Beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron

The beamlines are the part of a synchrotron facility where experiments take place. Each beamline is designed for a particular technique, which may utilise the energy resolution and tuning, low divergence, polarisation, etc. of the synchrotron radiation. These factors determine how the optics components of the beamline are designed and built, as well as the energy range required. These parameters are given for each of the beamlines on the Australian Synchrotron website.


An initial suite of 13 beamlines is being built for the Australian Synchrotron. Many of these are still under construction.

Current status

Proposed initial suite of beamlines: techniques and capabilities


Beamline Name Techniques Capabilities
Crystallography and Diffraction
Beamline 1
High throughput protein crystallography
Medium energy, multi-wavelength anomalous XRD5 – 20 keV Dedicated facility for crystallography of large protein crystals, set up with robotic loading and centring, and for remote operation.
Beamline 2
Protein microcrystal and small molecule diffraction
Medium energy, multi-wavelength anomalous XRD5.5 – 25 keV Facility with tightly focused x-ray beam for determining the crystal structure and electron density maps of small, hard-to-crystallise proteins, nucleic acids, and small molecules.
Beamline 3
Powder diffraction
Medium to high energy powder XRD4 – 37 keV Versatile high resolution powder diffraction facility equipped with sample chambers for a wide range of in-situ experiments.
Beamline 4
Small- and wide-angle x-ray scattering
Medium energy SAXS/WAXS5.2-20 keV Measurement of long-range, large-scale order in complex molecules and materials.
Beamline 5
X-ray absorption spectroscopy
Medium and high energy XAS, XANES, EXAFS and XES4 – 45 keV Measurement of short- and medium-range order, bond lengths, co-ordination numbers and local co-ordination geometry, and the oxidation state of atoms from atomic number Z = 20 upwards.
Beamline 6
Soft x-ray spectroscopy
Low energy XAS, XES, XPS and AES100 – 2000 eV As above, for the light elements, Z < 20.
Also for the analysis of surfaces and thin films.
Beamline 7
VUV spectroscopy
ARUPS10 – 350 eV Determination of the electronic structure and surface characteristics of solid, soft matter and gas phase substances.
Beamline 8
Infrared spectroscopy
FTIR spectroscopy and IR microspectroscopy0.4 – 100 ┬Ám Analysis of bond structures in complex molecules, biological materials, minerals and band structures in certain semiconductors.
Beamline 9
X-ray fluorescence microscopy
XAS, XANES and XES at a sub-micron scale5 – 25 keV For producing high-resolution maps of elemental distribution in a sample. Also for determination of the oxidation state and co-ordination geometry of atoms in particles down to sub-micron size.
Beamline 10
Imaging and medical therapy
Phase constrast enhanced high energy x-ray imaging20 – 40 keV (to be extended to 120 keV) Very flexible beamline for research into high contrast imaging of objects from small animals through to engineering components.
For research into the physics and biophysics of cancer therapy techniques.
Beamline 11
Microdiffraction and fluorescence probe
Simultaneous medium energy micro-XRD and fluorescence4 – 37 keV Fast mapping of micro-XRD and fluorescence information. Especially intended for the minerals industry, environmental sciences, and manufacturing investigations.
Beamline 12
Circular dichroism
VUV CD2 – 10 eV (125-620 nm) Determination of the ‘secondary’ structure of biological molecules, e.g. protein folding.
Beamline 13
LIGA2 – 8 keV, 5 – 40 keV Production of micro-components with very high depth to width ratio and excellent surface finish.

Additional information on the beamlines can be found on the Australian Synchrotron website.

Selection of Proposed Initial Beamlines

The process for selection of the initial suite has been guided by both national and international scientific advisory committees, and has involved extensive information sessions, consultation and workshops with experienced and potential synchrotron users in Australia and New Zealand over the past two years.

Guiding principles for the beamline selection process have been:

  • The initial suite of beamlines should cover 95% of the techniques that it is anticipated the Australian and New Zealand scientific community will require.
  • All beamlines should be of world class standard, and where possible incorporate unique features that will attract a sizeable international group of users.
  • The beamlines should be user-friendly, and accessible to scientists who may not be skilled synchrotron experimentalists.
  • A number of the beamlines should be designed for flexibility and easy setting up of new instruments (e.g. the Infrared Spectroscopy and the Imaging and Medical Therapy beamlines), provided this does not compromise the overall performance and operational cost of the beamline.

The Australian and New Zealand research communities are geographically broadly spread. Special emphasis will be given to enable remote access to, and operation of, key beamlines. This feature is now possible because of developments in broadband communications, rapid data-processing and specialised robotics.