Inside Diamond Light Source, the UK's synchrotron facility
Some of the systems developed at Diamond Light Source includes stabilisation of the electron beams to 1/10th of the size of human hair. These are now used on similar facilities around the world from Europe to China.
When the beam hits a sample under test, an array of detectors then pick up the scattered signal. Mark Heron, head of control systems says that some beam lines are robot controlled to enable certain experiments to run through many samples autonomously. “This enables us to run through 600 samples in 10 hours, that is one a minute.”
Interfacing with the robots, motors, and detectors at the lowest level is achieved using C and C++ applications.
Automation allows continuous analysis of samples. Pictured are Diamond’s data acquisition experts Giles Knap (right) and Charles Mita (centre), working with Davide Pincini, a PhD student based at Diamond.