Meet Sirius, the new Brazilian particle accelerator

The newest Brazilian particle accelerator, Sirius, is in the final stages of construction. The equipment is being installed in Campinas, state of São Paulo, and should cost a total of $ 1.8 billion. The federal government has been slowly raising funds for the construction of the accelerator, but in November, with an investment already made at around R $ 1.3 billion, the first tests should begin to be made.

When ready, Sirius will be the most advanced particle accelerator in its class worldwide, being a synchrotron light source. It gets its name from being able to handle this radiation spectrum, which includes X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared light and more.


A set of magnets that causes the electrons to meander inside the storage ring, thereby releasing energy in the form of synchrotron light.


The acceleration of particles occurs through electric fields, and magnetic fields are responsible for changing the path of the particles. In total, Sirius has a circumference of 500 m and a series of stages and acceleration rings for particle studies.

Simply put, the initial acceleration process begins by heating a tungsten wire. With this, electrons are released from the material and carried by a magnetic charge to the acceleration rings and then thrown into a booster.


Sirius building aerial view

This booster is the circular structure responsible for placing these electron beams at almost the speed of light. After that, they are directed to the main throttle, which is this large 500 m structure you see in the images.

The operation of this equipment may seem complicated to those who do not have a thorough knowledge of physics, but Sirius can be used not only to test theories but also to achieve practical results.

Brazil's former synchrotron light source accelerator - which will be replaced by Sirus - was responsible for deciphering in a 3D model a protein essential for the reproduction of the Zika virus. Siruis will be able to get a thousand times better images and, thus, can give a big boost in the quality of Brazilian research in various fields.


Vacuum chambers that will conduct the accelerating electrons

"Sirius is very close to what engineering can build and will be able to produce competitive science internationally for at least a decade, " said LNLS director, physicist Antonio José Roque da Silva.

If there are no further delays in federal government lending for the construction of the accelerator, it is estimated that Sirius will be fully operational by 2019, becoming the most modern equipment in the world in its class.


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Meet Sirius, the new Brazilian particle accelerator via TecMundo