CDU joins national 'super-microscope' project 

Illustration of the Australian Synchrotron machine

Charles Darwin University (CDU) is a key player in a new national research initiative, the Australian Synchrotron partnership that will allow researchers and scientists access to world class facilities currently not available in Australia.

Synchrotrons have been described as supermicroscopes, revealing the inner structure of living things and inanimate samples in unprecedented detail.

CDU will join a consortium with the NSW Government and eight other leading universities around the country for the $206.3 million project.

Synchrotron light is a million times brighter than the sun and can be used by researchers to probe the atomic structure of materials, analyse the chemical composition, produce detailed images and create tiny three-dimensional structures out of silicon.

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett, said membership provides an opportunity to build a strong scientific 'base' for much of the applied work of researchers at CDU.

“CDU is demonstrating its commitment to science by helping to build a new platform for globally competitive research,” Professor Garnett said.

“Territory based scientists need access to the latest methods for frontline R&D right here in Australia. It will be fantastic to have such a powerful and versatile experimental tool much closer to home.

“Synchrotrons produce better experimental results faster. Australian researchers now have to travel overseas if they need to use a synchrotron.

“Discoveries made using the synchrotron will drive future business and job growth,” Professor Garnett said.

The Australian Synchrotron, being built in Melbourne, is Australia’s first ever national collaboration to build major science infrastructure serving research Australia-wide.

The Australian Synchrotron project, one of Australia’s biggest ever investments in R&D infrastructure, is running to plan—on time and on budget—and will start working for science and industry in 2007.