As the electrons travel in their circular orbit in the storage ring, they emit synchrotron light in the ultraviolet and x-ray range of the spectrum (see Electromagnetic Spectrum). The beamlines deliver the light down an optical obstacle course from the storage ring to the experiment stations.

Beamline mirrors steer and focus a thin beam of light (photons) down meters of vacuum pipe to the target, a sample of interest inside an experiment chamber. Some experiments use all the available photons, but the storage ring produces so many photons that scientists can afford to be choosy about which ones they use. Scientists who want to select only photons with certain wavelengths use beamlines with monochromators ("one-color-ers") which act like prisms, spreading the thin photon beam into a spectrum of different wavelengths so that only the desired ones can be selected. The beamline transfers the photons from the storage ring (upper right corner of the photograph) to the experiment chamber (lower left). The beamline's monochromator is the large chamber near the storage ring that looks a little like a pressure cooker.

  ALS Components
  The Advanced Light Source--A Tool for Solving the Mysteries of Materials

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