For Diamond to continue to enable world-leading science and address key societal challenges head-on, it must continue to provide access to the best analytic techniques, engage effectively with leading groups in universities, institutes and industry and embrace multiprobe solutions to increasingly complex problems, backed by advanced data analysis techniques.
Diamond has analysed these challenges and the key technological developments required to meet them, taking account of strategic priorities of its shareholders – STFC on behalf of the UK Research Councils, and the Wellcome Trust – and presented them in a 10- year vision document. This vision forms the basis of proposals to Diamond’s shareholders for support for all the upgrades needed over the period 2016-2024 – a programme called the ‘Diamond Upgrade’.
This will propel Diamond into the next decade as a world-leading centre for synchrotron science and a cornerstone for scientific discovery on the Harwell Campus.
Specifically, Diamond proposes to focus on the following initiatives:
Build a new storage ring with much lower emittance – 'Diamond- II' – integrated with new or improved beamlines designed explicitly to best exploit the potential of brighter, more coherent X-rays. This will provide a step change in the science that can be delivered, including: new nanoscale imaging techniques for reconstructing chemical character, electron densities, or structures, and highly intense beams, focused to sub-10 nm, for enabling direct insights on chemical reactions and biological processes. The new design of storage ring will also allow additional insertion devices and hence beamlines to be installed to allow for a future increase in capacity.
Increasingly integrate experimental work with high-performance computing to allow experiments to be conducted with near real-time analysis in order to guide them as effectively
as possible. It will also provide holistic analysis of multiprobe measurements which are becoming increasingly important in tackling yet more complex problems.
Diamond-II will not be operational until at least 2024 but there are many other technological developments that can be exploited before then that will offer new scientific opportunities at every stage, from the source, through optics and sample environments, to detectors – all beyond the scope of what was or could be conceived for Phase III. These will be implemented throughout the entire period, rapidly offering, among other things, a massive increase in the speed of experiments and throughput, accelerating materials discovery and hugely widening the scope of processes that may be studied in operando or in vivo.
The Harwell Campus provides an ideal setting for the integration of the most powerful analytical techniques. It is host to world-class centres for neutron scattering at ISIS and specialised lasers at the Central Laser Facility with the Research Complex at Harwell playing an increasingly effective role in enabling university groups to develop multiprobe methods.
L-R: Riccardo Bartolini, Gwyndaf Evans, and Jörg Zegenhagen, who each presented cases for Diamond-II to the Science Advisory Committee
State-of-the-art cryo-EM facilities for the life and physical sciences are being built alongside Diamond, while biomedical research is further enhanced by local activities in protein production and sample optimisation/handling, for instance the Oxford Protein Production Facility UK, the Membrane Protein Laboratory, and potentially the Rosalind Franklin Institute for new physical techniques to advance biomedicine. The establishment of a hub at Diamond to develop methods to exploit free electron lasers (FELs) for the life sciences will build bridges to the European XFEL, enable the UK community to take the best advantage of membership, and help provide the foundation for a future XFEL at Harwell.