Palo Alto-based Lyncean Technologies, Inc., today announced that it has received a $1.1M SBIR Fast-Track grant to further develop the performance of the Compact Light Source, a miniature synchrotron X-ray source employing state-of-the-art laser-beam and electron-beam technology.
The Lyncean "Compact Light Source" (CLS) has been developed to offer high-quality X ray beams, like those produced at synchrotrons, for applications that cover a broad range of X-ray science. Recently, Lyncean announced the first sale of a Compact Light Source to a biomedical imaging research center in Munich [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-12/lti-lti121312.php].
During the past 30 years, synchrotron light sources have become the X-ray probe of choice for material scientists, chemists, biologists and medical researchers. With their high-quality, intense X-ray beams, these world-wide but sparse synchrotron laboratories have revolutionized X-ray science and spawned a large number of new technologies, from electronic devices to pharmaceutical drugs.
Unlike the stadium-sized synchrotron radiation sources that require a highly technical support staff, the CLS fits in a typical laboratory space and is designed to be operated directly by academic or industrial end-users. By replacing the conventional "undulator" magnets found in the large synchrotrons by laser technology, the entire device scales down in size by a factor of 200. Just like a synchrotron, the CLS makes electrons rapidly undulate, or wiggle, causing them to emit a pencil beam of nearly monochromatic X-rays which are adjustable in energy.
The Lyncean CLS is based on licensed technology from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The commercial development was supported primarily by grants from the US National Institutes of Health, NIGMS and NCRR. Now that the initial commercial development is complete, the Department of Energy (DOE) through the Small Business Innovation Research Program is supporting further development of the CLS to enhance performance, and SLAC is participating as a collaborator on the grant.
Dr. Rod Loewen, Principle Investigator for the effort, explained the joint effort, "Lyncean is already at the forefront of compact light source development. By collaborating with SLAC's world-class experts in electron beam systems, we only strengthen our leadership in producing state-of-the-art X-ray sources."
"Commercialization is an important mission of DOE national labs and since the technology was a SLAC spin-off, it is natural to continue to support improvements", said Prof. Norbert Holtkamp, Associate Laboratory Director for the Accelerator Directorate at SLAC. "We want to bring SLAC's expertise to the table to build the best possible compact light source, and we are interested in the technology ourselves to be used at SLAC in the future. This is a perfect match and a tremendous opportunity."
The US National Institutes of Health provided early funding for CLS development in order to help address the growing demand of life-science users who rely on synchrotrons for structural biology research. In addition to the CLS, Lyncean has also developed X ray applications such as protein crystallography using focused beams from special X-ray optics as well as Differential Phase Contrast Imaging using the natural CLS X-ray beam directly.
Researchers, though, use a wide variety of experimental techniques when applying synchrotron radiation to their own problems. The CLS, like a large synchrotron facility, is designed to perform a breadth of X-ray applications spanning fields from biology and chemistry to nanotechnology and materials science.
Lyncean Technologies, Inc. is located in Palo Alto, California and was founded in 2001 by Stanford Professor Ronald Ruth, Jeffrey Rifkin, M.A. and Rod Loewen, Ph.D. The Compact Light Source concept is based on research performed earlier by Prof. Ruth, Dr. Zhirong Huang and Dr. Rod Loewen at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University. For more information visit http://www.lynceantech.com.