The Diamond Light synchrotron
The Diamond Light Source Synchrotron (DLS) is a new facility in the UK and is described as one of the biggest ‘science endeavours’ in the UK in the last 40 years. Synchrotrons have been used to examine matter using different wavelengths for many decades but the DLS is has one of the most powerful light sources available. The DLS has already been used for a number of neurological/psychiatric conditions including Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. The DLS has been used for a number of other purposes also. There is the possibility of a reclassification of viruses on the basis of some work carried out by Professor Dave Stuart in identifying the structure of the vaccinia virus using the DLS facilities. BBC Radio 4 has a 5 part series on the Diamond Synchrotron. Episode 1 introduces the Synchrotron and looks at the Synchrotron’s application in the analysis of comet material. The DLS produces
‘one of the brightest lights in the known universe’
In Episode 2, there is coverage of the analysis of various pigments from painters such as Turner and also from those recovered in Pompeii. In Episode 3, there is a brief look at the Synchrotron’s use in elucidating the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease by identifying the location of iron deposits in tissue samples. In Episode 4, the Synchrotron is being put to use in finding out how earthworms adapt to arsenic filled landsites using epigenetic mechanisms. There is also a discussion of how the Synchrotron works in manipulating the paths of electrons and causing them to emit light. Episode 5 contains a brief recap of the previous episodes as well as a look at xenon under high pressure conditions. The 1st Diamond Light Source (DLS) Podcast explains the principles of the DLS with the path of electrons influenced by the magnetic fields with the electrons giving light off in the process which is then focused by the diamonds. There is also coverage of the studies involving comets and earthworms.
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