Synchrotron light source launched
China launched the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility on Saturday, a third-generation synchrotron radiation light source, set to become an invaluable tool for the country's scientific research and industrial community.
The facility, which has gone through 10 years' preparation, is the biggest science research and technology development project in China,expected to cost 1.2 billion yuan (US$145 million), officials say
A third of the funds come from the State, while the rest are split evenly by the Shanghai municipal government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan sent a congratulatory letter to project officials, saying that the facility is an important part of China's strategy to rejuvenate the country by developing science and education.
"It will be very significant for China to develop life, materials and environmental sciences and will have a position in the world's science and technology sphere,'' Zeng said.
When and if it is completed in 2009, the facility should be able to accommodate hundreds of scientists and engineers to do experiments and research and potential development.
Since the birth of the synchrotron radiation light source in 1947, China has undertaken three phases of development in this field. The first generation light source was created in Beijing, as the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the second generation in Hefei, Anhui Province, known as the Hefei Light Source.
The world now has 17 first-generation synchrotron radiation light sources, 23 second-generation ones and 13 third-generation systems in operation.
By 2010, the world will have more than 10,000 scientists and engineers using such light sources for their research, said Xu Hongjie, director of the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The new Shanghai facility, which is designed to build seven beam line experimental stations in its first phase, ranks fourth in the world, behind Japan, the United States and the European Union.
With other third-generation light sources in Taiwan, Japan, the Republic of Korea,and India, it will make up an Asian group, becoming part of a world-class platform.
According to Xu, the Shanghai facility will build more than 60 beam lines and 100 experimental stations. Therefore, it can offer consumers with more than 5,000 hours per year.
"Launching such a project reflects China's scientific creative ability," said Bai Chunli, executive vice-president of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The project in Shanghai will be a stimulus to the strategy to invigorate the city by developing science and education, he said.
Bai's words were echoed by Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng, who said Shanghai is eager to have such an important basic platform to highlight its scientific research.
Xu said synchrotron radiation can be used in scientific research to help discover new materials, clean energy resources and understand natural phenomena.
It will also help push forward the development of the microelectronics industry and other high-tech industries.
"With such a facility, China is able to establish a State Applied Physics Laboratory, which will become a world-level comprehensive high-tech R&D centre," said Xu.