Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Milestone for Artemis Upgrade
28 Sep 2021
- Helen Towrie



A major milestone was achieved for the Artemis Laser Facility last Friday (17th September) when the engineering phase of the upgrade project was officially completed.




​This momentous occasion was celebrated with food, drinks, tours, and a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Prof. John Collier.


(Director of the CLF Prof John Collier cuts the ribbon)

The commemoration marked an exciting step forward for the Central Laser Facility (CLF) and the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH).  The new laboratories double Artemis's floor space​, and enable it to host a new 100 kHz laser with 10x the energy efficiency of its predecessor and a new vacuum beamline.

The upgrade, which is a joint-project between the Artemis and Ultra teams, began in 2018 with a nail-biting journey on a forklift from Artemis' original residence on the South-West side of Campus to its new home in the Research Complex.

2.png(Scientist and technicians carefully relocate Artemis to the Research Complex in 2018)


As well as upgrading and recommissioning Artemis's 1 kHz laser and vacuum beamlines, CLF engineers set out to design and build a third beamline to exploit the much higher repetition rate of the new laser system in a wider range of experiments. With the beamline engineering just completed, scientists will embark on setting it up with the laser ready for user and industry experiments.

Simon Spurdle, who was the lead design engineer for the Artemis upgrade project, said:

“I was very happy to be asked to manage the engineering phase of this project.

The planning of the lab was critical, every amount of space had to be well utilized. The vacuum pumps needed to be housed outside to reduce noise, an extra plant room was required and much thought had to be given to the routing of the vacuum lines and other services.

The overhead gantry system was designed to support the vacuum lines and other services while allowing complete access to both sides of the experimental beamlines.

Other challenges included a requirement for a new generation of beamline shutters, a folding light-tight partition for dividing the main lab into two interlocked sections, a crane that had to be recessed into the suspended ceiling and a whole new air conditioning system."

3.png(Interim Engineering & Technology Group leader Steve Blake and Technician Phil Rice checking out Artemis' plant room)


Moving Artemis to the Research Complex came with many benefits, including not only the added collaboration between its sister laser, Ultra, which has been in the Research Complex for over a decade, but also the collaborative atmosphere of the Research Complex itself. The Research Complex houses many different research groups that the CLF collaborate with, including the Catalysis Hub and x-ray imaging group, .

Artemis is versatile in its applications, covering materials science, imaging (for example: its biology focussed Alzheimer's research) and Chemistry experiments.

As part of the deal to move Artemis to the Research Complex, the CLF commissioned an extension onto the building to allow for more space for labs.

Artemis Group Leader, Dr Emma Springate, said,

“I'm really excited to be starting the scientific phase of this project, in these wonderful new labs in the Research Complex. The new lab-space and beamlines look amazing and perform really well. The new vacuum system for the beamlines is really quiet, and we can control everything smoothly from touchscreens. It's going to make such a difference to how effectively we can work. I'm really impressed with what our engineers and technicians have done."

We at the CLF would like to thank all the engineers and technicians who put the incredible work in to complete this upgrade. We are very excited to see the future experiments, discoveries, partnerships and collaborations Artemis will bring.

4.png(Scientists and technicians toast together at the celebration)

​Learn more about the Artemis upgrade project here.

Image credits: STFC

Contact: Towrie, Helen (STFC,RAL,CLF)