“Where no synchotron has gone before”: Diamond Light Source

©Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source have introduced a new beamline, which they say will go “where no synchrotron has gone before.”

The new beamline is a landmark for Diamond Light Source, and will allow researchers to push beyond the current limits of synchrotron data measurement.

What is a synchotron?

Diamond Light Source define a synchrotron as: “A type of circular particle accelerator. It works by accelerating charged particles (electrons) through sequences of magnets until they reach almost the speed of light. These fast-moving electrons produce very bright light, called synchrotron light. This very intense light, predominantly in the X-ray region, is millions of times brighter than light produced from conventional sources and 10 billion times brighter than the sun. Scientists can use this light to study minute matter such as atoms and molecules.”

Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron light source and is introducing its 32nd operational beamline, the new Versatile Macromolecular Crystallography micro/nanofocus (VMXm) beamline.

The new beamline

The VMXm beamline is a specialist tuneable micro/nanofocus macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamline. It has an X-ray beam size of less than 0.5 microns. This allows for the analysis of tiny samples.

VMXm will be applied for research where the production of significant quantities of protein and crystals is difficult.

Going ‘where no synchotron has gone before’

The Principal Beamline Scientist, Dr Gwyndaf Evans, said:”VMXm will allow researchers to push synchrotron data measurement beyond the previously explored limits of crystal size. It’s also a significant milestone for the Diamond design and construction team: making such a complex instrument work so well at the first attempt is a remarkable achievement, and they should be immensely proud of themselves. We are now looking forward to really exploring the limits of what VMXm is capable of and using it to answer important biological questions.”

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