At the beginning of lockdown, the CLF preserved only a skeleton crew of staff needed to maintain the labs, as well as a very small team working on rapid response COVID 19 research and those helping out with the Ventilator Challenge UK initiative.
However, as time has progressed and safety procedures have been organised and established to allow for a higher capacity of people (30%), we have been able to welcome our first non-COVID related experiment since early March.
Dr Paul Donaldson and his team have the benefit of being internal users, meaning that they have a strong familiarity with the Ultra Facility:
“It's been a special week for Ultra," Paul said. “We resumed our user programme this week by starting experiments that I originally had scheduled in April. The research is looking at chemistry in Catalysts as part of my FLF fellowship programme."
Paul's fellowship was awarded for his research in improving our knowledge of catalysts and batteries with the aim of paving the way to greener transport. The partnership with UKRI has allowed him and his team to keep moving forward with this important research – though hindered initially by lockdown.
On top of getting their experiment back on track, the team at Ultra are just happy to be back in the lab!
Paul said, “Greg has done some amazing work making our spectrometer work better than before. Meanwhile Gabriel and Igor have been preparing for their user experiments in the upcoming weeks. It was also postdoc Yun Long's first week in the Ultra labs. She is working with me on my science programme and getting stuck in helping with the current experiments. She started in April and has had to wait until now to actually come into the lab!"
This experiment has been going well for the past couple of weeks and supports the CLF's plans to restart other user experiments at the beginning of August.