February 10, 2020
With Solar Orbiter, SENER approaches a star
This morning, the European Space Agency (ESA) Solar Orbiter mission, in partnership with NASA, took off from Cap Canaveral (USA). The satellite is now travelling towards the sun in order to take pictures of its north and south poles for the first time.

In order to forecast solar wind bursts that sometimes violently collide the earth and can disrupt our communication systems (and even jeopardise the lives of astronauts), an accurate model of the local magnetic field of our star is required: the images of the poles taken by Solar Orbiter from its privileged location out of the ecliptic plane will improve the existing models.

But the design of such a satellite is challenging: for instance, working temperatures of the Solar Orbiter external equipment will reach 400ºC at the closest distance from the sun and -100ºC at the largest one…

SENER is involved in this scientific and technological adventure: the multinational engineering and technology group (2,300 people in 18 countries with Catalan headquarters set up in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park with a strong activity in the aerospace sector) designed different elements of the satellite. By the way, this mission is the largest space contract ever awarded to SENER, which worked in parallel on five different contracts, such as the antennae subsystem or a retractable boom carrying four of the ten instruments.

More information about the SENER’s contribution: here

January 27, 2020
Welcome, Natura Bissé!
Since last summer, part of the staff of Natura Bissé, the family business founded in 1979 by Barcelona businessman Ricardo Fisas, leader in innovation and development of high-end cosmetics, already occupies the new headquarters of the company built in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park. Very soon, with the start-up of the production plant, some 200 people will work there.

The building designed by TDB Architecture is a green construction energetically efficient with natural light on every floor including the basement. The 13,500 sqm headquarter hosts the research center, the business and logistics departments, the production plant and an area specially devoted to training and innovation. The corresponding investment is € 15 million.

Natura Bissé is largely present abroad with subsidiaries in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, and 2,000 points of sale in 35 countries. By the way, the firm closed 2018 with a € 70 million turnover, over three quarters of which (78%) were made abroad, especially in the United States (27%), Europe (22%), China (18%) and the important emerging markets of the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific area.

With a business based on the added value of R&D (7% of the 2016 turnover were invested in R&D), the arrival at Natura Bissé Park, 40 years after its birth, is great news for the Barcelona Synchrotron Park. Welcome!
January 14, 2020
The Alba Synchrotron has lots of tricks up its sleeve!
News released last month by the Alba Synchrotron inform us about some experiments carried out in fields as different as cultural heritage, energy or life sciences, using no less than 6 of the different beam lines available at Alba. Let’s take a look at this diversity of scientific researches and experimental approaches carried out at our synchrotron!

Historically, Aerinite is a blue pigment used in many Romanesque paintings of the Pyrenean zone between the XI-XIV centuries. Researchers from the ICMAB-CSIC and Alba have identified for the first time brown aerinite. The experiment was carried out at the MSPD beamline.

Other researchers from ICMAB-CSIC and Alba, jointly with the University of Bologna and the Helmholtz Institute Ulm used the CLAESS and MISTRAL beamlines to unveil the central role of manganese in the limited cycle-life of lithium-ion batteries.

For its part, a research group from the Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE) and the Department of Chemical Engineering — both from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya — is working on catalysts to get more effective hydrogen production reactions. Experiments carried out at the CIRCE beamline have allowed the researchers to determine the best support for the nanoparticles used in the process.

In another domain, the high division rate of bacteria is one of their best weapons against antibiotics. A team from the Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry (IQFR-CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, the University of Notre Dame in the United States and the National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, has revealed the structure of a key machinery in the process of bacterial division thanks to the X-ray crystallography technique of the XALOC beamline.

Last but not least, a large group of chemists, theoretical and experimental physicists from Germany, Russia, Spain and Azerbaijan has developed the first intrinsically magnetic topological material. This material is very promising for the development of antiferromagnetic spintronics, 2D magnetism and quantum transport without the need for strong external magnetic fields. Part of the experiments has been performed at the BOREAS beamline.

To read more about these experiments.
January 03, 2020
AllRead MLT, a success story originated from the PRUAB’s Ideas Generation Program
The AllRead MLT (AllRead Machine Learning Technologies) project started in 2016 from the Ideas Generation Program carried out by PRUAB, the UAB university research park, and sponsored by the Barcelona Synchrotron Park (BSP). This annual program is based on the collection of local companies’ technological challenges that are submitted to the UAB scientific community: every year, this program aims at offering companies the benefit of the UAB researchers’ wealth of creativity to get proposals for their innovation projects.
AllRead MLT is now a spin-off company from the Computer Vision Centre (CVC-UAB) located at the UAB university campus (CVC-UAB). This company is specialized in detecting text in images and digitizing them. Its objective is to bring to the market its own technology, based on deep learning, which speeds up, for example, the identification and monitoring of containers in ports and airports.
Jointly to Erudito, AllRead MLT was one of the two finalist start-up companies of the last Bbooster Week held in Valencia on December 2-4. During this investment event organized by Bbooster Ventures to select and invest in start-ups, a € 100,000 convertible loan was awarded to AllRead MLT.
The goal of the startup is to close new rounds of funding during 2020 and to go on developing its product already successfully tested during different pilot tests with the Port of Barcelona and other companies from different sectors, such as Suez, Comsa and International Airlines Group.
Good luck!
November 06, 2019
SENER, a top-class aerospace systems provider
SENER Aerospace, division of the multinational engineering and technology group SENER (2,300 people in 18 countries with Catalan headquarters set up in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park with a strong activity in the aerospace sector), experienced a rich October with several interesting news. Four of them are briefly explained below:
  • SENER Aerospace delivered the antenna feeds of all Galaxy-30 satellite reflectors, a commercial communication satellite from the Northrop Grumman Company.
  • SENER Aerospace and CATEC developed a 3D-printed metal antenna for the European Space Agency's PROBA-3 space mission, one of the first space antennas in the world developed using this 3D printing technology (SENER Aerospace is the main contractor for the PROBA-3 mission).
  • SENER Aerospace has successfully completed the delivery of the nominal version of the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) for the Euclid satellite, an ESA cosmology mission aimed at investigating the nature of dark matter and dark energy (Euclid includes a 1.2 m diameter telescope).
  • Finally, SENER Aerospace delivered the flight model of the Umbilical Release Mechanism for the Rosalind Franklin Rover of the ExoMars 2020 ESA mission that will start its journey to the red planet in next July.

Good take-offs!
October 29, 2019
The ICN2 research center is involved in the quantum revolution
We are living through a quantum revolution based on technologies that use the very little intuitive behavior of matter and light and its interactions at the scale of atoms and photons. Such a behavior is well described by quantum mechanics, a branch a physics born at the beginning of the 20th century.

Two fields are specially impacted by this revolution: communication and computation. Regarding the first one, quantum technology already allows fully secure communications. In computation, things are not so advanced but the uniqueness of the individual behaviors of atoms can allow new ways of computing and thus offer phenomenal powers of calculation, even impossible in a classical way.

In this context, the Catalan government agency for business competitiveness ACCIÓ recently issued a report jointly written with the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) on the potential of Catalonia in this sector. Among the 6 public research centers pointed out in this document, 3 are on the UAB campus, the key partner of the Barcelona Synchrotron Park: the National Center for Microelectronics (CNM), the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2).

Regarding ICN2, the research center recently announced that it has expanded its collaboration with the global network of Microsoft Quantum Labs in furtherance of the goal of developing a scalable quantum computer. The ICN2 laboratories will provide atomic-scale measurements, analysis, and modeling of new materials.

The ICN2 Advanced Electron Nanoscopy Group, led by ICREA Prof. Jordi Arbiol, will provide its expertise in electron microscopy and related spectroscopies to perform measurements and analysis of the complex structure and physical properties of a new kind of nanowires that could be used in quantum computers.
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