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£3.4M for X-ray Science Research led by University of Warwick and Liverpoool

Originally published 29 May 2002

A world-leading UK research project to study the properties of new
materials has been given further funding of 3.4 M. The research on XMaS
is being led by Professor Malcolm Cooper of the University of Warwick
and Dr Chris Lucas of the University of Liverpool. The money has been
awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The grant is for the operation of the British funded X-ray Beamline (
XMaS - X-ray Magnetic Scattering) based at the European Synchrotron
Radiation Facility at Grenoble, France.

In very basic terms the synchrotron is a huge x-ray machine. These
x-rays are millions of times brighter than the ones produced in a
hospital environment for examining patients or by laboratory research
equipment. Scientists use these x-rays to investigate new combinations
of elements with unique properties. The synchrotron hosts scores of
experiments simultaneously. It has been likened to a huge microscope
that uses x-rays instead of visible light to "see" things at the atomic
and level.

This research could impact on future developments in many areas
including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, computers, catalytic converters,
batteries and large screen television displays.
"The combination of instrumentation that we have developed on XMaS
makes the facility second-to-none worldwide for atomic scale studies
ranging from the structure of novel computer storage media to the
surface reactions of catalysts and battery materials," said Professor
Cooper "with lots still to be done if materials are to be understood and
engineered to society's advantage."

"XMaS provides a unique opportunity for UK scientists to pursue
internationally-leading research at a state-of-the-art synchrotron
facility," said Dr. Chris Lucas. "The training of scientists and PhD
students will ensure UK competitiveness in the future development and
application of synchrotron radiation to study the physical properties of
new materials."

For more information contact: Professor Malcolm Cooper tel 02476 523379

Dr Chris Lucas tel 0151 794 3361 e-mail

An aerial picture of the Grenoble site is available from Jane Reck,
EPSRC Press Officer. Tel 01793 444312. E-mail:

Notes for Editors: The research on XMaS is being directed by Professor
Malcolm Cooper of the University of Warwick and Dr Chris Lucas of the
University of Liverpool. Malcolm Cooper, together with Professor Bill
Stirling (University of Liverpool), led the team that designed and built
the beamline originally in a project that they started almost one decade
ago. Professor Stirling is now the Director General of the European
Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), where XMaS was opened for
business in 1997.
"EPSRC funded both the initial construction of XMaS and its first five
years of operation" said EPSRC Physics Programme Manager Lucy Brady "The
award of this further 5 years of funding reflects the high quality
research carried out by UK researchers using the beamline and the broad
range of future scientific opportunities that XMaS will allow
researchers to explore." Over the last ten years EPSRC funding for the
beamline has amounted to eight million pounds.
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. Operating a powerful source of light in the X-ray range,
the ESRF is a large experimental facility for basic and applied research
in physics, chemistry, materials and life sciences.
XMaS is used regularly by more than 12 UK groups who, together with the
on site team, have developed it into a cutting edge facility for the
study of a range of novel materials.
For more information on XMaS
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the
largest of the United Kingdom's seven government-funded research
councils. Its mission is to support the highest quality research and
related postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences.
EPSRC aims to advance knowledge and technology and to provide trained
engineers and scientists for the benefit of the United Kingdom and the
quality of life of its citizens. It has the further role of promoting
public awareness of engineering and the physical sciences. Website
address for more information: