ph. Foto Rolli
Two new experimental stations, beamlines, were inaugurated today at the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste research center. They will be used in a wide range of fields from the development of new materials to pharmacology and biotechnology, and will consolidate scientific cooperation between India and Italy.
The event follows the meeting of the Indo-Italian Joint Committeehosted yesterday in Rome at Farnesina. The Committee approved several initiatives to immediately relaunch cooperation in the sectors of science, technology and innovation.Xpress and XRD2, these are the names of the two new Elettra’s beamlines, have been co-funded by the Indian government through the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) in New Delhi. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Collaboration (MAECI) and India’s DST have jointly financed Indian researchers conducting studies at Elettra as part of the Italy-India Executive Programme for Major Projects, along with the International Center for Theoretical Physics of UNESCO.
A delegation of the Department of Science and Technology, led by the Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, and a MAECI delegation, led by the Plenipotentiary Minister Fabrizio Nicoletti, Head of the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Unit, attended the official ceremony.
At Elettra, Alfonso Franciosi, President and CEO of the research center, delivered the opening speech at the inauguration ceremony. He was followed by the Mayor of Trieste, Roberto Di Piazza, and the University and Research Councillor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Loredana Panariti. D.D. Sarma, professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, spoke in his capacity as coordinator of the Indian team that participated in the construction of the two beamlines. Ashutosh Sharma and Fabrizio Nicoletti both stressed their great satisfaction with the success of the collaboration.
The Xpress beamline has been built to study the structure of materials under extremely high pressure. It uses X-ray diffraction technology on specimens on which diamond presses exert pressures of over 500,000 atmospheres. The main fields of research and application include the synthesis of new compounds, such as ceramics or alloys, mineralogy, geophysics and the study of the properties of materials.
The XRD2 beamline has been designed to determine the 3D structure of proteins and biological macromolecules and its applications span the fields of biology, medicine, pharmacology and biotechnology.
As in the case of other Elettra beamlines, built and managed in collaboration with international agencies (including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Graz University of Technology and the Czech Academy of Sciences), the two new beamlines will be available to the Indian, Italian and international researchers, according to the scientific quality of the research projects and their impact, assessed by a peer-review system.
The Xpress and XRD2 beamlines are part of the long-standing collaboration between Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and Indian research teams started in 1998. Since then, cooperation has continued to grow, experiencing a major boost with the 2010 decision of the Indian government to be a partner in the construction of the two beamlines with a funding, allocated by the Department of Science and Technology through the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, under the responsibility of Prof. DD. Sarma. Elettra Sincrotrone contributed with an equal amount of funding and made available a cutting-edge superconducting synchrotron X-ray source and other state-of-the-art equipment.