Our applications engineers oversee the product development cycle. They provide: consultancy, modelling, proof of concept demonstrators and project management drawing on the centre's experience from STFC's core programme.
A typical example is given below. In this case technology developed for high energy particle physics experiments has been applied to an instrumentation need in synchrotron science:
For a number of years, an exciting and important area of synchrotron radiation science has been X-ray absorption spectroscopy fine structure studies of dynamically changing samples on the sub-second time-scales. By utilizing this technique, precise measurement of detailed structural changes can be investigated during a chemical or phase change reaction without the need for repeated experiments or expensive stopped flow techniques. Until recently, instrumentation to facilitate these studies has been based on commercially available detectors developed predominantly for other applications. Whilst these systems have yielded quality science, they have been subject to a number of fundamental limitations, particularly their speed, linearity and dynamic range.
STFC have developed a new detector, XSTRIP, to overcome these issues. This new instrument marries dedicated silicon microstrip technology with specialist low noise, custom developed, fast readout integrated circuits, to yield an instrument that has unlocked whole new areas of science to researchers. XSTRIP has been successfully used not only in SRS but also much more intense third generation sources such as the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble, France.