New research centre will offer unrivalled facilities

Harwell science campus

Harwell science campus

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A NEW centre for the research of materials is to be built at the Harwell science campus.

Oxford University and Diamond Light Source, the particle accelerator facility, are working together on the project.

It will see cutting-edge microscopes used to study chemicals at atomic level and, it is hoped, will see advances in areas such as carbon technology and green energy.

Professor Angus Kirkland, of Oxford University’s department of materials, said: “This facility will provide a world-class capability for materials imaging and deliver unique insights.”

The building will offer unrivalled facilities for research across the biological and physical sciences, bosses said.

Oxford University and chemicals and rare metals giant Johnson Matthey will jointly contribute electron microscopes from Japanese firm JEOL.

And those will join two advanced models being built at the centre for use in cryo-electron microscopy, where samples can be studied at low temperatures.

Diamond Light Source chief executive Professor Andrew Harrison said: “This development is part of a more general trend to develop strategic partnerships with industry and the university to exploit more fully our synchrotron facilities.”

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The Diamond synchrotron is the only one of its kind in the UK.

The donut-shaped building focuses light to levels 10 billion times brighter than the sun for the study of materials and chemicals.

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