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Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak many visits to Diamond Light Source have been postponed. While we realise that an online tour is not the same as visiting Diamond in person, we have put together this webpage to give you a look at what it is like to visit Diamond, hopefully you will enjoy it and we will see you on site in the near future.
If you would like to know more about the work Diamond is doing to help fight Coronaviruses please click here to visit the relevant section of our website.
The videos below were produced in collaboration with the Careers Service at the Open University.
Below you can watch a general introductory talk about Diamond Light Source, it lasts about 38 minutes and will give you a general overview of how the synchrotron at Diamond works and explains some of the science that is carried out.
Below you can watch a tour of Diamond to find out more about our synchrotron and to meet some of our scientists and engineers.
To get a better idea of what it is like inside Diamond you are able to take a look around our synchrotron in 3D. We have two experiences you can try right now on the webpage, and if you have an Android phone and a VR headset (such as google cardboard) you can download a tour from Google Play and immerse yourself right inside Diamond.
By using the screen below you can take yourself on a complete tour of Diamond, from our front door, into the particle accelerator and on into the beamline laboratories.
To control the experience, use your mouse to look around. If you hover the white circle over an icon of a camera or an ABC it will open up more information about that area. When you want to move on to the next area just hover the white circle over the orange arrow in the purple circle.
If you want an immersive VR experience of Diamond the above tour is available to download for free as an app from the Google Play store. You will need a phone capable of downloading from the store (i.e. an Android phone) and a VR headset, such as Google Cardboard. To download the app go to the Google Play store and search for "SCIENCE TOURS VR". While on the app you need to listen to the audio to be able to move onto the next area.
You can get a look inside our particle accelerator in the tour above, but we have taken extra footage so you can get an even more in-depth look.
You can move the screen below around using your mouse. By clicking on the 'i' symbols you can find out more about what you are looking at, and by clicking on the embedded circles you can move around the synchrotron.
If you click on the three dots in the top right you can make this view full screen, or if you have a 3-D viewer for your phone etc. you can immerse yourself completely inside our machine.
Want to know more about Diamond, our scientists, the research that we do, and more? Submit your questions here.
Diamond uses around 6-7MW of power, about the same as around 2500 homes.
Diamond is jointly funded by UKRI:Science and Technology Facilities Council (86%) and the Wellcome Trust (14%)
Lots of research happens at Diamond and it is usually shared with the scientific community via articles in peer-reviewed journals. Diamond users publish over 1000 articles a year so lots of discoveries are made every month! We feature some research in the ‘Science Highlight’ section of our website and the most recent Highlight is all about Cystic Fibrosis and discovering more about the protein that causes this genetic disorder. The scientists behind this research investigated using nanobodies to stabilise this protein and therefore treat the disease. Have a read all about it here.
At the moment, all of Diamond’s research efforts are focused on doing everything we can to help the global effort against the outbreak of COVID-19. We are using our synchrotron and state-of-the-art technology to discover more about this virus, because understanding the biochemical and structural makeup of the virus is absolutely crucial for the development of drugs and extremely helpful for the design of vaccines. To make sure progress is made as fast as possible, we are not following the usual research pathway and waiting for the publication of papers about this research before releasing data. We are making results available and sharing information as early and as rapidly as possible to help inform the public health response and save lives. To explore the most recent discoveries about COVID-19 have a look at our dedicated website here.
The synchrotron at Diamond Light Source can be described as a cross between a giant x-ray machine and a super-powered microscope. It enables scientists to look at samples down to the atomic scale. Like many things in life, if you don’t know how something works you can't work out how to change it, or in the case of a virus, stop it from working. To find a vaccine or cure for a virus it is imperative to have as detailed a knowledge as possible of how it works at an atomic level in order to develop drugs that will stop it from infecting the body.
There are numerous benefits to using a synchrotron as the radiation source for such experiments. The high intensity of the radiation produced allows scientists to run rapid, but high quality, experiments. Together with our innovative use of automation technology, this allows a high throughput of samples with a high quality of data acquisition. In addition, the broad spectrum of radiation produced by the synchrotron and our ability to ‘tune’ this radiation for very specific purposes expands the capabilities of our crystallography beamlines.
To learn more about how we are helping the global fight against COVID-19 have a look at our dedicated website here.
When operational the synchrotron is on 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. For 1 day a week we have 'Machine Development' time, this is when various teams get the chance to make minor modifications/improvements. There are also longer shutdown periods of just over 3 weeks, 4 times a year. These shutdown periods allow bigger improvements to be made to both the storage ring and the beamlines.
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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