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  • Students Performing Experiments Collaboratively Through Remote Access (SPECTRA)

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    The SPECTRA (Students Performing Experiments Collaboratively Through Remote Access) program is managed by the Education and Outreach group of the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC). SRC is funded by the National Science Foundation and the UW-Madison to provide scientists with an intense source of light and the support needed to conduct scientific research. SPECTRA is designed to provide high school and college science students the opportunity to learn how light is used as a research tool and to conduct real scientific measurements using a synchrotron light source. This allows the students to virtually go beyond the classroom walls and also provides science teachers valuable enrichment.

    The SPECTRA facility is composed of 3 coordinated components: a Grasshopper high resolution Monochromator beamline that provides monochromatic light between 40 and 600 eV, an ultrahigh vacuum experimental chamber that can be manipulated remotely containing 2 types of samples, and an internet website that allows control of remote measurements.

    Experimental Details:

    Using the SPECTRA experimental station
    An ideal pedagogical sequence would be:

    1. Students learn the background physics and/or chemistry concepts that apply to their project.
    2. Students visit the SRC to participate in an introductory presentation and a tour of the synchrotron lightsource.
    3. If a visit is not possible, a web-based virtual tour is available.
    4. Students plan their experiments and take data remotely over the web.
    5. Students analyze their data and discuss issues with their research team and/or teacher.
    6. A poster session is organized at the school or at the laboratory for students to share observations and ideas in a format similar to research conferences.

    For more information about this teaching tool or to reserve SPECTRA beam time, please contact Chris Moore at or (608) 877-2137.