The next Inside Diamond open day will feature stalls and activities, a short introduction to Diamond and a tour of the machine. We expect the visit will last around two and a half hours. Booking for open days opens 6-8 weeks in advance of the event. Click here for more details.
What’s your professional background and how did you come to work at Diamond?
I’ve studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. After completing my diploma, I signed up as a research assistant at the same university working in the microwave and radiofrequency field. In parallel to tutoring and supervising students, I worked on my PhD topic of ‘Imaging Radiometry at 600GHz’ which I completed in 2002. I started working at Diamond in the Beam Diagnostics Group soon after, and have moved on to leading this group since 2005.
What do you do here and how does your experience help?
Often I call beam diagnostics the ‘eyes and ears’ onto the electron beam. Diagnostics in the medical sense measure quantities of the human body (like blood pressure or body temperature) which are otherwise inaccessible, but tell you a lot about the health of the patient. Similarly, beam diagnostics tell us about how many stored electrons there are in the ring, what position their orbit is, what shape the beam has, how long the bunches of electrons are, where we are losing them etc. A large part of the diagnostics systems uses radiofrequency principles, so my professional background has helped me to understand these and see what is important for these systems to work at their best.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Diamond?
There is always something new to be learned. After the commissioning of the storage ring was complete and routine operation began in 2007, I was a bit worried it would be only business as usual from now on. But then the Beam Diagnostics Group started to get involved with photon beam diagnostics (as used on the beamlines) as well, and that not only provides a constant occupation, but also provides us with contact to all these interesting science fields that use Diamond. And on the other side, refinement of the operation to achieve ever higher reliability, control ever smaller beams, realise stabilisation of ever more beam parameters by using feedback loops, has proved just as challenging and stimulating.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get involved in your field?
Beam diagnostics is quite a specific field of physics and engineering. As with many fields in science, a fair amount of natural curiosity is often the starting point. This, combined with a good understanding of general physics, measurement technology and analysis, is the most generic requirement for a good start in diagnostics. If you want to know if this is the right area for you to work in, trying it out as a summer student is the ideal opportunity.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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