B-MRS live on materials research and COVID-19.

B-MRS live gathered 4 panelists from different points of the country  and around 100 participants.
B-MRS live gathered 4 panelists from different points of the country and around 100 participants.

In several Brazilian universities, multidisciplinary scientific teams are currently working to deliver to society, in the shortest possible time, solutions to help combat COVID-19. Beyond generating publications, and even knowledge, the main objective of these works is to save lives.

The materials research community is actively participating in some of these challenges, which could generate important solutions such as rapid, reliable diagnostic tests and virucidal materials for ventilator valves, as well as personal protective equipment (PPEs) produced in Brazil.

In the early afternoon of May 7, in its first live transmission, B-MRS brought together four researchers who are working on these challenges. These scientists told an audience of about 100 how they organized to respond to this emergency situation, and what may be the social impact of their projects. The reports showed the importance of continuous investment in research and collaboration between individuals and institutions.

The discussion was mediated by Carlos César Bof Bufon, researcher and head of the Devices Division at the Brazilian Nanotechnology Laboratory (LNNano/CNPEM). Bufon is part of the organizing committee of the next annual B-MRS event, the XIX B-MRS Meeting.

The online discussion panel, broadcasted on B-MRS’s Zoom platform and Facebook, was held within the Brazilian Virtual March for Science, an event promoted by Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC) with the aim of calling attention to the importance of science.

National tests for COVID-19 diagnosis and detection of antibodies.

The scientists Mariana Roesch Ely (professor at the University of Caxias do Sul, UCS) and Talita Mazon (researcher at CTI Renato Archer) talked about their respective works to develop sensors for COVID-19 diagnostic tests, which they are carrying out with the support of specialists in the Chemistry, Electronics, Informatics, Physics, Materials, Biology and Health areas.

Both sensors are point-of-care instruments. This expression designates miniaturized devices that allow performing tests anywhere, without the need for laboratories or other equipment, and receiving the result within a few minutes.

According to the researchers, the sensors they are developing will be able to detect those infected with COVID-19 within the first day of infection – a characteristic that none of the diagnostic techniques currently used in the country allows. Finally, they said that the new sensors will provide more accurate results (with fewer false negatives or positives) than many of the rapid tests that are currently available on the market.

In both works, the development of the sensors is quite advanced. However, the two scientists concur in stating that 6 months is a reasonable time for a product to be ready, tested with respect to the RT-PCR method (the most reliable at the moment) and viable at an industrial scale.

In her statement, Professor Mariana said that since 2012 she has been working on developing sensors based on magnetoelastic technology, initially aimed at the detection of bacteria and yeasts. When Brazil experienced the outbreak of the Zika virus in 2015, the scientist and her entire research network directed their work towards this virus, gaining experience in detecting this type of organisms, which are much smaller than bacteria. According to Professor Mariana Roesch Ely, the magnetoelastic sensor would be able to detect both the viral particle (from the beginning of the infection) and the antibodies produced by the person who is or has been infected. Thus, it could be an important tool to define measures and protocols in all phases of the pandemic, including the resumption of face-to-face economic activities.

Researcher Talita Mazon said that she has worked five years on integrating ceramic and biological materials to develop point-of-care sensors, which, in her view, are well adapted to the Brazilian reality, given that a large part of the population lives far away from laboratories and hospitals. With the experience accumulated during that time, the scientist was able to finalize in 2019, together with a multidisciplinary team, an electrochemical sensor that detects the Zika virus accurately and within a few minutes. She is currently adapting this platform to detect Sars-COV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease).

Thinking about the possibility of producing the sensor without the need for imported inputs, mainly at an industrial scale, the researcher looked for local partners and adapted the sensor to the biological inputs that could be produced in Brazil. In addition, she is establishing a partnership with the public microelectronics company CEITEC, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, whose installed capacity would allow it to manufacture the chips for all the sensors needed to test the Brazilian population in the next phases of the pandemic. “We have to join forces to develop solutions that can actually be met by the country’s industrial capacity,” said Professor Talita Mazon.

Virucidal materials for masks and respirators

In the panel, Dachamir Hotza, professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), told of the individual and group efforts carried out to bring responses to society during the COVID-19 pandemic. In one of these works, the researcher and his collaborators are carrying out the physical and biochemical characterization of masks used in hospitals in order to define precisely when the masks lose their functionality and need to be replaced. In addition, working with other institutions and a regional company he previously collaborated with, the researcher is advancing in the development of fabrics with virucidal activity. One difficulty that has not yet been overcome, said the researcher, was accessing a laboratory that has the appropriate level of biosafety procedures to perform tests with the new coronavirus.

Active materials in the elimination of the Sars-COV-2 virus were also addressed by Professor Petrus Santa Cruz, from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). The scientist told how he accumulated knowledge generated over decades, available in articles and patents from his research group, for his work related to fighting the pandemic. One example relates to an emergency action aimed at providing the public health system with respirator valves that could be used in patients infected with COVID-19 in a phase prior to intubation, given situations of high occupancy rates of ICU beds and mechanical ventilators. Professor Petrus’ interdisciplinary team, which includes software experts, was able to overcome the challenge of manufacturing these valves on 3D printers with the necessary surface roughness to prevent the bacterial adherence (initially bacteria and, probably, also viruses). In addition, the group is working to give this and other materials an active role in eliminating the virus, using nanotechnology to break through the wall that protects the viral RNA.

Continuous investments for fast results

The four panelists highlighted that the capacity of science to quickly respond to society in times of emergency is the result of many years of efforts and investments. “There is no on/off button for science, because it is made up of the accumulation of knowledge,” said Professor Petrus.

On the other hand, with successive cuts to the CTI budget, many Brazilian researchers have developed strategies to circumvent the difficulties and continue working. It is a characteristic of the Brazilian scientist to adapt to adverse situations, commented Professor Dachamir.

The panelists’ statements showed that a combination of expertise and persistence, on the one hand, and creativity and reinvention, on the other, is part of the method they are applying in their work related to fighting the pandemic.

Another aspect the scientists highlighted as fundamental to the success of emergency projects was the work in multidisciplinary collaborative networks, including with companies that could produce solutions at an industrial scale. “This is the time to intersect everyone’s expertise to give a quick response to society,” said Professor Mariana Roesch Ely.

Special feature: Sirius, the latest generation Brazilian Synchrotron.

Before the end of this decade, the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS), located in Campinas (SP), will be receiving researchers from Brazil and from the rest of the world to use the Sirius, the fourth generation Brazilian synchrotron that will replace or supplement the UVX – the current second generation Brazilian synchrotron, which has been operating since 1997 and is the only synchrotron in Latin America.

Highly appreciated by the scientific community of Materials Science, and by many other areas, synchrotrons are the best sources of beams of X-rays and ultraviolet light, two very useful types of radiation in the study of matter. The process of producing radiation is achieved by the acceleration of electrons moving near the speed of light and subjected to deviations in its path. When diverted, the electrons lose some of their energy in the form of synchrotron light, which is filtered by monochromators that will release radiation by selectively passing the desired wavelength. Therefore, the X-ray beams or ultraviolet light are carried to the experimental stations or light lines, around the accelerator, which have various scientific instruments. The users of the synchrotron make use of the radiation to analyze its interaction with matter through the scientific instruments to obtain information about the structure and properties of the materials at micro and nanoscale.

Sirius, as its name suggests the brightest star in the night sky, will be able to generate extremely bright light beams (up to a billion times higher than the brightness of UVX) – a very important feature that will allow to perform more and better experiments.

This high-brightness radiation, together with advanced scientific instruments and powerful computers to quickly process large amounts of data, will allow performing a wide range of experiments that will generate scientific and technological results in sectors such as Agriculture, Biology, Geology, Energy and Health, and of course in the Materials Science area.

Synchrotron light sources in construction and operating around the world. Map provided by LNLS-CNPEM.

About 300 people are currently working on the project and construction of Sirius, a large-scale and complex project that involves many challenges. One is the development of the synchrotron light source. As a matter of fact, Sirius is one of the first fourth generation light sources in the world (there is only one more currently under construction in Sweden, but neither one operating). There are many challenges, such as developing a system for the monitoring, diagnosis and correction so that the sensitive electron beam trajectory remains stable. Even the construction of the building itself must meet very specific conditions, in order to ensure an almost complete absence of vibration, however small.

This large-scale Brazilian undertaking, whose value is estimated at 1.3 billion reais, is being conducted by LNLS, which developed the UVX and has taken care of its operation, maintenance and upgrades for 19 years. The general management and direction of the team is under the responsibility of the current director of LNLS, Antonio José Roque da Silva. Full Professor of the University of São Paulo (USP), Roque da Silva has an undergraduate and master’s degree in Physics from Unicamp, and a doctorate (PhD), also in Physics, from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of over 120 scientific papers published in indexed journals, many of them related to materials science studies. According to Google Scholar, his publications have over 4,400 citations.

The SBPMat Newsletter interviewed Roque da Silva on the technical characteristics of Sirius, the possibilities it offers to the materials science community, the progress of the project and the future of UVX, among other issues.

SBPMat: Newsletter – Sirius will be a high brightness synchrotron light source. What is the importance of brightness for research in Materials Science and Technology?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – For a given frequency of radiation, its brightness is directly proportional to the flux (number of photons per unit time) and inversely proportional to the product of the beam size times the beam divergence angle). The latter quantity is the beam emittance. Therefore, the lower the emittance, the higher the brightness.

The high-brightness affects the analysis of the materials in different ways:

a.  The higher the brightness of the light produced by the synchrotron, the higher the number of samples that can be analyzed within a time period; This allows performing experiments with temporal resolution, which allows to monitor the progress of reactions or processes, e.g., as a function of time.

b.  Higher brightness means a better signal-to-noise ratio of different analysis techniques.

c.  Low emittance, hence higher brightness, allows probing smaller spatial scales by analytical techniques. This opens study opportunities using nanometer-sized beams, important in areas such as nanotechnology, and other areas.

d. Higher brightness allows the emergence of new techniques or to explore them more effectively. This occurs, for example, with the Coherent Diffraction Imaging technique. Higher brightness will greatly benefit imaging techniques, tomography and microscopy.

The first 13 beamlines that will be installed in Sirius. Data provided by the LNLS-CNPEM.

SBPMat Newsletter: – What are the limitations of UVX synchrotron that will be overcome by Sirius? For example, will there be characterization techniques of materials in the experimental stations of Sirius that cannot be installed in UVX?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – The major difference between the two machines is the energy range in which they operate. The electrons in the storage ring of Sirius will be accelerated up to the energy of 3 GeV, more than double the energy of UVX. This results in producing higher energy X-rays and enables more in depth studies of materials such as steel, concrete and rock due to the penetration of X-rays up to a few centimeters, against some micrometers of the UVX.

Also because of the energy difference, the number of chemicals that may be studied by soft X-ray spectroscopic absorption is also different. In the UVX less than half of the chemicals can be studied, while almost all elements of the Periodic Table can be studied in the Sirius.

The low brightness and high emittance of UVX greatly limits the most modern synchrotron techniques available to the scientific community of the country. Nanotomography, coherent diffraction imaging, fluorescence nanomicroscopy, nanocrystals analysis, materials research under extreme conditions (high pressures and high temperatures), inelastic scattering, temporal monitoring of various processes, together with nanometer spatial resolution and chemical resolution (for example, important for catalytic processes), among many other techniques, cannot be performed in UVX or are carried out with great limitations, however they can all be carried out, with high standard, in the Sirius.

SBPMat Newsletter: – What will happen to the UVX?  Will it be dismantled?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: –  It should be emphasized that everything that the UVX does today can be done much better in Sirius. In addition to the large number of new experiments that cannot be performed in the UVX, as mentioned earlier. The LNLS has decided that during the commissioning period of the Sirius beamlines, the UVX will be kept operational to ensure that the community is not affected by any discontinuity. However, it is not known if after Sirius becomes fully operational the current machine will be preserved or disabled. We know that the scientific instrument available today in some experimental stations of UVX will be transferred to Sirius. Additionally, the cost and feasibility of maintaining the simultaneous operation of two synchrotron light sources must be assessed, as well as the staff (engineers, technicians, researchers and etc.) needed to operate both sources. It is also necessary to assess the users’ level of demand for the experimental stations of UVX once Sirius is fully operating.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Will the expertise of professionals (scientists, engineers, technicians) and Brazilian companies developed during the construction of UVX be used in Sirius? If yes, in what way?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – The Sirius project would not be possible without the expertise and skills of the professionals formed by LNLS over the years, particularly during the construction of UVX. This high-capacity and specialized professional body (scientists, engineers, technicians) formed over the past 30 years, is crucial to the success of Sirius. The amalgamation of experienced professionals that originated with the construction of UVX, including the young people, is a key strategy of the LNLS – for Sirius and for the future of the laboratory. From a technical point of view, the knowledge accumulated by our engineers and technicians during the construction and operation of UVX is what allowed to design a state of the art synchrotron such as Sirius. This experience will also be crucial to the operation of the new synchrotron. And the same goes for the scientists. The involvement with the construction and operation of the beamlines and the experimental stations of UVX is an important factor for the projects of the sophisticated beamlines of Sirius. The ongoing involvement of these researchers in training the new users, which is regularly performed by LNLS, is also fundamental, and which dates back to the beginning of the construction of UVX. We highlight that all of this knowledge acquired over the years also depends on a strong interaction with the international community of synchrotrons. The LNLS is strongly inserted in this community.

From a perspective of companies, the number of companies involved in the construction of the UVX was small. The UVX was not only designed by the LNLS but also mostly built within the LNLS. However, some companies which were important partners of UVX, as for instance Termomecânica, are also participating in the construction of Sirius. But LNLS successfully structured specific programs to involve Brazilian companies in the development and construction of various components for Sirius. These programs are in partnership with research funding agencies like FAPESP and FINEP. The development of partnerships with Brazilian companies will also be important for the future. Finally, the knowledge created by the Brazilian companies that cooperated (and that will continue to cooperate) with the project is extremely important and exceeds the limits of the project itself. This is why we consider Sirius to be a “structuring” project, whose developments will be reflected in new technologies, new products and processes that will bring benefits to the Brazilian high-technology supply chain.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Because it is a very complex, high standard and pioneer engineering project, (there is no other operating 4th generation synchrotron in the world), the construction of Sirius has unprecedented challenges, right? As project director, how do you address these challenges?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – We rely largely on the experience, knowledge and audacity of the team of scientists, engineers and technicians of the LNLS. The courage of this team to face such challenges is among the greatest legacies dating back to the construction of the UVX. The compelling story of the construction of UVX has already been addressed in other SBPMat newsletters [Newsletter Note: see here the first and second part of this story). The culture of “yes, we can do it”, which comes from the beginning of LNLS, it crucial to overcome the challenges. One strategy is to increase the professional personnel, fundamental given the size of Sirius, mixing young people with the more experienced professionals, ensuring to preserve the existing in-house culture and knowledge. In addition to this experience, competence and courage, the continuous interaction with other laboratories is a key factor. We invested heavily in this area, sending LNLS professionals abroad and bringing experts from abroad to visit the laboratory. In this respect, also important is the assessment of our solutions by leading international experts. This is done through evaluation committees that regularly come to LNLS, and through the presentation of our results in conferences and specialized workshops. Also important is the investment made in cutting-edge infrastructure in both manufacturing and metrology. Finally, an important part is in regard to management and coordination of the activities and staff, thereby ensuring the efficient implementation of the necessary processes.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Tell us about the participation of national and international external companies and institutions in CNPEM regarding the development of Sirius.

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – One of the goals of the Sirius project is to stimulate the development of the Brazilian industry, by promoting demands related to technological developments, services, raw materials, processes and equipment. The goal is to apply between 65% and 70% of the project’s funds in the country. We should bear in mind that the project is 100% Brazilian.

Among the already established partnerships, we mention as an example the partnership created with the company Termomecânica of São Paulo, which developed the process to manufacture the raw material for the vacuum chambers of the storage ring and also the hollow copper wires for the electromagnets that allow cooling the water circulating through the pipes (this development dates back to UVX). Another example is the company WEG Indústrias (SC), a traditional electric motors manufacturer, which will manufacture over 1350 electromagnets for Sirius, designed by the technical staff of LNL. This is an exceptional partnership related to the sophisticated development of production processes and which has been extremely successful.

There are also examples of partnerships with smaller companies, such as FCA Brasil (Campinas, SP), for the manufacture of booster vacuum chambers, and with the Company EXA-M Instrumentação do Nordeste (BA), for the development and manufacturing of the devices for heating the vacuum chamber of the storage ring, and with Engecer of São Carlos for the manufacture of special ceramic vacuum chambers.

To increase the participation of national companies in the Sirius project, other systematic initiatives were undertaken. In 2014, negotiations with FINEP and FAPESP culminated in the launching of the first public call to select São Paulo-based companies for the development of 20 technological demands of the Sirius project, with resources of R$ 40 million. These funds were made available under the PIPE/PAPPE grant program, so that each proposal could request up to R$ 1.5 million for its development. Eight companies were selected to develop 13 research projects to carry out the challenges proposed in the bidding process.

In 2015 a second public call for proposals was launched for the development of 13 new technological challenges, with resources amounting to R$ 20 million under the same program. February was the deadline for the submission of bids by the companies, which are currently under analysis by FAPESP. For the second half of 2016 we expect that at least thirteen other companies are approved to develop the challenges of the second FAPESP/Finep call to support the Sirius project.

From an international point of view, as already mentioned, the continuous interaction with several laboratories has been vital to the project. An interesting detail is that today, as we are at the frontier and with several innovative solutions, needless to say there are international groups interested in interacting with the LNLS. That is, Sirius is obviously an important international vector.

SBPMat Newsletter: – What are the funding sources of the project.

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – The project is mainly funded by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, MCTI. It should also be mentioned that the Sirius project was recently included in the Growth Acceleration Program, better known as PAC, and is listed as one of the first MCTI projects to be part of the program.

Other important resources were provided by the State Government of São Paulo. For example, the land area of 150,000 square meters where Sirius will be installed was acquired by the State Government and granted to CNPEM.

Moreover, FAPESP has been an important partner in the interaction programs with companies and in supporting events and in the acquisition of scientific instruments that will be installed in the experimental stations (beamlines) of Sirius.

SBPMat Newsletter: – At what stage is the project now? What is the forecasted inauguration date of the light source and the first experimental stations?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – The construction work of the Sirius building is about 20% complete. Part of the superstructure of the main building and part of the metal structure of the cover of the main building has already been built. An important milestone is making the tunnel available to begin assembling the accelerators at the end of 2017.

Several components of the accelerator are in the production phase. All quadrupoles and correctors of the booster have already been manufactured (by WEG) and delivered. Last week the pilot-batch of sextupoles was delivered, and the manufacture of the sextupoles will begin in two weeks. The prototypes of the booster dipoles will be delivered by the end of March, and its production should begin in early May. The Linac linear accelerator is ready and undergoing tests at the Shanghai Institute of Physics. Additionally, other components have concluded the development stage and are awaiting approval to start production, such as the vacuum chambers of the booster and part of the vacuum chamber of the storage ring. The RF booster cavities have been ordered, and the RF cavities of the storage ring will be ordered. Several other subsystems are in the final prototyping or in the initial production phase.

With regard to the experimental stations (beamlines), their projects are entering the technical detailing and construction phase and/or components acquisition. The projects of the Ipê, Carnaúba, Ema and Cateretê lines are now entering a detailed components phase of the experimental stations, technical designs and construction/custom component orders, such as inverters and mirrors which have a delivery time of up to two and a half years. Basically all the important beamline prototypes will be completed by the end of 2016. Overall, the chronogram of Sirius is on schedule, and the first beam and initial commissioning phase is expected in 2018, that way in 2019 the machine can receive the first researchers.

SBPMat Newsletter: – Would you like to add any comments or information?

Antonio José Roque da Silva: – It should be highlighted that Sirius is a result of the evolution of both the internal capacity of the laboratory as well as the maturing of the scientific community in Brazil. The concept of an Open National Laboratory, which is the goal of LNLS to provide an extremely sophisticated and unique equipment to the ST&I community is at the heart of the culture in the laboratory. Its high performance operation requires constant investment to train this highly specialized human resources (scientists, engineers, technicians), for the maintenance of cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure (accelerators, beamlines, experimental stations, support groups, metrology, manufacturing techniques, etc.), for user training, for developing new technologies, excellence in communication and management. The synchrotron project in Brazil, from UVX to Sirius, is something that all Brazilians can and should be proud of, bearing in mind it began from “square one” and in thirty years has placed Brazil in the state of the art, with a significant effect on the formation of human resources, high-level science, innovation, high-technology development and internationalization.

Simulation of the Sirius building (round, on the left) at CNPEM campus. Provided by LNLS – CNPEM.

History the Brazilian Synchrotron Light National Laboratory. Part 1: The dream of a big research machine in Brazil and the first steps toward the construction of the laboratory.

This photo of LNLS shows the main accelerator and the beamlines. Credits: Julio Fujikawa / Divulgação LNLS.

Since 1997, at the Brazilian Synchrotron Light National Laboratory (LNLS), in the city of Campinas, in São Paulo state, electrons accelerated at a speed very close to the light speed and compressed in a beam of the thickness of a strand of hair travel a 93-meter-long polygon, called “storage ring”, generating a type of radiation of unique brightness with important applications in the study of organic and inorganic matter, the synchrotron light.

In several points around the ring, scientists, mainly from academia but also from industry simultaneously work in several small laboratories, known as “experimental stations” or “beamlines’, which scientific instruments use the beams generated by the synchrotron light source after having been filtered by monochromators. Thanks to such filters, each experiment receives the type of radiation of the electromagnetic spectrum it needs, from infrared up to X-rays.

Still today, the synchrotron light source of LNLS is the single one in Latin America. Since the opening of the laboratory, the use of the experimental stations is free and open to the international scientific community. The candidates submit their research projects to a committee composed by members of the scientific community, which sends them to peer review. The accepted proposals get a room in the busy agenda of LNLS, during the day or at night. In the last few years, the laboratory has benefited around 1,500 researchers a year, original from Brazil (the majority), from Argentina (approximately 17%) and, in smaller proportions, from other countries.

The LNLS research resources are used in works of the most varied knowledge areas, such as Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Geo-sciences and, especially, Material Science and Engineering. “For an expressive number of researches of such area in Brazil, the LNLS beamlines are some of the main measurement instruments in their research programs”, says Harry Westfahl Jr., scientific director of LNLS from March, 2013.

According to Aldo Felix Craievich, a scientist that had an important participation throughout the creation process of LNLS and was its first scientific director, one of the purposes of the laboratory, since the beginning, was to offer to the researchers on Material Science and Engineering a unique and good quality experimental infrastructure. “The operation of LNLS during 17 years already allowed many Material scientists and engineers to perform research in the beamlines in very favorable conditions. And most of these studies would be impossible to perform in classic laboratories”, completes he.  In fact, the high intensity and other unique characteristics of synchrotron light allow to study the materials in a more detailed manner that the radiation that may be produced by sources found in the laboratories of the universities. “Today, a large fraction of materials are in fact nanomaterials and, in such context, the best X-ray tubes can´t compete with synchrotron radiation”, affirms Yves Petroff, French physicist that directed centers of synchrotron light in Europe and was the scientific director of LNLS from November, 2009 to March, 2013.

Having experimental techniques such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), X-ray absorption (EXAFS, XANES), photoelectron spectroscopy (PES), VUV spectroscopy and microtomography, the beamlines at LNLS allow a broad and deep study of the structure and properties of the materials. “The researchers bring to LNLS the materials created in their laboratories, such as, for example, more resistant plastics, more efficient catalysts, or metals with unusual electronic and magnetic properties, to understand at microscopic level the manifestation of such innovative properties, or even to guide new synthesis paths”, exemplifies Harry Westfahl Jr.

According to Aldo Craievich, the contribution of LNLS to the development of Material Science is proven by the quantity and quantity of articles published in high-impact journals based on experimental studies performed in the laboratory. As an example, Craievich comments that, in the three-year period 2006-2008, out of a total of 547 papers generated from works developed at LNLS, which can be seen in the LNLS annual reports, 211 were published in journals of the area of Material Science, number that increases when adding the publications on Chemistry and Physics that deal with basic aspects of the properties of solid materials.

However, the contribution of LNLS to the scientific and technological development of Brazil has started before the laboratory got open to the scientific community. The process of creation and implementation of LNLS as a National Laboratory was a rich experience to its players, and an interesting history to know, especially because the greatest part of synchrotron light sources and of the light lines was designed and manufactured in the country.

LNLS Origin: the beginning

The wish to have in Brazil a great particle accelerator is as old as the community of physicists in the country. One of the first attempts of installing a machine of such type occurred early in the 1950’s and was characterized because it was a proposal of construction, instead of purchase. The military and scientist Admiral Álvaro Alberto de Motta e Silva, who had led the recent creation of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and was at that time the president of the institution, saw in the University of Chicago a particle accelerator of synchrocyclotron type, and returned to Brazil with the proposal of manufacturing a small equipment of such type in Rio de Janeiro, at Brazilian Center for Research in Physics (CBPF), to train technicians and scientists of the country that subsequently would be able to manufacture a bigger machine. The project started in 1952. In 1960, the small synchrocyclotron worked for the first time, but, by several reasons, it has never been fully operational.

With the end of the hardest period of Brazilian Dictatorship, in which many scientists left the country, the issue of the big scientific machine was resumed and, in 1981, the president of CNPq, Lynaldo C. Albuquerque, called the scientific community to prepare proposals of big research machines to implement in Brazil. As a response, the first discussions on the construction of a synchrotron light source occurred in CBPF. At the end of the year, the proposal was presented by Roberto Lobo, director of CBPF, to the president of CNPq. In 1982, both scientists visited the French national laboratory of synchrotron light LURE, at Université Paris-Sud, where Aldo Craievich was taking a post-doctoral internship and acquiring valuable experience in applications of such radiation.

“Since the beginning, the small group of people that participated in such discussions noticed that, to move forward such great, high-complexity, and high-cost project, it was required to reach a consensus in the Brazilian scientific community, and attract a reasonable number of potential interested users”, comments Craievich. In the scientist’s memories, the first public presentation of the preliminary ideas occurred in the Brazilian National Meeting of Condensed Matter Physics held in the city of Cambuquira, in April, 1982. “In the occasion, it was observed a certain resistance of the scientific community upon being informed  of the high cost of the project, due to the fear that this could affect the funding of other projects in progress”, tells Craievich.

Even though, Lobo, Craievich, and some more researchers of CBPF prepared a first formal document aiming at the implementation of a new synchrotron light source in Brazil (“Preliminary proposal of the feasibility study for the implementation of a national laboratory of synchrotron radiation“), which was approved in 1983 by CNPq. CNPq created, then, the Synchrotronic Radiation Project (PRS), coordinated by Roberto Lobo, and engaged in allocating money to form human resources to develop the project and train future users. Also in 1983, in October, CNPq established the PRS executive committee, which was coordinated by Aldo Craievich (CBPF) and counted on more seven participants linked to CBPF, UFRJ, UNICAMP, and USP. Among them was Ricardo Rodrigues, who, some years latter, would be appointed technical director of the construction of the laboratory. To promote a greater disclosure and discussion of the project and the formation of future users, it was held, in August, 1983, at CBPF, the Meeting on Techniques and Applications of Synchrotron Radiation, with the participation of 220 scientists. Also with the purpose of forming new human resources, in early 1984, PRS launched a call offering CNPq’s scholarships for researchers and undergraduate, master´s and PhD students, on themes related to the construction of the source and beamlines and their applications.

Two more newness marked the year of 1984 in the history of LNLS. PRS passed to count on a technical-scientific committee (CTC), chaired by Roberto Lobo (USP), and formed by a dozen of scientists linked to CBPF, IPT, PUCRio, UNICAMP, and USP, including Cylon Gonçalves da Silva, who would become the first director of the laboratory in 1986, and would lead its effective implementation. Additionally, in December, 1984, CNPq took one more step toward the construction of the synchrotron light source upon creating the figure of the National Laboratory of Synchrotron Radiation (LNRS), with Roberto Lobo as pro tempore director, and still without a place assigned to its headquarters.

Right after the creation of LNRS, CNPq called the scientific community to propose places for the construction of the laboratory. From the four proposals – Rio de Janeiro, Niteroi, Campinas, and São Carlos – CNPq president, in one of the last resolutions of his tenure, a little before the end of military government, in February, 1985, chose Campinas as the future headquarters of LNRS.

In the next edition of SBPMat newsletter, don’t miss the article on the second part of this history – the phase of the construction of the laboratory.

Novo equipamento para pesquisa em materiais do LNNano.

Uma estação experimental de espalhamento de raios-X e simulação termomecânica (XTMS)  foi instalada no final de uma das linhas do Laboratório Nacional de Luz Synchrotron (LNLS), localizado em Campinas (SP). O equipamento é operado pelo Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia (LNNano) com apoio do LNLS.

De acordo com a página web do equipamento, a estação XTMS abre novas possibilidades de pesquisa sobre as relações entre tensão/deformação, temperatura, separação de elementos químicos e cristalografia de transformações difusionais e por cisalhamento.

A estação está em funcionamento. Interessados em utilizá-la podem entrar em contato com Antonio Ramirez pelo e-mail antonio.ramirez@lnnano.org.br.

Saiba mais.

Site da estação XTMS no site do LNLS: http://www.lnls.br/xrd/home/xrd1/xtms-x-ray-scattering-and-thermo-mechanical-simulation-experimental-station/


Inscrições abertas para bolsas de verão do Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM).

Estudantes universitários em nível de graduação interessados em participar do 22º Programa Bolsas de Verão do CNPEM devem fazer a inscrição até 30 de outubro.

O objetivo do Programa é incentivar a formação de recursos humanos qualificados para o trabalho científico e tecnológico. O Programa aceita inscrições de alunos da América Latina e Caribe de cursos de Engenharia Elétrica, Engenharia Mecânica, Física, Quimica, Computação, Matemática, dentre outros, que estejam matriculados a partir do 4º semestre e tenham bom desempenho acadêmico.

O CNPEM é composto por quatro laboratórios nacionais: Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron (LNLS), Laboratório Nacional de Biociências (LNBio), Laboratório Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia do Bioetanol (CTBE) e Laboratório Nacional de Nanotecnologia (LNNano). Os selecionados passarão os meses de janeiro e fevereiro dedicados a realizar projeto individualizado, sob orientação de pesquisadores do Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM), em Campinas, São Paulo.

Os benefícios do Programa incluem a passagem de ida-volta desde o local de origem do estudante até Campinas, hospedagem, alimentação, seguro-saúde e traslado diário para o campus do CNPEM.

Informações completas sobre o 22º Programa Bolsas de Verão do CNPEM estão
em http://www.cnpem.org.br/bolsasdeverao