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XMAS in Grenoble

Originally Published 10 June 1998

Issued jointly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Universities of Warwick and Liverpool

Research using a new instrument on the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) has attracted one of the biggest single grants made by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The instrument will provide opportunities for UK scientists and engineers to study the properties of magnetic materials which could impact on computers, computer storage media and electric vehicles.

A 2.3 million pounds sterling grant has been awarded to Professor Bill Stirling at the University of Liverpool and Professor Malcolm Cooper at the University of Warwick for a five- year programme of experiments on a new X-ray beam line (XMAS - X-ray MAgnet Scattering) being built at the ESRF in Grenoble, France. The ESRF is one of the world's leading research centres for synchrotron radiation research. It is supported by 12 European nations including the United Kingdom.

The new beam line is specially designed for investigations of magnetic and high resolution X-ray diffraction. It will be used to generate very intense beams of X-rays, of known wave-length, which will provide information about the atomic and magnetic structure of magnetic materials. The beam line has been built over the last three years by a team led by Professors Stirling and Cooper, with funding of 2.3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

"Magnetic materials are all around us." Professor Stirling said. "Computers and computer discs, body scanners and electric motors in cars are just some examples of their use today. They are likely to be used even more widely in the future, but there is still a lot that we do not understand about their properties."

Professor Malcolm Cooper, currently working at Grenoble said "The new machine in Grenoble will help us to find out more about the properties of magnetic materials at an atomic level. This will help scientists pursuing research into the fundamentals of magnetism and it will also help technologists working on the development of magnetic devices such as thin film memories for the electronics industries."

Professor Richard Brook, Chief Executive of EPSRC said: "This project is an example of EPSRC's support for very basic, fundamental science which in the long-term will add important elements to the UK's research and skills base"

The new beam line will be commissioned in September 1997. At this stage fifteen major UK universities and research institutions are planning projects for it, but access to the facility will be open to all EPSRC-funded UK researchers and will be awarded through competitive peer review.

The team of scientists on site in Grenoble are currently completing the construction of the facility, directed by Professors Stirling and Cooper. The facility will be operated by a team of four UK scientists and technicians who will be based permanently in Grenoble. The team will be supported by an administrator based at the University of Warwick and an additional technician at the University of Liverpool.

For further information please contact:

Professor Bill Stirling:
Tel 0151-794 3380/3358
fax 0151 794 3441

Professor Malcolm Cooper:
Tel 024 76 523 965 (Warwick)
00 33 476 88 2437 fax 2455 (Grenoble)

Geoff Heaford, Press Officer
Tel (01793) 444147

Link to Grenoble web pages


Further information about the above press release and all other media services at the University of Warwick can be obtained from:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
West Midlands
Tel: 024 76 523708