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ISSN: 1600-5775

Diamond construction commences

Construction of the Diamond Light Source passed a major milestone on 12 March when Dr John Taylor, Director General of Research Councils in the United Kingdom, cut the first turf from its site at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. Funded jointly by the UK government, through CCLRC, and the Wellcome Trust, the GBP 235 million project is planned to begin operations in January 2007. Dr Taylor commented that this is the largest science facility development in the UK for 30 years and demonstrates its commitment to providing scientists with world-class research opportunities.

The 24-cell storage ring will have a circumference of 562 m and operate at 3.0 GeV with superconducting RF cavities. Seven beamlines will be available at the start of operations for users in physical and life sciences. These include three beamlines for protein crystallography and one for microfocus XAFS. Further beamlines will be added at a rate of four per year to a complement of 21. The full complement of beamlines is expected to be ready for users in 2012.

Diamond Light Source (DLS) Ltd was formed in March 2002 with a board under the chairmanship of Sir David Cooksey. The Diamond CEO, Professor Gerd Materlik, expressed his determination to confront the technical challenges for stability and precision and to create a new focal point for science in the UK. CCLRC, which is also responsible for running the Daresbury Laboratory, is the major shareholder in DLS. Its CE, Professor John Wood, said that he was delighted to see that the construction of Diamond had now started. CCLRC were now looking to the future with exciting developments at Daresbury concerning the fourth-generation light-source (4GLS) project. Meanwhile the operation of the current SRS will be focused on, ensuring that it can deliver world-leading science on its beamlines for the benefit of all users.

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