SPACE flight instruments, laser imaging and dark matter detection are among projects to get a £21 million cash injection in Oxfordshire.

The Government is investing the millions in the Harwell science campus near Didcot.

The money will help scientists to search for dark matter, test satellites before launch and support work on 'quantum interferometry projects'.

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The investment in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) at Harwell includes £1 million for a Strontium Source Laboratory to allow work on cold-atom sensors and instruments.

This will support work on quantum projects recently described as a 'future priority infrastructure' for the UK, and act as a local testing ground for larger-scale devices to be delivered by RAL departments.

Oxford Mail: Harwell science campus. Picture: Science and Technology Facilities CouncilHarwell science campus. Picture: Science and Technology Facilities Council

Other investments at RAL include:

• £140,000 to the Deuterium-Deuterium neutron source alongside the already-planned Deuterium-Tritium source at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source to support work on dark matter detection, dosimetry, and solid state neutron detection.

• £900,000 in high performance computing infrastructure to support the data analysis from the UK’s large multidisciplinary facilities, the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, the Diamond Light Source, and the Central Laser Facility.

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• £500,000 towards the completion of the thermal vacuum satellite test chambers in STFC’s RAL Space, to support the test and calibration of larger space flight instruments for both industrial and academic customers.

• £470,000 for an imaging capability for fast freezing to support bio-science experiments at cryogenic temperatures on the OCTOPUS imaging cluster at the Central Laser Facility.

The investment in Oxfordshire is part of a £213 million Government investment being announced today to 'upgrade the UK’s scientific infrastructure'.

The RAL at Harwell is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Dr Neil Geddes, STFC director of national laboratories, said: “This investment will push forward research across a wide range of science and technology projects, reflecting the breadth of the work undertaken at RAL.

"It further strengthens the laboratories’ key role at the heart of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.”