Using our facilities
XFEL Science Case
XFEL Physical Sciences Hub
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Ultra Facility Highlights
Ultra Facility Highlights
Creating a protein library for blood using 2D-IR at Ultra
Current protein diagnostic methods require lengthy preparation with large sample volumes, making them less accessible as a quick analytical tool. Can 2D-IR be applied to protein diagnostics and used to create a protein library for blood serum?
Unravelling the mysteries of hybrid perovskites
Hybrid perovskites, a complex material containing both an organic and inorganic part, are a promising candidate for next generation solar cells.
Cover of ACS Chemical Biology's supplementary September issue featured Ultra research into light-activated proteins
A recent publication using Ultra to investigate light-activated proteins in the BLUF domain was featured on the supplementary journal front cover of ACS Chemical Biology.
Ultra follows the journey of protons in proton conducting electrolytes
The need to store energy efficiently, cheaply and safely is a hot topic. Batteries have their pros and cons, so researching other kinds of energy storage solutions is important.
Ultra Utilised to Improve our Understanding of Catalysts
This achievement was recently highlighted in a Chemistry World news piece which details the techniques the scientists used to collect their results.
£17.2m Announced for HiLUX in UKRI’s Infrastructure Fund
HiLUX will be a major upgrade of the Central Laser Facility’s (CLF’s) ultrafast laser and infrared spectrometer infrastructure (Ultra and Artemis).
Ultra Paper Makes Front Cover of ACS Inorganic Chemistry
A publication from Ultra recently featured on the front page of the American Chemical Society Journal “Inorganic Chemistry”.
Mapping out Haemoglobin’s Binding Activity in Milliseconds
CLF researchers and collaborators get closer to understanding haemoglobin's function.
STFC’s laser scientists win prestigious new prize for sustainable catalysis research
The Royal Society of Chemistry has recognised scientists at the UK's Central Laser Facility (CLF) who worked with the University of York and Syngenta Crop Protection to develop a technique giving unprecedented insights into how catalysts work.
CLF Newsbite: How can 2D-IR be used in fuel cell research?
EPSRC Award £1.1m Grant to UEA and CLF Team to Develop Coherent Chemistry
The project will bring people and equipment together across UEA and the CLF to explore coherence in chemistry, over 2½ years. The hub for this research will the CLF's ULTRA Facility.
CLF News Bite: Developing New Light Activated Catalysts
New Family of Spectroscopic Techniques Invented at the CLF
CLF-Ultra's UKRI Fellow Dr Paul Donaldson has invented new approaches to measuring multidimensional spectra that give unique spectral fingerprints.
2020 William F. Meggers Award goes to CLF-led Spectroscopy Innovation Paper
A CLF-led team has been awarded the 2020 William F. Meggers Award from the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) for their outstanding paper published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy.
Scientists Discover a Case of Mistaken Identity in Industrial Catalysts
Zeolites are industrial catalysts and are very effective at converting methanol for the production of chemicals and fuels, especially to gasoline, aromatics or olefins.
CLF News Bite: Observing Interactions between 4 Stranded DNA and the “Light-Switch” Complex
CLF News Bite: Watching charge flow in organic semiconductors
The CLF has its First Non-COVID 19 Related User Experiment since March
As the CLF enters COVID Level 3, our first user experiment has commenced! The research, led by internal user Dr Paul Donaldson as part of his UKRI Fellowship, is focussing on the road to clean energy using the Ultra Laser Facility.
Kerr gated Raman spectroscopy Used to Characterise Lithium Ion Batteries
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have used Kerr gated Raman spectroscopy – a technique which was developed and first demonstrated in CLF in 1999 – to characterise Lithium ion batteries.
Dr Paul Donaldson
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow
Analyzing the impact of powder quality on Complex 3D Objects made by Laser Additive Manufacturing
Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM) is a process in which metallic powder is deposited in successive layers to produce components directly from digital designs enabling unparalleled design freedom.
Lasers for Science Facility & Artemis User Meeting 2019
This year’s “Lasers for Science Facility/Artemis User Meeting” ran from the 9th – 11th of April in St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Delegates gathered to discuss research from the CLF’s Octopus, Ultra and Artemis Facilities.
CLF scientist Paul Donaldson has been awarded a UKRI Fellowship: Molecular stopwatch measurements of dynamics in catalysts, battery electrolytes and ionic liquids in situ.
Paul has recently been awarded a UKRI fellowship to aid his efforts in improving the science of catalysts and batteries, in the hopes for creating a greener future in transport.
A potential new method for future blood sample analysis developed at the CLF
This week, the paper was selected for “Pick of the Week" by Chemical Science, the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Syngenta formulation scientist collaborates with CLF and University of York scientists to develop a new way of studying how catalysts work for crop protection
UCB collaborates with CLF and University of Strathclyde scientists to investigate proteins in support of drug design
Accepted into Nature Catalysis: Providing a first glimpse of the chemistry of electrocatalysis through the ‘eyes’ of a powerful surface technique
From a recent successful experiment which was noted as “sorely needed by the electrochemistry community", the CLF's Paul Donaldson, Gaia Neri and Alex Cowen (both of whom are from the University of Liverpool) made a second surprising discovery.
Breakthrough in Studying Sustainable Synthesis
Research carried out using Ultra Laser Facility by the research groups of Professor Ian Fairlamb and Dr Jason Lynam have developed a new method to probe chemical catalysts in a collaboration with CLF and leading agriculture company Syngenta.
Results from experiment on Ultra into analysing surface interfaces of an electrochemical reaction received as “Sorely needed by the electrochemistry community.”
Starting in the era of Michael Faraday in the 19th century, people have long known that if there is a voltage on a metal surface and you place a solution of molecules above it, you can alter the molecules in a process called electrochemistry.
Illuminating the mechanism of photoactivation of a prototypical fluorescent protein
Using time resolved infrared spectroscopy; scientists have unravelled with great accuracy the extremely fast structure changes that occur in a photochromic fluorescent protein as it switches from its dark (off) to light (on) state.
From Western Cape to Great Western: South African PhD student Cathrine Pfukwa wins award for experiment with ancient antibiotic here at the CLF
Only 2 years into her PhD, Cathrine has already made huge strides in this exciting, cutting-edge project, which has particular importance in our current climate where more and more bacteria, funguses and viruses are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
ULTRA study could facilitate large-scale screening tests of drugs using 2D-IR spectroscopy
A team of scientists from the University of Strathclyde have used the CLF’s Lifetime laser to retrieve sequence-specific information about DNA-ligand binding.
The art of decoding: SORS spin-off acts as a tool for investigation of heterogeneous painted systems
Micro-Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, a recently developed technique, has been used for the non-destructive chemical characterisation of stratified paint samples.
A tough nut to crack: Using Raman spectroscopy to test the quality of coconut cream
The CLF has been very cultured this month with an experiment into the feasibility of using Raman spectroscopy on coconut cream which will be used to make yogurt.
Changes in Secondary Structure of Key Calcium Binding Protein Quantified at CLF
Scientists from the University of Strathclyde, UCB Pharma and STFC’s Central Laser Facility have used 2D-IR spectroscopy to quantify changes in the secondary structure of the multifunctional calcium-binding messenger protein Calmodulin (CaM).
Artemis and Research Complex User Meeting 2017
Tuesday 5th September saw the beginning of the LSF and Artemis user meeting, made particularly pertinent by the future plans to move Artemis to join Ultra and Octopus in the Research Complex.
CLF Scientist and STFC Senior Fellow honoured by the Royal Academy of Engineering
We are delighted to announce that Pavel Matousek, Chief Scientific Officer of Cobalt Light Systems Ltd and STFC Senior Fellow, has been named as one of this year’s 50 people to receive a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship
CLF Spin-off Company Cobalt Bought by U.S Tech Giant, Agilent Technologies
We are pleased to announce that Cobalt, a spinoff company which originated in the CLF, and which markets technology using Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS), has been acquired by Agilent Technologies, a U.S. company.
Ultra Demonstrates Sign-posting for Electrons in Photochemistry
Using the Ultra facility at the CLF, Sheffield scientists Dr Anthony Meijer and Professor Julia Weinstein, have published new research that takes an important step forward in advancing the techniques used in creating molecular devices.
New technique offers a window into light-activated therapies
Researchers using Ultra have observed how a light-activated compound alters the structure of DNA – which could be the first step in creating new, targeted cancer treatments. The results are published in Nature Chemistry
CLF spin-out announced as one of Britains most exciting technology companies
CLF spin-out Cobalt Light Systems has won Innovate UK’s inaugural Innovation Award for its scanning technology that detects the chemical contents of passengers’ unopened containers to prevent potentially explosive materials being smuggled onto aircraft
New laser promises LIFEtime of biology breakthroughs thanks to big data computing
Chemistry in a trillionth of a second
Chemists at the University of Bristol and Heriot-Watt University have used Ultra to follow chemical reactions in liquids with unprecedented, atomically resolved detail on sub-picosecond timescales – matching the time intervals between molecular collisions
Article published in Science featuring results from CLFs Ultra system on using IR pulses to control chemistry
Results published in Science today report on the elementary reaction of electron transfer and how Ultra’s lasers have been used to direct the outcome of light-induced processes - those operating via charge transport, which is fundamental to almost all lig
Study of rickets in 16th century sailors could aid detection of the disease today
New laser technology investigates bones of sailors who perished on Henry VIII’s ship.
Artificial photosynthesis work gets front cover for Ultra
Experiments on Ultra on a new transition metal complex of possible importance for our understanding of artificial photosynthesis feature on the front cover of the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
CLFs Ultra lasers help to understand how plastic solar panels work
A paper published in Nature Communications this week describes how the CLFs femtosecond Raman spectroscopy lasers have been used to reveal chemistry at work in plastic solar panels.
Lasers provide a new way to analyse priceless art without damage
CLF scientists, working on an international project to conserve precious works of art, have found a new way to analyse paintings without having to remove even a tiny speck of the paint to inspect the layers below.
CLF awarded 1.5 million BBSRC funding
Two grants announced today by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) totalling £1.5 million have been awarded to the Central Laser Facilitys ULTRA and OCTOPUS facilities, situated in the Research Complex at Harwell.
Shining a light on protein dynamics says Journal of the American Chemical Society
The CLFs recently developed TRMPS (time-resolved multiple probe spectroscopy) system has been used to study the underlying structural dynamics of the protein domain responsible for organisms that move towards a source of light.
CLF science featured on cover of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Results obtained using the CLFs Ultra facility reveal molecules in motion and appear on the cover of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
Cobalts bottled liquid screener is elevated to the highest performance level
CLF’s spinout company Cobalt Light Systems has achieved the highest level of certification for its bottled liquid screener Insight100 for European airports.
Laser based breast cancer diagnosis technique to be tested on human breast tissue for the first time
A technique developed at the CLF that could take away the anxious wait by patients for breast cancer results by removing the need for a needle biopsy is to have its performance evaluated for the first time, on breast tissue and lymph nodes.
Artificial photosynthesis research featured on journal front cover
Inorganic Chemistry Journal has chosen an article featuring results obtained on the CLF’s advanced laser spectroscopy facility, ULTRA, for the front cover of one of its latest issues.
Results From ULTRA Make Editors Choice
A study of the dynamics involved in the real-time formation of bonds in the solution phase has been highlighted as ground-breaking research by the editors of the Journal of Chemical Physics....
New scanner allows liquids back into aircraft cabin baggage
Raman imaging goes deeper
A team comprising researchers from the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Strathclyde University and CLF have developed a new technique, SESORS, for non-invasive spectroscopy of translucent samples.....
Sugar boost for scientists planning ahead for future medicines
Scientists continuing to investigate a 50 year mystery have discovered another vital clue that could help pave the way for improved medicines...
Double dose of laser results could lead to improved medicines
New technology offers prospect of better bone disease diagnosis
Laser Loan Pool
The EPSRC Laser Loan Pool was established in 1985 and ran until 2015.
STFC Press Release: Application of innovative laser research could lead to earlier bone disorder diagnosis
A new laser technique that could lead to bone disorders being diagnosed earlier is to be tested in a hospital for the first time.