The I13 imaging and coherence beamline aims for multiscale imaging in the energy range of 6 - 30 keV. The achievable resolution ranges from several microns to some tens of nanometers with two branchlines operating independently for this purpose. The Diamond-Manchester imaging branchline performs mainly in-line phase contrast tomography with a strong emphasis on dedicated sample environments. Failure of lithium batteries, material cracks, the structure of ice cream, bones under load, the storage of CO2 in brine and sandstone are some examples of the studies conducted under realistic conditions. Two projects are currently under development for submicron and phase sensitive imaging. A new full-field microscope will perform Zernike phase contrast imaging over a field of view of 50-100 μm and a resolution of 50 - 100 nm and a grating interferometry setup will provide superb image quality, measuring the absolute phase and providing small angle information allowing us to identify nano-sized structures from micrometer resolution X-rays. The highest spatial resolution, of 30 nm,is achieved on the coherence branch with ptychographic imaging. Our most important development is that we are now able to use the EXCALIBUR photon counting detector at 50 Hz frame rate which has reduced ptycho-tomography scans from days to a few hours. We can now routinely perform ptychography as a standard user experiment, enabling the beamline’s ambition for multi-scale imaging. A large number of pilot experiments are currently underway, many of which previously used the imaging branch but can now exploit higher resolution ptychographic imaging. Examples are the study of battery failure, the origin and structure of particles from the Fukushima accident, or the micro- and nano-structure of insects.
I14, the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe beamline, welcomed its first users in March 2017 which kicked off an exciting year of commissioning, developments and experiments. I14 offers a small beam of 100 - 200 nm for high resolution imaging. Over the last year I14 has offered X-ray fluorescence, diffraction and XANES mapping with spatial resolutions down to 100 nm. Thermal spray coatings, corroded metal surfaces, meteorites, metallic particles in cells, photovoltaic films and radionuclide particles are just a sample of the many science areas and successful experiments conducted so far. The beamline is still in its optimisation phase and over the coming year the spatial resolution will improve to ~50 nm and new techniques and facilities such as ptychography, cryogenic sample handling and in situ sample environments will be rolled out for routine use.
In 2017 the Electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre (ePSIC) at Diamond welcomed its first users. The two transmission electron microscopes which make up the centre, a JEOL ARM 200 and a JEOL GRAND ARM 300, were brought to Diamond through collaboration with Johnson Matthey and Oxford University. The ARM 200 is a state-of-the-art probe-corrected analytical microscope capable of atomic resolution electron energy loss and X-ray spectroscopy. The ARM 300 is a dedicated imaging instrument aligned across a wide range of accelerating voltages (30 - 300 keV). It is both probe- and imaging-corrected and has numerous detectors including a fast direct electron detector (operating at up to 2000 fps). These combined capabilities make this a unique resource for electron microscopy within the UK. With in situ sample holders, users at ePSIC can perform variable temperature measurements from 100 to 1600 Kelvin to directly image the atomic structure of materials during thermally driven transitions. This in situ capability will be expanded upon over the coming year. An Oxford Instruments EDX detector has been added to the ARM 300 to allow combined X-ray spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging. The state of the art instrumentation available at ePSIC has attracted both established electron microscopists looking to develop new techniques and scientists with limited previous electron microscopy experience interested in the atomic structure of their samples. The collaboration of the expert staff at ePSIC with this range of users is helping to bring cutting edge microscopy techniques to the wider material science community.
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