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China’s High Energy Photon Source (HEPS)

  • Context (TOI): China is poised to unveil its cutting-edge High Energy Photon Source (HEPS) by year end.
  • It will be the first fourth-generation synchrotron light source in Asia.
  • HEPS is part of an elite group of fourth-generation synchrotrons, including Sweden’s MAX IV Laboratory, Sirius in Brazil, the Extremely Brilliant Source in France, and the Advanced Photon Source in Illinois, USA.
  • The HEPS, after completion, will stand as one of the brightest synchrotron radiation (SR) sources in the world and the first high-energy synchrotron radiation facility in China.
  • The HEPS is designed with the capacity to emit X-rays beams that are a trillion times brighter than those of the Sun.
  • HEPS will accelerate electrons up to energies of 6 gigaelectron volts.
  • HEPS will revolutionise scientific research with its production of high-energy X-rays, facilitating the precise probing of samples at the nanoscale level.
  • Compared to third-generation synchrotrons, it will offer a time resolution that is 10,000 times superior.

Synchrotron Light Source

  • Synchrotron light is an electromagnetic wave similar to sunlight. However, it is the electromagnetic wave radiated from a charged particle such as electrons moving at velocities near the speed of light.
  • Synchrotron light is unique in its intensity and brilliance, and it can be generated across the range of the electromagnetic spectrum: from infrared to visible light to x-rays.

How is synchrotron light created?

  • Synchrotrons use electricity to produce intense beams of light more than a million times brighter than the sun.
  • The light is produced when high-energy electrons are forced to travel in a circular orbit inside the synchrotron tunnels by the ‘synchronised’ application of strong magnetic fields.


  • Fundamental science: In discovering atomic and molecular properties, study of property changes of materials under high pressure and temperature, study of arrangement of atoms on the surface, etc.
  • Research in medical science: Study of bio-molecular matters with small and complex structures commonly found in living beings such as proteins, nucleic acid, etc.
  • Industrial research: Developing new products or improving existing products requires in-depth studies by applying new knowledge to add industrial value.

Synchrotron Facility in India

  • India has two synchrotron radiation sources, INDUS-1 and INDUS-2, located at the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT) in Indore.
    1. INDUS-1: India’s first synchrotron generator, with a 450 MeV storage ring
    2. INDUS-2: A 2.5 GeV synchrotron radiation source, with a critical wavelength of about 1.98 angstroms.
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