09 August 2022

From the 27th to 30th of June at the G. I. Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics (Novosibirsk, Russia) in a mixed format, the international conference “Synchrotron and Free electron laser Radiation: generation and application (SFR-2022)” was held. The forum is held every two years and continues a series of events on the use of synchrotron radiation, held since 1975 in Novosibirsk. This year, researchers from 12 Russian cities, as well as from China, Korea, and the UK took part.

The event covered a wide range of topics: reviews of the current state of Megascience class research centres, their development programmes, the existing instrumentation base and applied experimental techniques were presented. During the conference, 183 participants presented 75 plenary and oral presentations, as well as 105 poster presentations.

Anatoly Snigirev, director of the International Scientific Research Centre "Coherent X-ray Optics for Megascience Installations", joined the international advisory committee of the conference from the side of the BFU. He presented the main results and achievements of the team in the field of development and application of X-ray refractive optics, as well as devices based on it. Special attention was paid to new solutions and concepts for designing and equipping research synchrotron stations.

Anatoliy Snigirev, director of the Moscow Scientific Research Centre for the Regional Education of the IKBFU:

"Close attention should be paid to the design of experimental stations for the new source. It was rather strange to hear about the temptation to order turnkey stations in the west. No successful research station can be built on a turnkey basis. The embodiment of the thought and soul of the specialist who designs it must be realized. Of course, users should also be directly involved in the development. The station is difficult to compare with the SKD assembly of cars, which is a kind of constructor. This is a serious research work, in which different aspects must be taken into account. In order for experimenters to fully enjoy the possibilities of the new generation of the 4+ source, optics are needed that can maintain the coherence of such a source, and coherently oriented research methods are needed. The developments of our group, the existing groundwork and the accumulated competencies for these needs allow us to offer the concept and equipment of stations that are much more efficient than most of the proposed solutions."

Dmitry Zverev, a researcher at the Moscow Research Centre for Regional Development, presented a report on a new type of X-ray optical elements – X-ray beam formers based on refractive optics for modern sources, and also demonstrated the possibility of X-ray beam expansion with their help.

“The development of the beam formation methods proposed in the report, as well as research and diagnostic methods based on refractive optics will make it possible to most effectively use the most outstanding properties of new generation synchrotrons, such as brightness, monochromaticity, coherence. The optics we are developing and the limiting characteristics of modern sources will make it possible to obtain advanced scientific results, for example, in experiments on the study of substances under extreme conditions,” said Dmitry Zverev.

Poster presentations were dedicated to the developments of the International Scientific Research Centre RO. For example, a new method has been proposed for accurately determining the crystal orientation and tuning of single-crystal elements of X-ray optics by applying the effect of diffraction losses (glitches).

Natalia Klimova, junior researcher of the International Scientific Research Centre RO IKBFU:

"The proposed method can be used to determine the orientation of single-crystal optics relative to the X-ray beam, which will make it possible to avoid intensity losses (glitches) due to unwanted diffraction inside single crystals. In addition, we propose to use the glitches themselves to fine-tune the monochromator in order to refine the absolute energy of X-rays, which is necessary to improve the accuracy of spectroscopic research methods. Our method can be automated and routinely applied to any modern X-ray source.

Besides, the results of studies of single-crystal silicon planar composite refractive lenses under the conditions of glitches, which were carried out jointly with colleagues from the National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, the Institute for Problems of Technology of Microelectronics and High-Purity Materials of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the A.V. Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography Federal Research Centre RAS. This is an urgent task for evaluating the operational parameters of such optics when used on modern sources. The detected changes in the shape of the focus of planar lenses during the glitch effect were observed for the first time, and at the moment, work is underway on a comprehensive analysis and explanation of the observed effects, and the results will soon be published in the journal “Crystallography”.

Anton Narikovich, Research Engineer of the International Scientific Research Centre RO, presented a unique development of the ISRC – the compact X-ray zoom. This is an optical device designed to precisely move X-ray refractive lenses that are aligned along the optical path of the synchrotron radiation and, thereby, form a composite refractive lens that can be used as a variable focal length lens – a zoom lens. The small overall dimensions and weight of the device allow it to be used for a wide range of experiments. The main feature is the independent movement of individual lenses without shifting the holders, which, unlike existing models, provides a smooth and linear change in the focus position.

“Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics invariably demonstrates a high level of organization of scientific events. Participation in SFR conferences is of great interest to me, primarily due to the high level of reports. Any participant can easily ask questions of interest; consult directly with members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I would also like to note the excellent location – the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok, with its own special atmosphere. I will look for an opportunity to come to the next conference in 2024. Regarding the construction of a new SR source: it is very interesting to know that the injector will be moved outside the main ring of the accelerator complex and, since the building with the injector will be built faster, this will allow us to start working with the beam earlier without interfering with the construction of the main ring,” added Anton Narikovich.

The main interest of the participants of the SFR 2022 conference was directed to the current status of the creation of the Siberian Ring Photon Source – “SKIF”, the construction of which began in the vicinity of the Koltsovo science city in the Novosibirsk Region in August 2021. This is a Megascience class project with the world's first 4+ generation synchrotron radiation source, which is determined by the brightness of the source radiation, its size and beam divergence, which opens up great opportunities for scientific stations at the synchrotron. According to preliminary calculations, “SKIF” can reach record performance – four times better than the performance of the only fourth-generation synchrotron MAX IV operating in Sweden at the moment in the world.

The Collective Use Centre will include 30 experimental stations, 14 of which will use the radiation of plug-in devices (placed in straight sections of the main ring 4–6 metres long), and 16 will be located on beams of bending magnets.

The conference was of particular importance also because such large-scale scientific projects are unlikely to appear in the world in the next ten years. The experts also discussed the operation of the complex in the face of external sanctions pressure. Some stations were supposed to be equipped with equipment from European countries, but now the joint efforts of Russian specialists will be replaced by domestic developments. In particular, lively discussions were held with representatives of various research groups interested in creating collaborations with the Moscow Scientific Research Centre in order to design stations and apply new research methods based on refractive optics in the context of using the potential of the future 4+ generation source of the “SKIF”.

Anatoly Snigirev, director of the Moscow Scientific Research Centre for the IKBFU Regional Education:

It is a very unfair situation. We have created a serious backlog of interaction with European centre, a lot of joint work has been carried out. But now everything has changed – as a result of unjustified unilateral sanctions of Western partners, scientific cooperation has been stopped. But the activity of our group from the very beginning was aimed at our own unique developments of X-ray optics. Now the time has come when we can, with full responsibility and understanding, offer our achievements and developments for domestic projects. We do not lag behind our Western colleagues, since the priority in the main directions of development of hard X-ray optics belongs to Russia. We are ready to get to work. Our country has a high potential and level of competence of specialists. The main thing now is to mobilize the user community, which, as we saw at this conference, already exists. It remains only to establish interaction for joint problem solving. In this regard, the current conference is of exceptional importance for the scientific community as a whole.

Participation in the international conference “Synchrotron and Free electron laser Radiation: generation and application (SFR-2022)” was supported by the Russian federal programme of academic leadership “Priority 2030” at the I. Kant Baltic Federal University.