Solving the societal challenges multidisciplinarily

Photon science enables us to tackle many current societal challenges – be it health and wellbeing, new paths for secure, clean and efficient energy, environmental issues, resource efficiency, and raw materials.

From the beginning, X-rays were used for medical science and as a common diagnostic technique. Photon science has made accessible the structure of simple and complex crystals, which has laid the foundation for many technical, medical and pharmaceutical applications. Photon science also helped us study catalytic processes, understand the mechanism of energy transfer in solar cells, unravel the structure of superconductors, and detect trace elements.

Without photon science, we would still theorize about the workings of genetics, but since the days of James Watson and Francis Crick we have known the exact shape of the molecules containing our genetic code. In recent decades, photon science helped us to decipher the structure of more and more molecules.

Ever better light sources allow ever higher temporal and spatial resolution. The scientists’ dream of molecular movies is in reach.

Photon science sheds light on the small pieces of bigger and more complex systems.

You don’t use synchrotron light to directly study a whole brain, a photovoltaic cell, or an airplane engine. However, to gain control over the clockwork, you need to better understand the workings of the gear wheels.

Source: European Synchrotron Radiation User Organisation manifesto