Soleil Synchrotron - a project by Sullitron

Have you ever wondered how the organization of a living cell and its molecules can be “seen”?

What happens at a thousandth of a second before the irruption of a volcano? What substance should be chosen to decontaminate a polluted site? The answers to these questions, and many more, lie to a great extent in a synchrotron radiation centre.

One of the newest centres within this field is the Soleil Synchroton located in Saint-Aubin south of Paris, France. The site covers impressive 16.5 hectares, which include the synchrotron building as well as numerous others for offices, restaurants and communication.

Synchrotron radiation

But what is a synchrotron radiation centre? The Soleil Synchroton, its official name, is an extremely powerful light source, which makes it possible to explore almost anything, and thus the tool to answer the questions above.

Specifically, it is a research centre producing and using synchrotron radiation.

The radiation is supplied by a storage ring - 354 m in circumference – in which high energy electrons circulate at a velocity close to the speed of light. At different locations of the ring, the radiation is focused at so called beamlines in which different experiments take place. Presently, 12 beamlines are in operation, a number which will rise to 24 in 2009, where the complex is fully operational. Each beamline is a fully equipped laboratory, which is ready to analyse the samples in question. Through the use of the radiation, the results from the tested samples can help to explore and improve the knowledge of the samples’ structures and properties. Thereby, it will be possible to provide observations on objects of future technologies.

Which are the fields of application?

At Soleil, the tests will primarily be focused within the areas of physics, biology, environment, chemistry, earth science and heritage and thus a wide range of activities in fundamental research.

Within biology the aim is e.g. to determine the three dimensional structures of macromolecules in order to develop new medicine whereas the aim within environment e.g. is to be better to control the pollution of the ecosystem.

Panel application

Obviously, such a complex demands large amounts of electricity to make all the beamlines, laboratories etc. work.

For this purpose, Sullitron in Bordeaux, a French partner of CUBIC, has supplied many panels built in the modular system. In total, the project comprises 10 panels of which many are located in the centre of the synchrotron. These panels, several in a back-to-back solution, are used for controlling the synchrotron and therefore are most of the outgoings feeding motors.

The remaining panels are located in buildings for e.g. offices, technique and communication. The biggest of these panels is built in an L-shape and is together with the other panels also supplying a lot of motors. All in all, the 10 panels from Sullitron include 52 plug-in columns with some 280 drawers as well as other columns with incoming sections, auxiliary etc.