In June an invitation-only workshop was held for the groups that had submitted letters of support for the original I18 Microfocus Spectroscopy proposal and other known existing users of microfocus spectroscopy in the UK. The aim of the workshop was to let the groups know the status of the beamline and how it would operate in the first period on Diamond in 2007 and to disseminate the experience of UK users who had previously used microfocus beamlines on third generation synchrotrons, in particular with regard to some of the problems they had faced during their experiments.
The scientific presentations at the workshop were:
- I18 – yesterday, today, tomorrow, Fred Mosselmans (DLS)
- Synchrotron Studies of Environmental Carbonates - Composition and Structural State in Organized, Porous Media, Adrian Finch, Nicky Alison (University of St Andrews), Steve Sutton and Matt Newville (APS)
- Needles in haystacks: X-ray microfocus to study iron accumulations in tissue, Joanna Collingwood (University of Keele)
- X-ray absorption spectroscopy of inclusions in minerals, Andrew Berry (Imperial College, London)
Following the presentations a discussion was held in which the beamline team addressed some of the questions of the potential users and informed them more about the likely course of the first beamtime period (January – September 2007). Some of the topics that came up are listed below.
Users stressed the need to map samples in a continuous rastering mode. The beamline will be able to do this. They also said that being able to do a large map with a "big" beam (10 microns) initially was advantageous for certain samples.
Users emphasised that for samples that cannot be cut or polished flat, it was useful if the detector could be moved as near to parallel to the beam axis as possible, as then samples could be kept normal to the surface. The geometry of the beamline means the possible positions of the detector are limited but that some movement is possible.
It was asked if using the mo K edge would be possible. This is at the upper limit of the beamline energy range, thus no guarantees could be given but exploring the useful energy range was one of the tasks for commissioning.
The initial commissioning experiments will to some extent reproduce work done elsewhere to benchmark the performance of the beamline.
The first period will be a learning experience for the beamline team and the users, thus everything is not going to go perfectly first time. Hence wherever feasible allocations will be split into two slots of beamtime, so both parties have a chance to address any problems arising during the first visit.
This commissioning period will be used to put the beamline through its paces, exploring the capabilities of the beamline, thus it is hoped the experiments will cover a spread of energies, concentrations, sample environments and detectors.
In view of this and to avoid users proposing experiments that are not currently feasible, the beamline team stressed they would appreciate it if all users intending to submit a proposal for the first beamtime round discussed their requirements with the beamline scientists before submission.