Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin


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authored a year ago:

Accelerator tourism Part 7: SOLEIL, France

Past October I visited the synchrotron SOLEIL, literally translated "Sun", southwest of Paris (France).

SOLEIL is an acronym for "Source optimisée de lumière d’énergie intermédiaire du LURE", and I got the impression, the national french synchrotron close to Saint-Aubain is - oh là là, we are in France - quite a beauty in building, garden and entire facility including the (to my opinion) fancy guesthouse.




354 m in circumference, it accelerates electrons up to 2,75 GeV by using superconducting cavities.


SOLEIL hosts 43 beam lines, some of them with names like e.g. Disco, Metro, SAMBA, ROCK and CASSIOPÉE. End of 2016 28 of them were in use, providing infrared to X-ray light for various experiments and research-the "common" synchrotron game, so far.


And hey, these guys there in-the-middle-of-the-french-Green have got something which is a real eye catcher, and that´s their pillar-style RF racks which provide the power for the ring. I´d never seen such an architecture before, and I learned it´s only SOLEIL and ESLS in Grenoble who run racks like these:


Since my flight back to Berlin didn´t leave before the next Saturday morning after the workshop, in the late afternoon I had a stroll through very romantic Saint-Aubain and then spend the last night on the campus with almost nobody else but the quietly whispering synchrotron in its Shutdown. A synchrotron always generates some noise, a slightly hissing sound here, the gentle noise of a lonely pump there. A synchrotron never sleeps.