Chitradurga's synchrotron plan
This district of dry boulders will be home to a Rs 2,000 crore gigantic circular magnetic facility with electrons travelling at the speed of light. Fundamental science was never synonymous with parched Chitradurga but this is the new truth. The circular facility known as the synchrotron will witness fundamental experiments that would ultimately prove useful in developing better medical imaging equipment, aid drug discovery and research, develop therapies to treat cancer, help understand the reaction of our living cells to drugs etc. The synchrotron being planned by IISc will cover approximately an area of 100 acres and have a circular tunnel. “It will be a very huge facility and will have electrons go round and round close to the speed of light emitting Xray radiation. This radiation or X-rays can then take the form of beam lines or be channelled into equipment which will ultimately have uses in biological and structural analysis and in materials science as well,” M Vijayan of IISc explained. The facility can be deep within the ground or above. Synchrotron facilities in Paris and UK are above the ground, while a circular tunnel that also has protons and electrons clashing at speeds of light lies deep beneath the ground in Geneva covering an area of 27 km. “The facility at Chitradurga will have some similarities with the CERN facility in Geneva. The CERN facility deals with high-energy physics while the Chitradurga synchrotron will look at materials science, biology and the like. It will be in the range of 2.5-6 Giga electron volts,” said Vijayan. China’s Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, for instance, is 3.5 GeV. “The absence of a next-generation synchrotron is acutely felt and the country needs to have its own facility reducing our dependence abroad,” Vijayan said. The institute has received an in-principle approval to prepare a detailed project proposal for the synchrotron, which will be operated through, and funded by, the Union department of science and technology.