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Inauguration of BEATS, the BEAmline for Tomography, at SESAME synchrotron


Today, the BEAmline for Tomography at Sesame (BEATS), in Jordan, was inaugurated. The new beamline will provide full-field X-ray radiography and tomography techniques, thus extending the scientific possibilities of the facility and the research opportunities in the region. At the inauguration, the ESRF’s Director of Research Gema Martínez-Criado represented the ESRF, coordinator of the EU project that successfully brought together leading research facilities in the Middle East and European synchrotron radiation facilities.

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BEATS first delivered synchrotron light to its experimental station on 11 May 2023, a success that is now being celebrated with this official inauguration.

BEATS was designed, built and successfully commissioned thanks to a European project that brought together leading research facilities in the Middle East (SESAME and The Cyprus Institute), and European synchrotron radiation facilities: ALBA-CELLS (Spain), DESY (Germany), Elettra (Italy), the ESRF (France), INFN (Italy), PSI (Switzerland) and SOLARIS (Poland). The initiative has been funded through a 6 Mio € grant by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 822535. The project, which started in 2019, was coordinated by the ESRF.

“SESAME brings together researchers from different countries in the Middle East. BEATS will facilitate these important regional cooperations and the knowledge exchange among scientists even more,” says Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, President of SESAME Council. “The growth of scientific knowledge and expertise in turn contributes to economic development, innovation, and competitiveness of the whole region.”

“BEATS adds new analytical capabilities to SESAME’s research portfolio. Tomographic X-ray microscopy will allow the non-destructive investigation of unique samples and will provide a formidable research tool for many scientific areas,” adds Khaled Toukan, Director of SESAME.

Two powerful techniques for non-destructive 3D imaging

Indeed, BEATS will offer two kinds of powerful experimental 3D imaging techniques that are new at SESAME: full-field X-ray radiography and tomography. They will be helpful for the analysis of a large variety of objects and materials and thus offer the opportunity to study an impressive range of scientific questions in the areas of medicine, biology, engineering, materials science as well as earth and planetary sciences. Due to its non-destructive approach, the new beamline is of particular importance to the study of cultural heritage and archaeological samples, thus representing a key asset for researchers in the SESAME region.

“BEATS enhances the visibility and international recognition of the Middle East region's scientific community,” says Maria Hadjitheodosiou, Ambassador of the EU to Jordan. “It will attract collaborations and partnerships with researchers from around the world.”

Jordan's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Prof. Azmi Mahafzah adds that Jordan is proud to be the host nation of SESAME: “Since the beginning, the SESAME project received the immediate support of His Majesty King Abdullah II. We are also very grateful to the European Commission for its generous contributions and on-going support to SESAME.”

In coincidence with the inauguration of the new beamline, SESAME has also organized the first edition of the “BEATS X-ray tomography lectures & training course” to be held on SESAME campus on 6 – 7 June, with the objective to qualify a group of early users from the region and to enable them to use the new beamline effectively.

The first opportunity for scientists to submit a proposal to use the BEATS beamline will be in September 2023.



Top image: The SESAME building. Credits: SESAME