"SKIF" Project: Construction of Synchrotron Creates Opportunities for Novosibirsk State University Scientists

In February 2018, President Vladimir Putin supported the implementation of the SKIF Project in Novosibirsk. The modern center of scientific research using synchrotron radiation will address a global state objective, to keep Russia from becoming peripheral in the quest for scientific and technological advances and a human resources donor. Novosibirsk State University has a key role in the Project.

Elena Boldyreva, Head of Solid State Chemistry Section at the NSU Natural Sciences Department, talked about the Project,
The decision to build a synchrotron research center in Novosibirsk is important because it is the first time that the Institute of Nuclear Physics SB RAS will build first-class modern equipment that is for Novosibirsk, not foreign countries or Moscow. This provides great opportunities for the development of science, attracting top experts for high-tech industries, and research in our region. This process is already in full swing and NSU has been assigned one of the most important roles. The University will be training personnel to identify and solve problems that maximize the capabilities of the new center.

Beginning with the new academic year, NSU will start training specialists who will work on the cutting edge at the intersection of disciplines to study the structure and properties of promising new objects and take advantage of opportunities presented by modern megascience. A new interdisciplinary Master's Program "Methodological Support for Physico-chemical Studies of Condensed Phases" will be launched in September.

Novosibirsk State University scientists have generated significant research achievements with the help of synchrotron radiation but, until now, they have been working on foreign equipment. Scientists in the Solid State Chemistry Section at NSU’s Department of Natural Sciences, together with their American colleagues, are engaged in the development of modern ophthalmology equipment. Cryogenic Technology is used in preparing long acting injections for the eyes; however, the substance can be destroyed during freezing. To prevent this and identify optimal conditions, it is necessary to research freezing and subsequent vacuum drying processes in real time on synchrotron radiation equipment. The NSU Solid State Chemistry Section staff are conducting this research at the European Synchrotron Radiation Center.

NSU scientists are also conducting “dry technology” research in Europe. Modern technology demands the use of more environmentally friendly solutions, specifically the use of fewer solvents, including water. It is realistic to use mechanical actions to create reactions in dry mixtures of reagents. To optimize the parameters for this process, it is important to research the transformation directly in real time and this is possible with synchrotron radiation.

The use of synchrotron radiation also creates opportunities for geologists. Scientists at the NSU Geology and Geophysics Department are leaders in the fields of the composition and structure of geological samples, continental lake sediments, the behavior of mineral matter, and fluid-melt in the Earth's interior. Today, they conduct their research on laboratory equipment at the Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy SB RAS, at the NSU Solid State Chemistry Section, on a non-specialized synchrotron radiation source at the Institute of Nuclear Physics SB RAS, as well as in foreign institutions using synchrotron radiation.


Boldyreva continues, 

Equipment that uses synchrotron radiation sources has become an indispensable tool for scientific research in the modern world. All technologically advanced countries have this equipment. Synchrotron radiation has energy that corresponds to the most diverse parts of the spectrum. This makes it possible to use it for practically any research method of substances and materials. Most of this research currently has applications in biology, pharmacology and in materials science. Also of great importance is the use of synchrotron radiation in chemistry, physics, earth sciences, as well as in research aimed at protecting, preserving and restoring the environment.

Opportunities for Novosibirsk scientists, including those at Novosibirsk State University, will greatly increase with the SKIF commission. The construction of the 4th generation synchrotron will begin in 2019 and is expected to be completed in five years.