Materials which respond to light are common in nature, resulting in human vision and the movement of sunflowers to face the sun. Using this as inspiration, light-responsive materials are gathering interest in the scientific community for a wide range of applications spanning from soft robotics to energy storage to drug delivery. There are a number of advantages to using light as a stimulus to alter a material; it can be applied externally, and the time, duration, wavelength, intensity and spatial position can all be controlled. In soft systems, the ability to track the self-assembly of materials during light-activation processes will allow greater understanding of the mechanisms through which changes occur, guiding future materials’ design towards application goals.
At B21, we have been installing a new system for in-situ LED irradiation during SAXS measurements, allowing real-time tracking of light-induced self-assembly effects. The LED is fibre-coupled to the sample environment, where it is reflected off a mirror to arrive co-incidentally at the sample position with the X-ray beam. Two different light sources are available: a CoolLED pE-4000, with 16 selectable wavelengths, from 365 – 770 nm, and up to 4 available simultaneously; alternatively, a Prizmatix FC-LED-365A allows high-power irradiation with UV (365 nm) light, perfect for studying azobenzene-based photoswitches. Using external TTL signalling, different wavelengths of light can be pulsed or cycled between SAXS measurements, opening the doors to a large variety of new experiments that are possible.
For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact our PhD student, Beatrice Jones, at email@example.com.
A multi-purpose sample (MPS) cell for measurement of solids, powders, thin films, hydrogels, viscous liquids has been commissioned and ready for use at B21. So far the cell has been used by many academic and industrial users, greatly expanding the type of samples that are possible to measure on B21.
For more information please see our recent paper : C. J. C. Edwards-Gayle, N. Khunti, I. W. Hamley, K. Inoue, N. Cowieson, R. Rambo: Design of a multipurpose sample cell holder for the Diamond Light Source high-throughput SAXS beamline B21, SynchrotronRad.(2021).28, 318–321. DOI : https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600577520013831
B21 will be upgrading its DMM substrates to new Zeiss double crystal multi-layers coated by Rigaku. We expect a 30% gain in flux with optimical microroughness and d-spacing.
B21 will be installing an in vacuum Eiger detector. We are scheduled to take possession of the detector in September 2018. A new dual detector camera will be made to give a q-range of 0.002 to 0.98 inverse Angstroms. Installation will proceed over the next three shutdowns.
SEC-SAXS experiments will have the option for integrated MALS measurements. MALS provides an independent assessement of mass. Plans are currently in place for simultaneous measurements allowing for USAS measurements of large particles.
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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