Developing Diamond

Keeping the UK at the forefront of science with synchrotrons

Diamond Synchrotron, Aerial View
Diamond Synchrotron, Aerial View
The Government’s consultation on the £7bn capital investment in science and research over the next five years is now well underway and there are just over 2 weeks left for all those with an interest in the future of science in the UK to have their say on where capital investment should be channelled in the coming years. 
Government is asking for information from many sources, including researchers, stakeholders, universities, industry, learned societies and members of the public because this will give them a better picture of the issues, ideas and experiences around capital investment decisions.
Diamond welcomes this consultation and the opportunity to outline what we need in terms of investment in infrastructure to ensure that we are able to offer our users world class instruments and expertise that is keeping pace with global advances in synchrotron technology.
To help everyone who is planning to share their views with the Government, we have outlined below the key elements of our long-term development plans for Diamond.    We share the Government’s ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to do science and research and we believe that Diamond can continue to attract academic and industrial researchers working on many of society’s most pressing problems if the technology and expertise we offer continues to be at the forefront of what is technologically possible.
If you believe that these developments will be important in continuing to provide the very best facilities to support your science, or science pursued by colleagues in your institution, we urge you to express your opinion through this link to consultation page on the BIS website or by e-mailing
Diamond and the Capital Consultation Exercise
Keeping the UK at the forefront of science with synchrotrons
The motivation for Diamond’s proposal for support through the Capital Consultation Exercise is encapsulated in the opening section on ‘synchrotron capability’ in the document issued by BIS at the launch of the process: ‘Synchrotron sources like the Diamond Light Source at Harwell Oxford produce brilliant beams of light across a large energy range and are used across a wide scope of research areas from biological crystallography, to heritage science, environmental science and engineering. The UK has reclaimed its position at the state-of-the-art in this area with the success of Diamond – the opportunity now exists to move into a real position of international leadership. Diamond requires continual investment in capital to maintain its current capability through planned replacements and efficiency improvements, and in upgrades to add new capabilities’.
In order to match this ambition and provide the UK with world-leading opportunities for science with synchrotron radiation well into the next decade, the following set of upgrades and developments are proposed for the funding period (2015-2021).
  1. Improvements to the source: The priority will be to improve the performance of beamlines by focussing on: (i) reliability will be enhanced further through upgrades to RF components; (ii) several insertion devices will be upgraded to deliver far brighter X-rays to some 5 beam-lines; (iii) the stability of the photon beams need to be further improved in anticipation of yet higher repetition rate detectors, which will require development of improved electron and photon beam diagnostics and feedback systems;  (iv) extensive R+D will be conducted to determine how best to upgrade the lattice of the storage ring, building on the experience gained from the introduction of double double bend achromat modules, and guided by optimization of beam characteristics across the beam-line suite. Such an upgrade would take place in the period 2021-2022, and lead to a reduction in the horizontal emittance of the storage ring (increase in brightness) by an order of magnitude.
  2. Upgrade or replacement of beamlines to ensure that our suite of instruments remain world-class. We anticipate substantially upgrading four beam-lines in the period 2018-2021. A long-list of proposals for such upgrades will be refined and prioritized through consultation with UK science funders and the science community. 
  3. Development and implementation of key enabling technologies for detectors, optics and improvements of equipment for sample environment, particularly in materials processing, reactive chemistry and cryogenics. Diamond is already reaching its limits in terms of storage of increasingly vast quantities of data, together with the means to make them available remotely to users and provide fit-for-purpose means of analysis. Solutions need to be sought in collaboration with other organisations that have similar challenges, but nevertheless there is an anticipated need for the provision of a greatly enhanced local infrastructure for data handling.
  4. Completion of Phase III beamlines, supporting laboratories and the staff required to run them requires significant additional space, to be provided by an extension to the building housing the storage ring and beamlines. 
  5. Installation of a helium liquefaction system both to recover helium for Diamond and the ISIS Facility, and to provide essential backup for the cryogenic components of the machine.
  6. Infrastructure replacement & obsolescence: Diamond will have been operating for ten years in the near future and it is anticipated that relatively large items of equipment and infrastructure will have to be replaced, requiring investment beyond normal operating capital.
In addition, Diamond is strongly supportive of proposals submitted by STFC to develop facilities and infrastructure on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, in particular:
  1. A UK XFEL (X-ray Free Electron Laser), which will provide exceptionally bright and short (fs) photon pulses, to explore structure and processes in unrivalled detail. Further opportunities for unique types of measurement would be provided by its co-location at Harwell with complementary light sources – Diamond and the Central Laser Facility.  It would also benefit greatly by the establishment of a complementary Institute for Free Electron Laser Science and Technology which would house leading academic groups focused on exploiting the full potential of this type of facility.
  2. Further development of the Research Complex at Harwell to enable further complementary research facilities and groups from both universities and industry to work more effectively alongside central facilities such as Diamond, ISIS and the Central Laser Facility.
  3. Extension of accommodation and training space for students, together with an extension of on-site accommodation for visiting users.
Diamond is actively engaged in securing complementary sources of funding for many of these items.
Your view is important and unique, so share it with the Government and shape the outcome of this consultation! To help you make your opinion heard, we have some helpful tips on what a consultation is and how to contribute. 
If you need any additional information on Diamond, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Silvana Westbury, Acting Head of Communications, on 01235 778238 or