Diamond’s X-ray Pair Distribution Function beamline (XPDF) I15-1 recently welcomed members of the Goodwin group as its first users. We were thrilled to take part in this latest milestone for XPDF that builds on the incredible hard work and dedication of the XPDF team.

The first facility of its kind it Europe, XPDF provides a long-needed means of probing the characteristics of a huge range of materials on the atomic scale.

We chose to run a long-time favourite compound – Zn(CN)2 – as our first XPDF measurement. We are hoping to use XPDF to solve the puzzle of how properties on the atomic scale are related to the unusually large NTE effect that zinc cyanide exhibits.

Aside from being a continental first, another remarkable feature of XPDF is the fact that the beamline successfully welcomed their first users just one week after ‘first light’: the moment when synchrotron light is first observed on the beamline. This achievement is an amazing feat on behalf of the dedicated beamline team.

Principal Beamline Scientist, Dr Heribert Wilhelm, said: “Building a new beamline into an operational one was a challenging task. Achieving ‘first light’ and ‘first users’ within a week without disrupting the operational beamline would not have been possible without the diligent commitment of the team and the support groups.

“It was a really exciting moment to see the diffraction and pair-distribution function data appearing on the screen almost simultaneously.”

Professor Trevor Rayment, Physical Science Director at Diamond, said: “I’m delighted that XPDF has proved so successful in supporting its first users – this is an area of research that has real relevance to challenges we face in engineering and, indeed, in our daily lives”.

Text adapted from Diamond’s article here.