History of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource

SPEARBased on new applications of synchrotron radiation, SSRL began in 1973 as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP). The first synchrotron scientific user activities were originally attached to the SPEAR ring and were operated in "parasitic mode" on the SPEAR high-energy physics program. SSRL/SSRP was the first multi-GeV storage ring based synchrotron radiation source in the world, providing intense and stable radiation over a broad spectral range, including hard x-ray.

In the early days, experiments were done in five experimental stations which shared radiation from a few inches of curving path in one of the SPEAR dipole magnets. Each station was equipped with a monochromator to select a particular wavelength of interest to the particular experiment being pursued. Users would bring their samples and sample environments (vacuum chambers, magnets, low temperature chambers, etc.) and install them at the end of the beam line. Some users came from Stanford University, but most came from other universities or labs.

Over the ensuing decades, SSRL has changed markedly. SPEAR became fully dedicated to SSRL in 1992. SSRL operates about nine months of the year with over 30 different experimental stations available for users from universities, private industry, government labs and foreign institutions in numerous disciplines including chemistry, biology, medicine, environmental science, materials science, and engineering as well as applied physics. Over 1,500 scientists from institutions around the world visit SSRL to contact their research experiments every year.

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