Diamond Synchrotron

The Diamond Synchrotron in Oxfordshire opens for business. Diamond is a synchrotron built solely to produce synchrotron radiation. These hard X-rays can be used to probe matter.

The Rutherford Appleton Labs are a research institution which uses cutting edge physics to do biology, chemistry, materials science work (and occasionally a little physics). The most important pre-existing facility at RAL was, perhaps, ISIS. ISIS is a pulsed neutron source. A particle accelerator brings protons to high speed an impacts them into a target. Neutrons are knocked off (a process called spallation). These neutrons are mostly blocked by concrete, but some are allowed through holes to produce a neutron beam.

Experimenters hire beam time in order to do their science. ISIS allows biologists, for example, to watch biological process happen at the molecular level.

Currently a second target station is being built at ISIS, every fifth bunch of synchrotron protons will be diverted to the second target station.

Where ISIS is a neutron source, Diamond broadens the range of ways we have to probe matter, adding an intense, controllable, X-ray source to the mix. Details of the first users at Diamond are in their press release.