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Novel Beamline Under Development

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MANCHESTER, England, Dec. 20, 2010 — The X-ray Imaging and Coherence beamline at Diamond, I13, which is due for completion in 2012, will allow researchers in a wide range of fields to create high-quality 3-D images of samples including engineering components, biomaterials, fossils, organic materials and energy devices such as fuel cells.

Aerial view of Diamond Light Source. I13 can be seen in the foreground, stretching away from the main synchrotron building.

The new beamline is designed for a broad range of scientific users from biomedicine, materials science, geophysics, astrophysics and archaeology. Its two branch lines – called the “maging” and “coherence” branches – will provide tools for nondestructive examination of internal features ranging from the micron to the nanometer scale.

Diamond has entered into a seven-year collaboration with the University of Manchester to develop the imaging branch line, working together to discover, explore and exploit new science using synchrotron light.

Prof. Phil Withers is leading the X-ray Imaging project at the university and is a longstanding synchrotron user. "The late Prof. Alan Gilbert [the inaugural President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester] visited Diamond and was struck by the world-class standard of the facility, and he was keen for Manchester to be directly involved,” Withers said.

Inside the X-ray Imaging and Coherence beamline. Left to right: Phil Withers and Colin Bailey from the University of Manchester and Gerd Materlik, Christoph Rau and Trevor Rayment from Diamond Light Source.

"With our own dedicated imaging suite at Manchester, the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility, which was officially opened in June last year, Manchester was looking to expand its imaging capabilities and the partnership with Diamond provided the perfect opportunity," he added.

The 3-D x-ray tomography that will be performed on I13 has many applications. It can be used to characterize the internal structure of porous materials such as trabecular bone or metal foams, or to determine the size and shape of cracks and other defects inside components such as aircraft parts, where unexpected failures could have catastrophic results.

The funding from Manchester includes capital, staff and operational costs towards the I13 imaging branch beamline in return for substantial dedicated access.

The staff financed through this collaboration will accelerate the completion of the I13 imaging branch and ensure its operation for the next seven years. The effort is further supported by a team from the university, situated on site to drive forward the research.

The experimental hutches for I13 are currently under construction but the optics hutches are already receiving x-rays from the synchrotron ready for testing. Following the inaugural board meeting, Colin Bailey, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the university, ran the first test sample on the beamline with great success.

"The partnership with Diamond will allow the leading academics at the University of Manchester to push the boundaries of science using synchrotron light,” Bailey said. "The facilities at Diamond complement our current imaging facilities at Manchester, including our new Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility. I look forward to the exciting, world-leading scientific discoveries that will result from this partnership with Diamond."

The chief executive of Diamond, Gerd Materlik, said, "This is great news for Diamond and the I13 beamline. In the current economic climate, creating a new model of interaction with one of our university partners, and financial support such as this, is extremely important in terms of fully exploiting our facilities.

I13 is part of the second phase of construction at Diamond, which is due to be complete in 2012. Funding for Phase III, the design and construction of a further ten beamlines, was announced by the government in October and will bring the total number of experimental stations to 32 when complete in 2017, enhancing the capabilities of the Diamond synchrotron science facility.

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Dec 2010
Alan GilbertarchaeologyastrophysicsbiomaterialsColin BaileyDiamond I13Europefossilsfuel cells biomedicinegeophysicsGerd MaterlikHenry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facilityimagingmaterials sciencePhil WithersResearch & TechnologyUniversity of ManchesterX-ray Imaging and Coherence beamlinex-ray tomography

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