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Anglo-French Collaboration on Synchrotron Science

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Diamond Light Source Ltd and Synchrotron SOLEIL are both synchrotron light facilities that generate high-intensity X-ray, infra-red and ultra-violet beams. 

Both facilities are under construction and, when they open in early 2007, they will provide researchers, from a wide range of scientific disciplines, with advanced and complementary research tools.

The future work of these research facilities was the topic of an Anglo-French scientific discussion seminar held at the Royal Society of Medicine on Wednesday 25th January 2006. 

The evening was organised by the Science and Technology Department of the French Embassy in London.

During the evening, Prof Colin Norris, Diamond’s Physical Science Director, stressed the importance of the relationship and unveiled the latest collaborations underway. 

Prof Norris said, "We’ve had a continuing strong relationship with SOLEIL as our science and technical directors contribute to their scientific and technical advisory committees and visa versa."

"Beyond our current links, we are focusing on two new collaborative areas. The first is joint research into new technology for the future in fields such as detectors, which are crucial to enable scientists to collect data from their experiments."

"The second is a commitment to ensure that researcher’s needs are fully catered for after the existing UK synchrotron at Daresbury closes in 2008."

Prof Norris added, "The fact that Diamond and SOLEIL are being developed at the same time has many advantages.  It means we can combine our expertise and bring exciting new technology to both facilities."

"In addition, we can ensure that between the two sources we are able to offer the most advanced synchrotron facilities in Europe, tailored to the needs of both academic and industrial research communities."

"One objective for Diamond and SOLEIL is to ensure that we complement each other, rather than compete with one another for the same users."

"For instance, in their first few years of operation, SOLEIL will take the lead on infrared micro spectroscopy, which can be used to study a wide range of materials including biological tissue, mineral surfaces, single crystals, paint fragments, archaeological remains and polymer multilayers."

"While Diamond will provide a huge boost to the structural biology research community as we will have three Macromolecular Crystallography beamlines available for X-ray crystallography experiments."

Science speakers at the Anglo-French scientific discussion seminar, which was entitled "Synchro’ what? Synchrotrons!" included Dr Thomas Sorensen from Diamond and Dr Paul Dumas from SOLEIL. 

They took their audience on a journey from drug development using protein crystallography to imaging cancer cells using infrared micro spectroscopy.