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Australian National Beamline Facility at The Photon Factory

Tsukuba, Japan

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Photon Factory, November 1998

Tsukuba, Japan


Towards the end of the 1980s a core group of Australian researchers who made regular use of synchrotron radiation (SR) in their research programmes began devising a plan which would for the first time open the field of SR to all Australian researchers by providing a mechanism for routine access to a state-of-the-art facility such as the Photon Factory here at KEK. Through their efforts in lobbying the Australian government and the generosity of the Photon Factory management, the Australian National Beamline Facility (ANBF) came into being.
The ANBF in its current form is a collaborative research project between the Photon Factory and the Australian Synchrotron Research Program (ASRP). The ASRP is funded by the Australian government directly under the Major National Research Facilities programme and includes with the ANBF an Australian involvement with three Collaborative Access Teams (CATs) at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, USA.
The ANBF has two full-time staff members based permanently at the PF. Dr. Garry Foran, the Project Leader, first came to Japan in 1982 as a high-school student and has made many trips to Japan since. He has been living in Tsukuba and working for the ANBF since construction began in 1992. Dr. James Hester recently joined the ANBF after four years working at another institute in Tsukuba (NIRIM). James replaced Dr. David Cookson who is still working for the ASRP but is now part of the ChemMat CARS CAT at the APS.
The ANBF has been operational at the Photon Factory since 1993 and currently hosts about 40 experimental groups per year. The groups cover a wide range of scientific interests including physics, chemistry, materials science, mineralogy, biology and biomedicine (See below for more details). In addition, the ANBF collaboration with the Photon Factory has led to an increased usage of other beamlines at the facility by Australian research groups. Currently about 15 experimental teams per year make use of Photon Factory beamlines other than the ANBF.
Beamline Description
Because the ANBF serves such a wide range of scientific disciplines with many and varied demands, it is by nature a multi-purpose facility providing monochromatic or white beam photons in the hard X-ray range (4 - 25 keV or 0.5 - 2.5A) for use by experimenters.
Two experimental stations are available at the ANBF. The main station is a multi-configuration two-circle diffractometer which is mounted inside a large vacuum chamber. The instrument is designed to operate in a conventional scanning mode of data collection but is optimised for high-speed data collection using X-ray imaging plates (IPs), which currently have 100 pixels per degree resolution. The main technique for which this instrument is used is high-resolution powder diffraction. A complete high-resolution data set for a single sample can be collected in fewer than 5 minutes using this instrument. Recently several multiple anomalous diffraction (MAD) experiments using the IPs have been performed with encouraging results.
In addition, the diffractometer can be operated in a time resolved mode which makes it suitable to study dynamic processes and phase transitions. The unique combination of IP detection and vacuum operation of the diffractometer makes it appropriate for a number of other techniques. It can be configured for grazing-incidence diffraction to study thin films and surfaces, triple-axis diffraction and small angle scattering which has found popular application in the study of natural fibres of animal and human origin.
The second experimental station at the ANBF is an optical table which is used primarily for X-ray absorption experiments (XAFS) but can be configured also for optics and imaging experiments. An extensive range of detection equipment is available for XAFS experiments including a 10 element germanium solid-state advanced array detector for fluorescence XAFS. A recently-acquired closed-cycle He refrigeration system permits cold XAFS experiments down to 10K. Both liquid and solid-sample XAFS experiments are routinely performed.
Currently, XAFS and powder diffraction make up about two thirds of the experiments performed at the ANBF. Research conducted using the diffractometer during the most recent cycle (Feb - June 1998) included studies of phase changes during cement hardening, annealing effects in ferrite powders, effect of various treatments on wool fibre structure, and effect of high temperature treatment on the phase composition of metal oxides. XAFS projects included studies of reactive Cr complexes in frozen solutions, studies of Ru complexes in solution, studies of Synroc local structure, and investigation of Cu mineral structures.
Two rounds of beamtime applications are conducted each year, usually in mid-July (for beamtime in October-February) and mid--January (for beamtime April - June). Applications are refereed and applicants are normally informed of the outcome within about a month of the application deadline. Further details and application forms can be obtained from the ASRP project manager, Richard Garrett (garrett@ansto.gov.au) and from the ANBF on-site staff (see below), who would be happy to advise on project feasibility.
Back to the Future
After more than five years of operations at the ANBF, the facility continues to mature and attract new and interesting scientific problems both to BL-20B and the PF as a whole. While demand for beamtime at the ANBF is now considerably beyond what can be supplied, it is hoped that the ANBF can continue to grow by concentrating effort into untapped Australian markets such as those research groups that require SR in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) and soft X-ray ranges. The Australian Beamline Steering Committee, which is comprised of representatives of the PF and the ASRP, has undertaken to encourage use of the PF by these groups and as a result it is expected that the number of Australians wandering around the PF experimental hall will continue to rise.
Thanks to the hard work of the ANBF staff members and the support of the research, administrative and, not least, the technical staff of the PF and KEK, the project has proved to be a great success and stands proud as a model for fruitful and mutually beneficial international scientific collaborations. The ANBF maintains its own office at the PF and can be contacted anytime by the following media. Tel : +81 298 64 7959 Fax : +81 298 64 7967 email : foran@anbf2.kek.jp (Garry Foran) jrh@anbf2.kek.jp (James Hester) The ASRP Administration Office address is: ANSTO Building 16 Private Mail Bag 1 Menai, NSW, 2234 (02) 9717 9012 or visit the website.

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