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What’s your professional background and how did you come to work at Diamond?
I studied Chemistry at the University of Seville, during which I had the opportunity to participate in an X-ray absorption experiment at the Daresbury Laboratory. In preparation for the trip, I read everything I could find about synchrotrons and X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and this was when I started to get interested in this world. During this first experiment, I came to realize how valuable beamtime really was, and how important it is to collect the data that is needed to continue with the research carried out in the group.
After graduating, I decided to undertake my own PhD research aimed at determining the structure of inorganic compounds in solution using X-ray absorption spectroscopy. For the next few years, my visits to Daresbury were quite frequent.
When I finished my PhD, I moved to the ESRF as a postdoctoral research assistant on the dispersive X-ray absorption spectroscopy beamline. This gave me the opportunity to continue my studies of the structure of inorganic compounds in solution, but extended my investigations into structural aspects of the formation of the compounds that occur in real time. After two and a half years as a postdoctoral researcher, I was appointed to the post of beamline scientist, and in December 2003 I came to Diamond as the beamline scientist for I18.
What do you do here and how does your experience help?
There are no two days that are the same at Diamond, and I love it. One day I can be speaking with some future users about their scientific projects, advising them on the best way of performing their experiment, and the following day I can be attending a meeting to discuss the next intervention that we need to carry out on one of the X-ray mirrors so that it can perform better.
Two years after joining Diamond I was offered the opportunity to build I20, the versatile spectroscopy beamline, and I jumped at the challenge. I have since been responsible for the construction and then for the operations of the two branches of the beamline. As I have been with this beamline since the very beginning, I have had to take all sorts of decisions about its many diverse aspects, from the size and shapes of hutches and cabins, to the choice of insertion devices and expensive instrumentation such as mirrors and monochromators.
My experience first as a user at Daresbury and then as a beamline scientist at the ESRF has proved to be a great advantage that has helped guide my decision making through the whole process of building and commissioning the two branches of the beamline.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Diamond?
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