The system will investigate issues ranging from nuclear technology and nanoparticles to semiconductors and the effects of radiation exposure on materials in space.
Based at Huddersfield, and now officially linked to the UK National Ion Beam Centre, the Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations – MIAMI-2 – is one of only three in Europe, apparently.
“MIAMI-1” was designed and built by Professor Steve Donnelly, the University’s Dean of Computing and Engineering, Professor Jaap van den Berg of the International Institute for Accelerator Applications and Dr Jonathan Hinks, a Reader in Radiation Damage in Materials at the University.
The EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), however, awarded £3.5 million for the development and construction of MIAMI-2, which has required the construction of a new storey at the laboratory complex in which it is housed.
Built in collaboration with Bruker, Hitachi, Gatan and National Electrostatics Corporation will actually officially launch later in the year, but it is now operational and being used for experiments.
“With MIAMI-1, we have always had the core ability to observe radiation damage as it is happening, but now we have additional capabilities in terms of the analytical techniques. We can irradiate, observe and analyse all at the same time generating a huge volume of invaluable scientific data in a very efficient manner” said Dr Hinks.
With the development, the University of Huddersfield has become one of the three UK universities to form the UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC), again funded by EPSRC, to the tune of £8.8 million. The other UK institutions are the University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility and the University of Surrey.
“Currently, our largest area of activity is nuclear materials, with large projects and international collaborations on both structural materials for reactors and solutions for waste storage. However, our group has historically worked with semiconductors, and among the range of projects in which we are currently engaged we have two PhD students working on nanowires and other types of nanoparticles,” said Dr Hinks.
“We also have an interest in materials that have been in space or which are going into space, to understand the radiation they experience, and also develop a greater understanding of the history of the cosmos.”