Remote Access

Introduction to Remote Access

The MX beamlines at Diamond (I03. I04, I04-1 and I24) have been highly automated. Most experiments are feasible remotely with minor exceptions such as humidity control, some serial crystallography protocols, XChem laboratory work or those at biological containment level III.


To carry out remote access experiments to Diamond we recommend:

  • A good connection (at least 10Mb/s)
  • One or two 1900 x 1200 (or 1900 x 1020) monitors attached to a fast modern PC (running Linux, Mac OSX or Windows)
  • The latest NoMachine Enterprise Client for your OS.

First time users are encouraged to contact their local contact to discuss any queries. They will be able to guide you through the software and requirements and if required set up a test experiment to a beamline on a non-experiment day before your session to ensure all systems are working and you are ready to use the beamline. More general remote access queries can be sent to [email protected]

Remote Access Types

Full Remote Access

We currently offer both on-site and remote visits for MX at Diamond.

Running experiments completely remotely is increasingly popular, removing the need to travel to Diamond, increasing user participation per session and for some shift modes it is compulsory. To help Diamond maintain a high level of service to support this and to avoid disappointment at peak periods the following applies to Full Remote Access sessions:

  • Registration for a full remote access visit must be completed in the user administration system as soon as possinble, ideally 5 working days in advance. Provide contact details for all users which will be using the beamline for the whole duration of the experiment, when registering in UAS. 
  • Use Diamond Dewar Labels to identify dewars in ISPyB and in all communication. If you don't have labels we can send them to you.
  • Ensure your puck base and lid numbers match.
  • Registering samples/pucks in ISPyB in advance of your experiment is essential.
  • Create and print shipment labels in ISPyB and attach to dewars.
  • Ship your dewars far enough in advance to arrive at least one working day before your experiment.
  • Unload your last sample before the end of the shift.
  • Request your dewar to be shipped back or transferred to another beamline.

Mixed Access

This is a very popular mode of access where there is a mixture of a group of users at the beamline and the home lab taking turns to collect data. Please note:

  • The local users are responsible for loading/unloading all the pucks for a mixed access visit.
  • Local users should arrive before 4.30pm weekdays and 11am at weekends if they require instruction on use of and loading/unloading of our samples changers.
  • If you wish beamline staff to unload your pucks at the end of your session please discuss with your local contact in advance since the following days local contact may not be the same person and will need to be notified and confirm their availability.
  • If pre-agreed and you are leaving the beamline to remote users overnight minimise the number of pucks for the beamline staff by removing pucks you have finished with before leaving the beamline.
  • Leave puck lids in your shipping dewars so they are pre-cooled (this saves you and us time).
  • Remember your shift finish time and remove all pucks from the experimental hutch by this time.
  • Follow these instructions if you require your dewars shipped back or transferred to another beamline.

Updating ISPyB and local contact - TEAM LEADERS

In both access modes (fully remote or mixed), we require the team leader of the visit to gather and collate ALL information related to the visit (number and codes of dry shippers; which pucks are in which shipper) and to ensure that it is up to date on ISPyB at least 2 days before the visit (for weekend visits: by Wednesday afternoon).

Any further instructions, such as pucks not to be loaded, should be emailed directly to your local contact. 

Puck Changing

Please note that in both modes of access above, time for changing pucks is part of your shift time just as if you were here. For short shifts, this time has already been pre-allocated and the scheduled time provided is when the beamline is expected to be ready for you to start experiments.

Diamond Light Source

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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