Diamond in Detail

  • How does Diamond benefit the scientific community?

    Diamond offers scientists access to facilities and expertise that enable them to carry out experiments which would be impossible in a normal lab, and the synchrotron provides technology which is highly specialised. Access to Diamond is free at the point of access for scientists funded by the UK Research Councils or the Wellcome Trust, providing results are published and freely accessible by the academic community, and beamtime is controlled by a peer review panel and allocated on scientific merit. Over the last 3 years we have had an average of approximately 500 peer reviewed papers each year.

  • For how long is the synchrotron operational during a year?

    The number of hours of beamtime available will steadily increase until Diamond is offering 5,000 hours per year. Since Diamond is still in its early stages, the synchrotron is in shutdown approximately 140 days of the year to do essential machine works and to allow for the installation of new beamlines. The rest of the time, it is running 24 hours a day, six days a week.

  • How is the facility maintained, and how many people are involved in this maintenance?

    Diamond has a large team of experts including scientists, engineers and technicians who all help to maintain the facility. The Technical Division’s main responsibility is to maintain the facility and it currently consists of 165 members of staff.

  • How much does it cost to use Diamond?

    For academic researchers funded by the UK research councils or charitable organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, there is no cost to use Diamond, provided their results will be made public. Academic research proposals are reviewed by an external body of scientific advisors. The applications that represent the best science are then passed on to Diamond for further review on the grounds of technical feasibility and Health & Safety. Once proposals have been accepted, the users are allocated beamtime, for which there is no charge.

    A small percentage (10%) of Diamond’s beamtime is available for industry to make use of, and industrial users publishing in the private domain pay a fee for using the facility. The amount that industry users pay depends on the amount of set up and experimental time they need, and the amount of technical support required from the scientists at Diamond. For more information on industrial access, please see our Industry pages.

  • How do you apply to use a beamline? Who decides who can use the beamlines? What are the criteria?

    Academics can submit their beamtime application online using the Diamond website. Diamond aims to facilitate the best science possible within the boundaries of technical feasibility and Health & Safety considerations. All applications are submitted to the external peer review panel for decision based on scientific merit; applications are then reviewed by the safety and technical panel. Review panel decisions are passed to the Diamond management team for final approval. Successful applicants are then allocated beamtime.

    In addition, proposals from industry for beamtime, where the results will be published in the public domain, will be accepted for consideration by the standard peer review process that is in place for academics.

    Companies wishing to apply for proprietary access (where projects and results are confidential and available only to the customer) will be charged a fee for beamtime used and services provided. More information is available on the Industry pages. All applications of interest should be directed to Elizabeth Shotton, Industrial Liaison Manager, industry@diamond.ac.uk.

  • Who owns the intellectual property on discoveries made at Diamond?

    The intellectual property is typically retained by the institution or institutions that fund the researchers. Academic researchers who use Diamond must publish their research in the public domain. The IP on discoveries made by employees of Diamond Light Source is owned by Diamond. Industrial researchers may opt not to publicly release their results, but these researchers must pay to use Diamond.

  • Where do users prepare for experiments?

    The users prepare for their experiments either at their own institutions and/or in the dedicated laboratories that have been constructed around the synchrotron building. These are helpfully located close to the relevant beamlines to aid speed and accuracy for experiments.

  • Where do users stay when they are visiting?

    Diamond has onsite accommodation for users, providing a place to rest for those working overnight or for longer periods. Ridgeway House offers 180 comfortable rooms, within easy walking distance of the synchrotron building.

  • Is Diamond available to foreign researchers?

    Yes. Diamond supports the best science regardless of where it’s from and we accept research proposals from both UK and foreign researchers. All proposals are judged by an external scientific advisory panel on their scientific merit so that Diamond can facilitate the best science possible. Diamond is part of the I3 trans-national access programme which allows EU scientists to be fully supported when they are allocated time at Diamond. Please contact the User Office for more details.