Box 12 - Basic research: the Laboratory of Synchrotron Light

The source of synchrotron light that is being built at the National Laboratory of Synchrotron Light (LNLS) in Campinas is a large undertaking with a strong interdisciplinary content. The equipment consists of an electron accelerator and a storage ring. Electrons circulate at high speed producing electromagnetic radiation of high intensity, covering an extensive energy band. This radiation can be used for different purposes, from basic research in solids, atoms, molecules and biological materials to different applications such as photolithography for the fabrication of highly integrated electronic circuitry. The light source is being built by a well\_coordinated team of physicists, engineers and technicians, using many components developed in association with national companies. About US$ 11m have been invested so far in the project. It is the first Brazilian experience of building and, later, operating a large physical laboratory to be used by researchers from the whole country. Its success or failure will have important consequences regarding future decisions to go ahead with other large projects. The total estimated cost of the light source is US$ 35 million.

SÚrgio Resende, 1993.