|Me outside the experimental hutch, sporting my new hair-do for the public|
|The crystals sitting inside the drum, when it was all opened up during shut down. This is our 'filter' which lets us choose the wavelength of light we need to study each material.|
With all this talk of waves, it's always good to have a wave machine for a hands-on demonstration. A bit of searching I found great inspiration in this video. Such a simple, and cheap idea that can show so much, it was constructed in the first half hour of the open day (we were at the end of the self-guided tour), pretty happy with the result!
|Science and food - always a winning combination|
Once we have a beam of light at the right wavelength, we pass this into an experimental hutch where we can place a sample into beam to study it. The technique we use for this, diffraction, acts like a super-microscope letting us construct models of where the atoms and molecules are actually sitting in the sample. This structural information has a great range of uses, from working out how a material conducts electricity to how a material gets bigger when we heat it.
So that's my 'office', where I'm lucky enough to work. There are the laboratories too where as my research cracks on a pace I'll be spending lots of time in preparing sample for the beamline. I've been lucky enough to be granted time for a couple of experiments in the run after Christmas, so that will be keeping my very busy. (To use the beamline, you have to write a proposal of an experiment and send it to a review committee - it's nerve racking but a great feeling when you get granted time).
As well as the 3000 visitors the synchrotron got, there was a live broadcast on the 3RRR radio station and you can download a podcast of the program - you may recognise one of the guests!