Remote Access

Introduction to Remote Access

The MX beamlines at Diamond (I03. I04, I04-1 and I24) have been highly automated. When combined with intuitive software, comprehensive manuals (both written and videos) and highly experienced local support staff it is possible to provide remote access experiments at all these beamlines for the novice through to expert users. Most experiments are feasible remotely with minor exceptions such as humidity control or those at biological containment level III.


To carry out remote access experiments to Diamond we recommend:

First time users are encouraged to contact their local contact in the first instance to discuss any queries you may have. 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. 

Remote Access Types

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.

Full Remote Access

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 at least 5 working days in advance. Provide contact details for the duration of the experiment when registering in UAS. If not already requested please inform your local contact and at this point of the expected number of pucks you will ship.
  • 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.
  • We highly recommend you add your samples/pucks in ISPyB in advance of your experiment to streamline sample and puck tracking. These can be added to your shipment.
  • 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.

Providing information to the 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; which pucks are to be loaded) and to send this list to the local contact at least 2 days before the visit (for weekend visits: by Wednesday afternoon).  Please use this example template for your convenience.

This is crucial for your visit to run smoothly: due the popularity of these modes of operation, the number of dry shippers being dealt with at Diamond has increased enormously.

The list must allow your local contact:

  • To rapidly check that the correct number of dry shippers have arrived at Diamond, so they can alert you in the eventuality of missing Dewars.
  • To effectively coordinate puck loading and unloading on Diamond's side - this can be a major logistical exercise, and we need your help.

As team leader, please do NOT assume that if your colleagues have emailed something, this is enough.  It is crucial that you collate the information into a single email to the Local Contact, especially when multiple of your BAG's users will be sending dewars from different labs.

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.

These are some simple rules which when followed will help us provide the best possible service to the whole Diamond user community.

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