SCIENTISTS from Aberystwyth University are among the first to have used a pioneering new x-ray facility at one of the world’s most advanced scientific facilities.
The new VERSOX facility at the UK’s national synchrotron radiation facility in Oxfordshire was developed by a team of scientists including Professor Andrew Evans, head of the Department of Physics at Aberystwyth.
Professor Evans chairs the User Working Group of the multi-million pound VERSOX project which delivered its ‘first light’ in June 2017.
Professor Evans and colleagues from the Materials Physics research group at Aberystwyth used the new facility to study diamonds at the beginning of August.
Their work focused on nanodiamonds which measure just five nanometres across. Over a million diamonds would fit on the head of a pin.
The team are studying how these tiny diamonds supplied by diamond producer DeBeers could be used to improve the way drugs are delivered in the body for the treatment of conditions such as cancer.
Five years in its development and construction, VERSOX is part of Diamond Light Source at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.
Designed to work like a giant microscope, Diamond Light Source harnesses the power of electrons to produce bright beams of light that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines, viruses and vaccines.
VERSOX is one of a series of laboratories known as ‘beamlines’ that capture the bright light beams, giving researchers access to a machine 10,000 times more powerful than a traditional microscope.
Described as a versatile soft X-ray facility, VERSOX has been designed for the study of elements including those essential for life: carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.
Professor Evans said: “VERSOX provides a unique advanced tool for future materials development, as it allows researchers to study the atomic structures, the chemical nature and the composition of surfaces at near-ambient pressure, providing important real-world data for a wide range of materials and applications.
“The facility will be of benefit to a diverse range of scientific areas, including pharmaceuticals, electronics, environmental chemistry and heritage conservation and we are delighted that the Aberystwyth group is one of the first to use it,” he added.
Researchers at Aberystwyth University specialise in the physics of diamond surfaces and coatings with molecules, metals, insulators and graphene and also in the interaction of diamonds with light to pave the way for making new quantum structures.
Aberystwyth is one of eight partner universities to have been awarded a new Centre for Doctoral Training in Diamond Science and Technology (CDT) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The work of the CDT promises many pioneering diamond-enabled technologies and original scientific insights.
PhD students from the University are using the soft x-ray methods available through VERSOX to probe interfaces between diamond, nanodiamond and organic molecules for applications in electronics, quantum computing and drug delivery.
A world authority on diamond surfaces, Professor Evans is a guest speaker at the week-long European Materials Research Society 2017 Fall Meeting and Exhibition which opens in Warsaw Poland on Sunday (Sept 17).
Investigation into remains found at Aberaeron property continues
POLICE say the surrounding the discovery of remains of a body, at a house in Aberaeron, is ongoing.
On Monday, March 12, Dyfed-Powys Police received a report concerning the welfare of two women from the Aberaeron area.
On police attendance at the property one woman was taken to hospital, where she remains.
Searches of the property proved difficult due to the conditions inside.
On Monday, March 19, remains of a body were found.
Police believe the body had been there for some time. The complex investigation in to the circumstances is ongoing and the death is currently being treated as unexplained. H.M. Coroner has been informed but formal identification has not yet been carried out.
The second person, Mrs. Gertrude Gaynor Jones, known locally as Gaynor, currently remains outstanding and is being treated as a missing person until her whereabouts are confirmed. Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries is urged to speak to police officers in Aberaeron, either by calling 101 or visiting Aberaeron Police Station.
Sushi company nominated for national awards
A SUSHI company based in Ceredigion has been nominated for two awards.
Swshi, which was started in 2016 by Sion and Rhiannon Tansley, offers the sushi through mobile and pop-up business.
The business has been dominated in the Food Awards Wales 2018 for the Best Street Food and Takeaway of the Year categories.
The pair gained their experience with sushi from roles as head chef and senior manager for the largest sushi restaurant chain in the UK.
The pair then moved to Ceredigion and felt there was a gap in the market for high quality sushi.
Two years of Active Travel improvements worth £336,750 completed in Cardigan
WORK has recently been completed by Ceredigion County Council to widen the footway on Pont y Cleifion Road, which sees the culmination of a two year package of grant-funded Active Travel improvements in Cardigan.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Ray Quant MBE, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Technical Services said, “I’m delighted that grant funding of £294,575 has been received from the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund over the two year programme. Coupled with financial contributions also made by Ceredigion County Council and Cardigan Town Council, the total value of this package scheme amounted to £336,750 to benefit the well-being of residents of Cardigan town. Further potential improvements have been identified by Highways Officers and these will be developed next year with a view to future implementation and construction.”
During the first year, the improvements were concentrated in the vicinity of Cardigan Primary School, which saw the introduction of a new 20 mph zone with traffic calming, wider footways, upgraded crossings and a new path to the swimming pool. A new cycle shelter and two new scooter shelters were installed at the primary school to help encourage more Active Travel journeys and less car trips. This was aided further by providing two brand new scooters and helmets which the school have used for pupils to earn ‘Scooterer of the week’.
The second year saw a 20 mph zone and traffic calming implemented outside Cardigan Secondary School, again with wider footways and new raised table crossings to aid pedestrians and mobility users. A new cycle shelter was installed to encourage pupils and staff to cycle to the school. The scheme included completion of the ‘missing’ footway link to the other side of the road on Aberystwyth Road with new resurfacing which has improved pedestrian connectivity and user comfort.
A new pedestrian refuge was also installed in the carriageway to aid crossing on Aberystwyth Road. The footway on Pont y Cleifion road was previously narrow and unsuitable for pushchair or mobility users due to the lack of dropped kerb provision. However the recent construction works have brought this section of footway up to modern design standards and provides a better quality Active Travel link between the town centre and the Parc Teifi Business Park.
Councillor John Adams-Lewis, Local Member for Mwldan ward and Chair of governors for Cardigan Primary School added, “I’m pleased that Cardigan Town Council has supported these improvements financially which has resulted in a number of footway enhancements in the town, especially at both our school locations which have benefited from road safety improvements and reduced speed limits. I would also like to thank Ceredigion County Council for their financial contributions and to Highways Officers for securing this grant funding and for overseeing these high quality works.”
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