The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is a multi-research center for astrophysics, photovoltaic science, molecule accelerator and research on physical particles. Center running under the Energy department of the US government and Headquarters of the current 3km-diameter accelerator ring, one of the largest in the world.
The SSRL is inside this laboratory (Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Ligthsource), is located inside this facility, that currently uses 20 absolute linear encoders from Fagor Automation.
This lab is supplier of synchrotron radiation. I.e. X rays produced by the electrons that circulate through a ring at near-light speed. This beam of X-rays is used to investigate the behavior of the molecules and atoms of materials with extraordinary properties.
Very important activity for our society because nowadays the basis of new technologies today is the creation of new materials that may have considerable impact in areas like environment, future technologies, health or education.
Repeatability and flexibility granted by programmable resolution are of utmost importance in X-Ray crystallography used in this center.
X-ray crystallography is a method of determining the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and diffracts into many specific directions. From the angles and intensities of these diffracted beams, a crystallographer can produce a three-dimensional picture of the density of electrons within the crystal. From this electron density, the mean positions of the atoms in the crystal can be determined, as well as their chemical bonds, their disorder, etc.
Using X-ray crystallography, the scientists of this center can determine the molecular structure of biological proteins and that”s how Dr. Roger David Konberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2006 for his studies of the process by which genetic information from DNA is copied to RNA.
This lab uses 5 operating systems that include these Fagor Automation high resolution measuring systems and they foresee building more of them.
These operating systems have 10 axes with various functions. The axes control what is called the collimator, they must move horizontally to provide the highest crystal diffraction quality. The speed and accuracy of this movement is extremely important for SLAC researchers. In neutron, X-ray and gamma ray optics, a collimator is a device that filters a stream of rays so that only those traveling parallel to a specified direction are allowed through.
Collimators are used in neutron, X-ray, and gamma-ray optics because it is not yet possible to focus radiation with such short wavelengths into an image through the use of lenses as is routine with electromagnetic radiation at optical or near-optical wavelengths Collimators are also used with radiation detectors in nuclear power stations for monitoring sources of radioactivity.
Another 2 additional axes control what is called the Kappa Goniostat, micro-diffractometer where the crystal is mounted to detect the X-rays.
The ganiostat are designed to allow an accurate positioning of the sample centered in a wide range of positions.
Once again, the repeatability and flexibility offered by Fagor Automation scales is extremely important for the research carried out by this pioneering research center that is visited by more than 3000 scientists from all over the world.