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Linkam Stages used for Beamline analysis at Diamond

Linkam Stages used for Beamline analysis at Diamond content piece image
Credit: Linkam Scientific Instruments
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Beamline analysis is a vital technique used in the study of structural and crystallographic properties of materials. Based in Oxfordshire, Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron. Its pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research, with over 14,000 researchers from across both academia and industry using Diamond to conduct experiments on samples varying from flexible electronics and jet engines to biological samples and or unknown virus structures.

Synchrotrons accelerate electrons to almost the speed of light and as the electrons are deflected through magnetic fields, they create extremely bright light, which is channeled down individual beamlines to experimental workstations where it is used for research. Diamond is the UK’s largest synchrotron with a ring circumference of 783m and an operating power of 3 GeV hosting 32 beamlines, with further expansion planned in the near future. Each beamline is customized to utilize a specific wavelength, beam size and energy of the incoming radiation, which is chosen for its suitability for specific beamline analysis techniques ranging from X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Small/Wide Angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) to X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray Fluorescence (XFS), and many more. Each beamline further supports in-situ and environmental control, utilizing temperature, humidity, pressure and vacuum sample chambers.

Linkam has worked with Diamond since it opened in 2001, providing temperature and environmental stages year after year both directly to Diamond and to researchers renting time on the beamline. Duncan Stacey, Sales and Marketing Director at Linkam comments: “Linkam’s stages, such as the THMS600, DSC600 and TS1500, can be installed directly in the beamline for temperature or environmentally controlled beamline measurements, as well as mechanical sample manipulation using the MFS. We are proud to have always worked closely with Diamond and the researchers who use their beamlines to provide solutions to experiments requiring temperature and environmental control. Standard and customized Linkam stages are used in a variety of X-ray applications and can be found in most Synchrotron facilities around the world.”

The wide range of beamline techniques enable researchers from a variety of disciplines to utilize Diamond Light Source. Examples include: using SAXS to study the crystal structure of organic solar cells, which correlates directly with their efficiency; looking at the properties of antiferromagnetic materials using X-ray manometry; unraveling properties of new molecular structures such as “bucky nano-diamonds” with XRD; or looking at the protein structures in human cells through Protein Crystallography.

Diamond’s 32 beamlines are used to develop cutting-edge techniques used for pioneering new research projects. One such system is the new long-duration experiment facility at Diamond, which has been used to study the kinetics of sigma phase formation in three Cr–Co–Ni alloys. Diffraction data acquired during in situ exposure at 800°C for 50 days showed progressive increases in the sigma fraction. This was accompanied by changes in the proportions of the other phases, which differed markedly between the alloys studied.

Linkam also offers stages that can be used adjacent to beamline techniques. For example. Linkam’s Cryo-Correlative Microscopy Stage (CMS196) uses cryo-fluorescence microscopy to help localize structures of interest in samples for high-resolution cryo electron microscopy imaging. Diamond currently has a number of CMS196 at the facility and two collaborative projects running based around the stage. One of the collaborations uses the CM196 to image fluorescence samples at cryogenic temperatures for super-resolution 3D structured illumination cryogenic fluorescence microscopy for correlated ultra-structural imaging.2

Linkam has close contact with many other synchrotron facilities around the world, including Oak Ridge, Argonne and SLAC in the US, CERN in Switzerland, ESRF in France, Max IV in Sweden and ALBA in Spain and Spring8 in Japan.