklet published by the Center for X-Ray Optics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).