The Evolution of Synchrotron Light Sources

Light is probably the most fundamental research tool. High quality experiments require high quality light. In its history mankind put an immense effort into the improvement of light sources. One high quality source of light is the so called “Synchrotron radiation” emitted by high energy electrons. It is used in science now for more than 60 years. Its quality is determined by the amount of light, coming from a source area, shining into a spatial angle, with a colour, defined as good as possible (monochromatic). Over the decades the light quality generated in synchrotron radiation facilities has been steadily increased. Since the light quality is adopted from the generating electron beam, improvements in light quality requires improvement in electron beam quality. From its very beginnings “Storage Ring” based Synchrotron radiation facilities were the “working horse”, serving a huge amount of scientists for their studies. In the last two decades “Linear Accelerator” (linac) based sources have been build, offering a much higher “peak” quality but being very energy consuming inspite of only small avererage currents. The so called “Energy Recovery Linacs” (ERL) can be considered as a merging of storage ring and linac, combining the advantages of both while skipping its limitations.

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