ALBA (synchrotron)

ALBA (meaning "Sunrise" in Catalan and in Spanish) is a 3rd generation synchrotron radiation facility located in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park in Cerdanyola del Vallès near Barcelona, in Catalonia (Spain). It is constructed and operated by the CELLS (sp: Consorcio para la Construcción, Equipamiento y Explotación del Laboratorio de Luz de Sincrotrón, or Consortium for the Exploitation of the Synchrotron Light Laboratory) consortium, and co-financed by the Spanish central administration and regional Catalan Government[1][2]

ALBA synchrotron

After nearly ten years of planning and design work by the Spanish scientific community, the project was approved in 2002 by the Spanish and the regional Catalan governments. After scientific workshops and meetings with prospective users, the facility was redesigned in 2004, and in 2006 construction started. The laboratory was officially opened for experiments on 7 beamlines in March 2010.


The project was launched in 1994, the construction began in 2003, and the official inauguration took place in March 2010. The total cost of the construction and equipment of the laboratory is estimated at 201.4 million euros. The cost of operating expenses is estimated at 15.5 million euros per year, so according to Joan Bordas, former director of the ALBA, must use about 5,000 of the 8,000 hours that the year has, as the cost of keep it on is the same with nine lines that with 30.

The building that houses the project was completed at the end of 2009 and the complete operation of the facility will advance in successive phases, culminating in 2011. The official inauguration was carried out by the President of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the President of the Government of Catalonia Jose Montilla, together with scientists such as Ramón Pascual, promoter of the project, on the 23rd of March 2010. It is a construction of great technical complexity due to the demands of the installation, which requires mechanical stability, temperature control and quality of the electrical supply. In July 2012, the first analysis experiments began. In its implementation, the ALBA synchrotron has had a demand four times greater than its current capacity (of 8 light lines), mostly by Spanish scientists.


1990: First attempt to obtain funding for a synchrotron light source in Spain.

2003: The ALBA Synchrotron project was approved and funded in equal parts by the Spanish and the Catalonian Administration. For that purpose, the Consortium for the Construction, Equipping and Exploitation of the Synchrotron Light Source (CELLS) is created to manage the ALBA Synchrotron. Joan Bordas is appointed as General Director of ALBA.

2006: Construction begins, after a few years dedicated to the design and the training of a new team of experts coming from Spain and abroad.

2007: First electrons out of the ALBA LINAC electron gun are seen.

2008: The linear accelerator (LINAC) is installed.

2009: Installation of the Booster and Storage ring.

2010: First operational test of the Booster is performed. Results show that all the components, subsystems and equipment perform in accordance with the specifications. ALBA Synchrotron is inaugurated by the President of the Spanish Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, José Montilla.

2011: Electron bem in the Storage ring of ALBA. First friendly user at the BOREAS beamline (an external researcher helping with the commissioning of the facility).

2012: BOREAS, MSPD, XALOC, NCD and CIRCE beamlines receive their first official users. At the end of 2012, appears the first ALBA publication, a report containing data collected from the MSPD beamline. In July, Caterina Biscari is appointed as the new director of the ALBA Synchrotron.

2013: By the beginning of 2013, the seven beamlines have already received official users.



MIRAS is for Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and microscopy. FTIR is an potential instrument to recognize the vibrational signatures and in this manner the compound arrangement of materials.

The beamline gives ALBA users a modern synchrotron-based infrared spectrometer and microscope capacity covering a wavelength range from around 1 µm to ∼100 µm with an spectral region designed at first for investigation between 2.5-14 µm.

Transmission, Reflection, Attenuated total reflection (ATR) and Grazing incidence are the most important geometries for sample analysis, and are all available at this beamline.



The Materials Science and Powder Diffraction Beamline is for high-resolution powder diffraction and high pressure powder diffraction using diamond anvil cells.

The beamline works between 8 and 50 keV. This energy range adequately covers the desirable range for almost any powder diffraction experiment, and at the same time it is possible to perform both total scattering experiments, and high pressure diffraction, for which it is not only desirable but sometimes necessary to have high-energy sources (E>30 KeV).

There are two experimental end stations to accommodate the different experimental techniques, one devoted to high resolution powder diffraction and the second one is dedicated to high pressure experiments.


BL09 - MISTRAL: SOFT X-ray microscopyEdit

"The full-field Transmission X-ray Microscopy beamline MISTRAL is devoted to cryo nano-tomography in the water window and multi-keV spectral regions (E = 270eV – 2600eV) for biological applications. In addition, spectroscopic imaging (a series of 2D images over a range of X-ray wavelengths) at several interesting X-ray absorption edges can be performed.

The Transmission X-ray Microscope (TXM) works from 270 eV to 1200 eV. A single-reflection elliptical glass capillary condenser focuses monochromatic light on to the sample, which is at cryo-temperature. The transmitted signal is collected by an objective Fresnel Zone plate (of 25 or 40 nm outermost zone widths) and a magnified image is delivered to a direct illumination CCD camera. The routinely expected spatial resolution in 2D is 30 nm and ≈50 nm for tomographies. An upgrade of the microscope to higher energies (i.e. Zernike phase contrast at 2600 eV) is planned, as well as the development of correlated fluorescence visible light microscopy.

Facilities for sample cryo-preparation as well as software reconstruction and analysis are available for the users."[5]


Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) experiments provide structural and dynamic information of large molecular assemblies like polymers, colloids, proteins and fibres. A wide range of fields (medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, archaeological, environmental and conservation sciences and materials) can be covered by this technique. SAXS is a very powerful technique that is used to study the supramolecular organization in biological systems, the structure and function of muscle filaments, corneal transparency, biological membranes, polymer processing, self assembly of mesoscopic metal particles, colloids, inorganic aggregates, liquid crystals and devices.

Recording simultaneously SAXS and WAXS (Wide Angle X-ray Scattering) results in a length scale which ranges from a few microns to a few angstroms.


XALOC aims to provide the present and future Structural Biology groups with a flexible and reliable tool to help in finding solutions for structures of macromolecules and complexes. The beamline copes with a broad variety of crystal sizes and unit cell parameters, and allows both wavelength dependent and independent experiments.


The CLAESS beamlne is providing a simultaneous and unified access to two complementary techniques: X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopes. The incoming energy range is 2.4 - 63.2 keV. The outcoming energy range selectable by CLEAR spectrometer is 6.4 - 12.5 keV.

The sample set-ups give access to low/high-temperature (10-320 K, 80-1000 K), low/high-energy measurements (in transmission and fluorescence mode), "in situ" solid-gas reactors.

A chemical laboratory in close proximity to the beamline (glove box, pellet press, fume cupboards, analytical balance etc.) is also available.


BL24 - CIRCE is a variable polarization soft X-ray beamline dedicated to advanced photoemission experiments.


The variable polarization soft X-ray beamline is dedicated to fundamental, as well as applied, polarization-dependent spectroscopic investigation of advanced materials.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sincrotrón ALBA. La importancia de la luz.
  2. ^ "ALBA | Lightsources". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  3. ^ "BEAMLINE INFORMATION — en". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  4. ^ "BEAMLINE INFORMATION — en". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  5. ^ "BEAMLINE INFORMATION — en". Retrieved 2016-08-26.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 41°29′12″N 2°06′35″E / 41.48667°N 2.10972°E / 41.48667; 2.10972