keith_nugent_webpic.jpgAustralian Synchrotron users and staff are continuing to compile an impressive list of achievements and awards, including an international award for a new x-ray detector.

The Maia detector system on the x-ray fluorescence microscopy beamline here enables researchers to obtain nanoscale information with 1000 times more detail than was previously possible. It was recently judged one of the 100 most significant technological products to enter the world market in the past 12 months. The detector has also received a state-level award for innovation in information and communications technology. The Maia detector was developed jointly by researchers from CSIRO and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

Recent research papers in prestigious scientific journals include a Nature Chemistry paper about synthetic manganese catalysts for solar energy production. This was authored by Rosalie Hocking from Monash University and others including the synchrotron’s Chris Glover. Another paper in Nature Photonics reported the first time that the full wavelength (colour) range of synchrotron light has been used to produce images, a development that could enable some sample images to be collected 60 times faster than by current methods. The Nature Photonics paper was authored by Brian Abbey from the University of Melbourne and others, including AS Head of Science Andrew Peele and me.

We are also working with users and students to spread the synchrotron message further afield.

The Australian Synchrotron user meeting to be held on 8-9 December will provide plenty of opportunities for synchrotron users to discuss their techniques and achievements and for new users to learn from more-experienced hands.

To help encourage the next generation to take an active interest in synchrotron science, AS education officer Jonathan de Booy is holding a series of laboratory sessions over the next few weeks for high school students.

Another essential element of our future is funding. After attending a recent meeting with state and federal government departments and key science agencies, I’m pleased to say that these discussions are proceeding at a good rate and all parties are working to ensure our ongoing success.

Keith Nugent
Director, Australian Synchrotron