07
JUL
2021

£1.4m funding to look into a new world-class materials science centre at Daresbury Laboratory

A new project to look at creating a world-leading materials science centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory is underway thanks to more than £1million funding.

If built, the new facility’s state-of-the-art capabilities would provide UK scientists insights in personalised medicine, energy storage, renewable energy and more.

Thanks to the investment from UK Research and Innovation’s Infrastructure Fund, scientists can now start to design what this centre could look like.

Credit: STFC

Why Daresbury?

The new facility, known as RUEDI (Relativistic Ultra-fast Electron Diffraction and Imaging Facility), will be designed to be based at Daresbury Laboratory to exploit the existing infrastructure for other similar-sized electron accelerators.

The proposal, funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is led by Professor Nigel Browning at the University of Liverpool. The proposal has also received support from the Rosalind Franklin Institute at Harwell and staff at STFC’s Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC).

Paul Vernon, Head of STFC Daresbury Laboratory and Executive Director, Business and Innovation Directorate, said: “This investment shows that Daresbury Laboratory and the wider North-West science and innovation landscape are thriving.

“Looking into creating new, cutting-edge facilities such as this will significantly enhance the attractiveness of the campus and local area for hi-tech industries, entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop new and innovative products, leading to wealth creation and more jobs for the local economy.”

How will it work?

RUEDI uses extremely short bunches of electrons to probe the structure of materials and atomic length scales. What will make this unique from previous accelerators is RUEDI will effectively be able to produce movies of these processes as they happen in real time.

RUEDI will provide UK scientists with unprecedented capabilities to deliver transformative innovations in the science and technology.

The variety of topics that could be investigated include:

  • Personalised medicine
  • Energy storage, both grid and transportation
  • Renewable energy, such as energy generation, transformation and advanced manufacturing
  • Materials operating under extreme conditions.

STFC Professor Jim Clarke, Head of ASTeC, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for STFC Daresbury Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the Rosalind Franklin Institute at Harwell, to develop a world-leading capability that will provide unprecedented insights into molecular and biological processes as they happen in real time.

The facility can provide insights into chemical and biological processes that are important across a wide range of scientific and industrial applications and contribute to the UK’s knowledge-based economy through the many insights it will provide.”

Professor Graeme Burt, acting Director of the Cockcroft Institute, added: ”RUEDI is yet another world-leading accelerator project being build on the Daresbury campus, highlighting the cutting-edge nature of research going on at the laboratory.