DIAMOND SHEDS LIGHT ON THE WORLD
Click for larger image of first synchrotron light in storage ring
Diamond Light Source Ltd., is a new third generation (3GeV) synchrotron in the UK. It started operations in January 2007 and will provide x-ray, infrared and ultraviolet beams of exceptional brightness. These will be used by scientists and engineers for research and development in many fields including biomedical science, medical research, environmental sciences and physical sciences.
Electron Beam Diagnostics Systems
Diamond Light Source planned to implement a system that would measure the properties of electron beams, including the quality, charge, current and emittance of the beam; the dimension, position and time structure of electron bunches; and provide an accurate measurement of electron losses and injection efficiency.
To support their beam diagnostic system, Diamond needed a compact camera that could be controlled remotely (gain and exposure), offered good performance (low noise) and provided a digital readout so that images could be viewed on any computer within the control system. Trigger synchronization offered by digital cameras was also critical.
The Beam Diagnostics Group at Diamond evaluated products from all major industrial imaging camera suppliers including Point Grey Research, and chose the Flea camera system from Point Grey. This compact IEEE-1394 digital camera, designed to fit spaces as small as 30x31mm, comes with a 1/3'' Sony® CCD and a 12-bit analog to digital converter, and was designed to deliver high quality images required by demanding imaging applications.
"The Flea has found a broad range of applications in beam diagnostics due to its good performance and wide range on parameters like exposure and gain," said Dr. Guenther Rehm, Head of Beam Diagnostics at Diamond Light Source.
Diamond tested each vendor’s products, and found that the Point Grey Flea camera offered the best performance in terms of noise, compact footprint and value/price ratio. In addition, the Flea also consumed less power than competitor cameras, and allowed Diamond to power up to eight cameras on one bus with very long cables. Diamond also tested the Flea’s resilience to gamma radiation and found that it behaved very well (in that the CCD sensor died before the digital electronics created problems).
Click for larger image of the 561.1 metre storage ring
Diamond Light Source is now using Flea and Flea2 cameras in a variety of applications including imaging fluorescent and optical transition radiation screens, imaging synchrotron light directly, and imaging x-ray beams using a scintillator followed by 1:1 imaging optics. Diamond believes that the ability to use one type of camera in many different applications greatly reduces the effort required by their staff for maintenance and support.
FireWire vs Analog
Diamond Light Source found that using FireWire rather than analogue cameras greatly simplified the installation of the cameras. Their setup allowed images to be transmitted digitally, removing the need for cumbersome frame grabbers and coax switches. Also, the simplicity of triggered acquisition made this mode the standard rather than the exception. The typical flickering analogue camera images, showing flashes of light as the injector fired its beam five times per second, became a relic of the past. Integrating FireWire cameras with the EPICS control system used widely in the accelerator community allowed seamless integration with control room displays and further processing software (e.g. MATLAB®).
About Diamond Light Source, CCLRC and Wellcome Trust
Diamond Light Source is located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus near Didcot, Oxfordshire. The UK Government and the Wellcome Trust fund Diamond Light Source, owning 86% and 14% of the shares respectively. The Wellcome Trust is an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. It seeks to improve understanding of the ways science and medicine have developed, and how research affects people and society today.
What is a Synchrotron Light Source?
A synchrotron light source is a very large machine designed to produce intense beams of light. Millions of times brighter than an X-ray, synchrotron light is generated by using powerful magnets to accelerate electrons that are traveling near the speed of light. Infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray light is shone down beamlines to end stations (small laboratories) where scientists can select different parts of the spectrum to view the microscopic nature of matter, and investigate it at the scale of atoms and molecules. Synchrotron light is an indispensable tool in many research areas including physics, chemistry, materials science and crystallography, and is increasingly being used in medicine, geological and environmental studies, structural genomics and archaeology. Many everyday commodities, from chocolate to cosmetics, drugs, surgical tools, computers and mobile phones, have been developed or improved using synchrotron light.
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