Synchrotron light is electromagnetic radiation emitted from charged particles moving at nearly the speed of light. It is characterized by high brightness and a wide frequency range, which has become an important tool used in diverse research fields such as physics, chemistry, life science, materials science, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, energy resources, mechanical engineering, and electronics. There are over 70 synchrotron radiation facilities across the world in various stages of development and with different capabilities to support fundamental research and industrial R&D.
Located in Hsinchu Science Park, the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) is a non-profit research organization, funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan, with the mission to operate a cutting-edge synchrotron radiation facility for pioneering scientific research. NSRRC currently operates two synchrotron light sources, named Taiwan Light Source (TLS) and Taiwan Photon Source (TPS), and provides users worldwide with 30 beamlines including 2 Taiwanese contract beamlines at SPring-8, Japan.
The construction of TLS, with electron beam energy 1.5 GeV and circumference 120 m, began in 1986. Completely designed and built by the local scientists and engineers, TLS is the first third-generation synchrotron light source facility built in Asia and the third globally. Since it opened to users in 1994, advances in accelerator technologies, beamline instrumentation and experimental techniques have been employed over the past decades, turning the center into a world-class facility in the vacuum-ultraviolet and soft X-ray energy regions. In 1998, two beamlines were constructed at SPring-8 through international collaboration to provide researchers from Taiwan with access to hard X-rays before TLS utilized superconducting insertion devices to generate a hard X-ray source in 2005.
In order to meet the increasing demands of our users for higher-brightness X-rays to facilitate their advanced scientific research, the idea of building another synchrotron light source with higher electron energy was discussed in the community. In July 2004, the NSRRC Board of Trustees decided to propose “Taiwan Photon Source – a Cutting-edge Experimental Facility Construction Plan” to the government, and it was officially approved in 2007. The TPS civil construction began in February 2010, and completed in 2014. The first synchrotron light in TPS that achieved the design value of 3-GeV beam energy and exceeded 1-mA stored beam current was delivered on the last day of 2014, followed by the “TPS Inauguration Ceremony” in January 2015.
TPS, of circumference 518.4 m, is equipped with a low-emittance synchrotron storage ring and booster energy 3 GeV. It has a capacity to host about 40 beamlines. Four of seven phase-I beamlines opened to users in September 2016, and nine phase-II beamlines are in planning or under construction. As one of the brightest synchrotron light sources in the world, TPS has filled the energy gap for future x-ray sciences, and will accelerate scientific progress and open more research opportunities, especially in biomedicine and nanoscience technologies.