The first experimental station to use InfraRed light at the UK’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, has now started operation. With 14 out of the 16 operational beamlines at Diamond using intensely powerful X-rays to carry out experiments, the new InfraRed (IR) MicroSpectroscopy beamline (B22) is an exciting addition to the facility.
|Left to right: Pijanka Jacek, Keele University; Josep Sulé-Suso, University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Keele University; Jacob Filik, PDRA, Diamond; Gianfelice Cinque, Principal Beamline Scientist for B22; Katia Wehbe, Senior Support Scientist, Diamond and Mark Frogley, Senior Beamline Scientist, Diamond.|
The ultimate aim of this research is to find and set up a method that could be used in hospitals, which applies IR light to detect early signs of cancer as an aid to diagnosis. Being able to pick out cancer cells from healthy ones, before the cancer cells grow and form a tumour, would be a major breakthrough in future medical diagnosis.
Lead researcher on the project is lung cancer specialist, Dr Josep Sulé-Suso of Keele University’s Research Institute for Science and Technology.
“We’re very pleased to be able to use the UK facility Diamond to carry out this research. Previously we have used the French Synchrotron SOLEIL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble to carry out these studies but it is much more practical to use a source that is not too far away as it makes transporting our samples much easier. It is great to be the first group to use the new IR line at Diamond. It is important to identify the characteristics of a cancerous cell to the best possible resolution to ensure that the IR microscopy method we work with could be transferred on a smaller scale for the use in hospitals, and Diamond is helping us to do this. This area of research is relatively new but it has huge potential. I still see many patients we cannot cure and that drives the research. We have to do something about that.”
Dr Josep Sulé-Suso
Principal Beamline Scientist on B22, Dr Gianfelice Cinque, is delighted to have reached this milestone of welcoming the first user on his newly completed beamline, and delivering a successful experiment. He says, “I am very pleased that all the efforts spent so far have allowed such a great first achievement, and I want to thank my team and the people at Diamond who helped to construct the IR beamline. Now that we have B22 starting its operation, and showing its capabilities in such frontier medical application, we will spend the next months optimising the IR microscope to achieve full potential for IR imaging and spectroscopy at the micron scale (a micron is one thousandth of a millimetre). Once fully commissioned, scientists will be able to come to Diamond to use the versatile IR beamline to carry out research not only in medical and biological sciences but also in fields such as new/composite materials science, chemical-physics of surfaces, biomineralogy and high pressure studies, as well as archeology and heritage science. Finally, I also hope to extend the range of possible experiments to the interesting field of far-IR and terahertz (THz) radiation applications.”
B22 is part of the second phase of construction at Diamond which is due to be complete in 2012. The further six Phase II beamlines that are scheduled to be added over the next two years will bring the total of operational beamlines at Diamond to 22, covering a wide range of science; from biology and medicine, to the physical and chemical sciences, through to the environmental and engineering.
For more information on Diamond’s Infrared Microscopy beamline, you can visit www.diamond.ac.uk/B22
For more information or high-res images:
Contact: Sarah Bucknall at Diamond: 0044 (0) 1235 778639 / 07920 296957 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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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