Our group has been at the forefront of developing lab based X-ray diffraction equipment for may years and while our facilities and experties base has expanded greatly, we have a continuing programme of X-ray equipment development.

In the past we have developed high sensitivity digital X-ray imaging devices, including a number of CCD based opto-electronic detectors and a novel phosphor image plate. Reliable commercial versions of these detectors are now available and the group’s attention has turned to the development of specialist X-ray beamlines. These include computer-controlled beamlines for studies of liquid crystal and membrane phase behaviour as a function of temperature, hydrostatic pressure, osmotic pressure and shear. By employing ultra high efficiency toroidal X-ray optics and fast peltier heaters, we now have a lab based beamline capable of following structural evolution during temperature jump triggered phase changes.

You can find more details on each of our X-ray beamlines below.



Bede X-ray beamlineOverall Beamline Characteristics

  • SAXS / WAXS beamline
  • Typical d-spacing range 2.5-150Å
  • ~5 to 30s required for an adequately resolved image
  • Fully automated control and acquisition

Bede Microsource™ Generator

  • Low power, high flux X-ray generator
  • 80Watts
  • Dual port, Copper target with Nickel filters
  • Integrated XOS collimating polycapillary optic
  • (low divergence ~2mrad) with 100, 200 and 300mm pinholes

Photonic Science Ltd ‘Gemstar’ HS intensified CCD detector

  • 75mm input, 40mm intensifier, 1300x1030 pixel CCD
  • 100msec readout, capable of ~8 full size images every second

Custom bulit sample environment

  • Glass capillary (~1.5mm) and Teflon Spacer Sample holder
  • Peltier driven heating/cooling with pt-100 temperature sensor
  • Temperature range -20 to 110°C
  • <0.5°C calibrated accuracy with read and control accuracy of <0.1°C
  • Heating at ~50°C/min, and cooling at ~15°C/min

Hardware interfacing of stepper motors, sensors, peltiers etc through ‘Scorpion’ Electronics to the beamline PC.

In house developed software ‘Axcess’ for full beamline interfacing, image acquisition, and advanced post capture image analysis.

Lyo 2

Lyo2 is a fully digital, automated SAXS beamline Lyo 2 X-ray beamline

  • Typical d-spacing range 15-120Å
  • High power Nonius FR-591 rotating generator
  • Francks optics
  • Photonic Science Gemstar intensified CCD detector - Fast 100msec detector readout 
  • Peltier driven heating/cooling - Temperature range 0-80oC
  • Glass capillary or Teflon sample holders
  • ~ 5 min acquisition time for well-resolved diffraction pattern
  • Fully-automated variable temperature aquasition


HuberThe Huber camera is a commercial Guinier x-ray camera

  • Measurable d-spacing range 2.3-105Å
  • Continuous recording of both SAXS and WAXS patterns
  • Diffraction patters recorded on Kodak BioMax MS film
  • Line x-ray source and exposure slit - 1d diffraction patterns
  • Philips PW1140 x-ray generator - fixed anode Cu x-ray tube
  • Quartz monochromator gives precise Cu Ka1 x-rays
  • Eurotherm temperature controller
  • This is our only high temperature beam line
  • Motor speed, 0.03 to 30mm per min
  • Glass capillary sample holder accepts capillaries < 1.7mm
  • Holder for Teflon sample holders
  • Suitable for general use
  • Motorised film carrier allows progression of diffraction pattern with time or temperature to be followed


The Nanostar beamline is built around a commercial Bruker Nonius Nanostar system with our in-house developed custom sample chamber and environment. The system is optimised for high resolution capture of SAXS patterns giving access to smaller angle than any of our other beamlines.

  • Focusing mirrors and pin holes give 300 micron X-ray spot size
  • Motorised X-Z sample translation with sample heating
  • Fully evacuated, continuous sample chamber, flight tube and camera manifold
  • Multiwire detector gives real-time display of building diffraction pattern

Nanostar X-ray beamline


The Kinetics beamline is a high performance X-ray beamline, optimised for high speed acquisition of SAXS diffraction data

  • High power Nonius FR591 rotating anode X-ray generator
  • Gold toroidal optics capture and focus large solid angle of X-rays
  • High efficiency, intensified Photonic Science CCD X-ray detector
  • Fast sample heating and cooling by peltiers
  • Fully automated using in-house developed electronics interfaced to TVX control software
  • Sophisticated scripting allows time resolved temperature jump experiments

Kinetics X-ray beamline


SOL X-ray beamlineThe 'SOL' beamline is a custom built Guinier X-ray camera

  • Measureable d-spacing range 2.5-150Å
  • Continuous recording of both SAXS and WAXS patterns
  • Diffraction patterns recorded on Kodak BioMax MS film
  • Line x-ray source and exposure slit - 1d diffraction patterns
  • Philips PW1140 x-ray generator - fixed anode Cu x-ray tube
  • Quartz monochromator gives precise Cu Ka1 x-rays
  • Temperature control via Haake circulator - accessable range -20-150°C
  • Motor speed, 0.003 to 3.3mm per min
  • Sample environment accepts capillaries < 1.8mm or Teflon sample holders
  • Suitable for long temp scans and low temp work
  • In house built control hardware and software allows automation of temperature, shutter and motor control