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Diamond push to research

DIAMOND, A third generation 3 GeV (Giga electron Volt) synchrotron light source, situated near Oxford in UK, is a leading science research laboratory in Europe. From last January, it has started calling proposals from industry across the globe to use their light source on payment.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2007 01:05 IST

DIAMOND, A third generation 3 GeV (Giga electron Volt) synchrotron light source, situated near Oxford in UK, is a leading science research laboratory in Europe. From last January, it has started calling proposals from industry across the globe to use their light source on payment.

Not only has this move given a boost to industrial research but has also encouraged industries to gain a commercial edge over their competitors by manufacturing scientifically designed goods.

However, Diamond Light Source technical director Dr Richard P Walker clarified that research facility is not meant just for industries. “No, we are not making money out of this. The income from industry does not constitute more than 10 to 15 per cent of the total running cost,” he told Hindustan Times.

Dr Walker, who is in Indore to participate in the Asian conference on accelerators, stressed that the actual purpose of the centre was to do research on all kinds of basic sciences.

He said, “Our plan is to produce X-ray, infrared and ultra-violet beams of exceptional brightness. These highly focused beams of light will enable scientists and engineers to probe deep into the basic structure of matter and materials, answering fundamental questions about everything from the building blocks of life to the origin of our planet.”

But, hasn’t the response from industry to proposal call been good at Diamond?  “No doubt, the idea is well received, there is a request to double our capacity and therefore we are going for major expansion.

But industries mainly collaborate through universities and they don’t have to pay for it. It is only when industry wants something of its own and want to keep the results  a secret that it applies at Diamond and pay for it,” he said.

Elaborating, Dr Walker said that the laboratory has taken help of UK university professors and students to streamline the beam working at Diamond and provide what industry wants. The industry call proposals are received every six months and review panel spends another six months on evaluating it. “But then its an initial phase, there is a long way to go and evolve,” he remarked in a matter-of-fact manner.

A synchrotron is a huge scientific machine designed to produce very intense beams of X-rays and ultraviolet light. The synchrotron light can penetrate deep inside matter and allows scientists to investigate the world at the scale of atoms and molecules.