The Australian Synchrotron APIs: Helping Scientists See the Light

Greg Bates, December 5th, 2012

Australian SynchrotronDeveloped in partnership with the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) project, the SOAP-based Australian Synchrotron APIs are geared to let scientists access data on their experiments from Australia’s Synchrotron, the nation’s largest research facility, in a secure manner. This also permits data analysis through remote access.

By accelerating electrons to near the speed of light, a synchrotron can channel the resulting light, from bright x-rays to infra red into workstations for analysis.

Given the broad implications and uses of synchrotron research for a variety of fields, the APIs could help further open the doors to ground breaking research in many disciplines. Since opening in 2007, according to the Australian Synchrotron API webpage there are now more than 3,000 users spanning the biological and physical sciences as well as industry and technology.

A Wikipedia article on Synchrotrons backs up this view of far reaching implications, noting that among the list of applications are protein an large molecule crystallography in the life sciences field, drug discovery, research on computer chip manufacturing, medical imaging, geological studies, and proton therapy for certain types of cancer.

As the director of the Australian Synchrotron, Professor Keith Nugent explained in his welcoming letter, confidential access for commercial projects where secrecy is important is also available,

“Any researcher can apply to use our state-of-the-art equipment, with all applications judged on scientific merit by experts from appropriate areas. Synchrotron users who publish their results in scientific journals for the benefit of other researchers can use the synchrotron free of charge. Alternatively, researchers who prefer to keep their synchrotron findings private, such as commercial businesses, can pay a fee to use our equipment and services on a confidential basis.”

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