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One year after its inauguration, the ALBA synchrotron (CELLS) has produced its first ray of light. This light, still harmless, is generated by the flow of electrons in the tunnel and, when the facility is working to at full power, will become a super x-ray beam that can penetrate even the most miniscule particles. This is the first step towards researchers being able to start using this cutting-edge technology before the end of 2011.

Applications range from molecular biology, to study proteins and viruses and design new drugs; to medical therapy; environmental science, to determine the structure of pollutants; and materials science, to study its properties.

The ALBA synchrotron is the most important scientific facility in the country and the first of its kind in southwest Europe. “From a scientific point of view, it will give Spanish and Catalan researchers a series of tools that they didn’t previously have and, therefore, makes us much more competitive than before,” explained Dr. Ramon Pasqual, president of the Executive Committee of the ALBA synchrotron in an interview with Biocat last May.

Over the past year, seven beamlines have been finished, which will house research projects carried out by universities, research centers and companies, giving priority to those in Catalonia and Spain. Two additional laboratories will be added next year and, in the long run, the total number could reach thirty.

In just a few weeks, it is hoped the machine will reach full power and the first researchers are expected to start testing the facility this summer. 

The ALBA synchrotron will participate in the global biotech convention BIO Washington (27 to 30 June), alongside the Catalan delegation of 35 companies and 12 organizations coordinated by Biocat.

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