Find out more about Diamond's response to virus research.
Mayre Alvarez Sabater
I’ve always been fascinated by engineering because it requires problem solving skills and it provides a wide range of opportunities, which is what led me to opt for Automation and Control Engineering at the University of Havana. After completing my degree I started working as an Electrical Design Engineer, which gave me a good understanding of the field... more
With a simple lens the Sun's rays can be focused to a spot strong enough to burn paper.
Focusing visible light is one thing but can you focus X-rays in the same way?
This may seem impossible as X-rays are highly penetrating and they would travel straight through glass without any effect.
However by making several alterations it becomes possible: change the glass lens to one made of beryllium, reduce the diameter of the lens, increase the curvature and make it concave rather than convex then you can begin to see a slight focussing effect. Now stack 100 or more of these beryllium lenses together and you have constructed a device that focusses X-rays.
Throughout an experiment it is often necessary to change the strength of the lens assembly. This can easily be done by adjusting the number of lenses in the assembly. Moreover, it needs to be executed via remote control while ensuring that all the lenses are precisely aligned so that a focussed spot is obtained and finally the assembly must be within a vacuum chamber.
It is a tough task, but Engineers at Diamond have taken up the challenge and produced a device that fits all the requirements. It is called an F-switch because you can easily change the focal length.
Watch the videos below to see how the F-switch works.
Video 1: X-ray beam (red) being focussed to different distances by the F-switch depending on the location of the sample under investigation.
Video 2: The mechanism which moves the different individual lenses of the F-switch in and out of the X-ray beam depending on the requirement of the experiment.
Video 3: The entire unit the moves the F-switch into the best location in order to work accurately.
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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