Faculty awarded multi-access to synchrotron facilities in the United States and Europe

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact:

CMU Earth and Atmospheric Sciences faculty member and Director of the STARLAB Anthony Chappaz, was recently awarded multi-access to some of the best analytical facilities in the world to investigate the molecular properties of critical elements in Earth’s materials: Synchrotrons.

A synchrotron machine is an extremely powerful source of X-rays and exists to accelerate electrons to extremely high energy. The resulting X-rays emitted are then directed toward beamlines that are adjacent to the accelerator.

The process of securing beamtime at synchrotron facilities is highly competitive, with only a limited number of spots available. The cost for 24 hours of beamtime can be as high as $40,000. Dr. Chappaz secured access to unique beamlines (i.e., beamtime) via six successful proposals submitted at four synchrotron facilities in the United States and Europe. The projects involve the participation of five PhD students from five different institutions and five different countries, including the United States, Canada, England, Brazil, and Estonia, who are all officially co-supervised by Dr. Chappaz.

Through these successful proposals, Dr. Chappaz and his vast international team have been awarded a total of 25 days of beamtime within the next 6 months, representing an in-kind contribution of approximately $1 million. In addition to the overall success of the proposals, one project led by a PhD student visiting the STARLAB (Marcelo Prianti) and co-supervised by Dr. Chappaz was ranked number one among 35 other submissions at the SOLEIL synchrotron in France.

Dr. Chappaz expects that the data collected during this beamtime will lead to the publication of 12-15 papers over the next two years, further solidifying the CMU’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences reputation as a leader in the field of investigating critical metals using molecular geochemistry approaches. 

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