On Thursday 19th January 2017 our first year students visited Diamond Light Source. Diamond, in Didcot, Oxfordshire, is the UK’s national synchrotron facility. Since it was completed in 2007 the facility has contributed to over 5,000 scientific publications in fields ranging from physics to archaeology and biology. In recent years the facility has been extended in its capacity from 22 to 32 beamlines in an attempt to meet the rapidly increasing demand for high energy X-ray spectroscopy and microscopy techniques in academia and industry.
After being given a lecture by David Price about the history of the facility as well as its current operation and applications, our students were given a tour. This was a great chance to get an up-close look at the various stages of the synchrotron generation process: the storage ring, the magnets used to focus and steer the electron beam, and the ‘wigglers’ that cause the accelerating electrons to emit synchrotron radiation.
This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to visit a national facility and to learn about the huge range of applications that such techniques, originally developed for physics, now have throughout science and industry.