Physics in Canada 55 (1999) 191-198.

Some applications of synchrotron light to physics and chemistry

Adam P. Hitchcock and John J. Neville

 Synchrotron light is an accelerator based light source that covers the complete electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to hard X-ray. It is intense, bright, fully tunable, highly polarized, and has a time structure useful for many types of dynamics experiments. Aside from the visible, near-IR and near-UV where lasers are generally superior, the properties of synchrotron light far surpass those of available lab sources. The ~50 facilities world wide are used by up to 20,000 scientists annually, from many disciplines, but researchers from physics and chemistry are the most prevalent. This article outlines the general properties of synchrotron light and describes some Canadian research in this area, using mainly examples from our research. It also describes the Canadian Light source, a recently funded 2.9 GeV facility that will enable Canadian scientists to contribute more effectively in this arena. The future of synchrotron research in Canada is bright indeed!