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H2020 project for a tomography beamline at SESAME is officially launched


On 1st January 2019, the European Horizon 2020 project BEAmline for Tomography at SESAME (BEATS) was launched with the objective to design, procure, construct and commission a beamline for hard X-ray full-field tomography at the SESAME synchrotron in Jordan. The European grant is worth 6 million euros and will span a four-year period from beginning 2019 to end 2022.

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Led by the ESRF, the European synchrotron (France), BEATS involves leading research facilities in the Middle East (SESAME and the Cyprus Institute), and European synchrotron radiation facilities ALBA-CELLS (Spain), DESY (Germany), the ESRF (France), Elettra (Italy), INFN (Italy), PSI (Switzerland), SESAME (Jordan) and SOLARIS (Poland). The initiative is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Nine partner institutes will join forces to lay the groundwork for the efficient and sustainable operation of the SESAME research infrastructure. Through the development and consolidation of the scientific case for a beamline for tomography, and actions to fortify the scientific community, the partners will pay particular attention to the R&D and technology needs of the SESAME Members. Built upon the OPEN SESAME project, BEATS will address the issue of sustainability of operation by preparing medium- to long-term funding scenarios for the tomography beamline and the facility.

The launch of BEATS represents a new step on the way to beginning research at the first light-source laboratory in the Middle East. SESAME was established under the auspices of UNESCO before becoming a fully independent intergovernmental organisation in its own right in 2004. SESAME’s Members are, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey. Its mission is to provide a world-class research facility for the region, while fostering international scientific cooperation. On January 2017, the first beam circulated in the pioneering SESAME synchrotron, paving the way for the research programme.

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The H2020 BEAmlines for Tomography at Sesame project was officially launched on 1st January 2019.

Two beamlines are presently installed at SESAME (XAFS/XRF and IR). One more beamline is being installed (Materials Science), and components for a fourth beamline for Macromolecular Crystallography are being procured. BEATS will contribute to developing the scientific case and the science community of the fifth beamline, dedicated to tomography. Today, there is significant interest from the cultural heritage and archaeology communities for a tomography beamline. The project will also explore applications in environmental and materials sciences with links to industries in the region served by the SESAME light source. X-ray computed tomography (CT) is a widely used method of obtaining non-destructive high resolution cross sectional views of objects. The high intensity and coherence of synchrotron X-rays allow for submicrometer resolution and 3D reconstruction of samples.

“The BEATS project is a great opportunity to share the know-how and expertise, accumulated by the European synchrotron facilities over the last decades, with our colleagues from SESAME. It is a beautiful example of international scientific collaboration, in the spirit of the European Commission’s framework programme Horizon 2020. We will do our best to make this project a success and to establish SESAME as a centre of excellence in X-ray science in the Middle East” says Michael Krisch, BEATS Project Coordinator and Head of ESRF’s Instrumentation Services and Development Division.

According to Giorgio Paolucci, SESAME Scientific Director, "BEATS represents a major step towards the accomplishment of the mission of our centre. We are particularly grateful to the European Commission and to all our European partners which will allow the construction of such an important instrument in the Middle East.”

BEATS will receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 822535.

Top image: The SESAME light source is located in Allan in Jordan.¬©Sesame