Located on the outskirts of Paris, the SOLEIL synchrotron is a unique facility in which electrons are accelerated close to the speed of light. While moving in the 354 metre circumference ring, these electrons lose energy and produce light in different wavelengths.
According to John Bozek, who is a researcher at SOLEIL, when the electrons change direction while moving in the ring, they emit electromagnetic radiation.
This radiation, which can range from infrared rays to hard x-rays, is directed to the experiment using beamlines which run tangential to the electron accelerator.
Speaking about his experiment, Bozek said he uses the synchrotron radiation to study the electronic properties of matter. "This could be atoms, molecules, nanoparticles and in some cases, liquid jets in vacuum."
He said the synchrotron radiation is used for studying various things including batteries, ancient materials and the structure of proteins for developing new pharmacology materials.
"There are 28 experiments going on at a given time at this facility, ranging from studying a simple atom to studying a battery," he said.
He said that all the experiments take place in vacuum inside steel containers.