Welcome to Soft Condensed Matter

The Soft Condensed Matter Group provides the infrared (IR) and Circular Dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and, both Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS and WAXS) imaging capabilities of Diamond. The Soft Condensed Matter Group comprises of four beamlines B21, B22, I22 and B23 and the Offline SAXS Instrument, labSAXS (P38). This unique portfolio of beamlines can analyse a range of samples that include two-dimensional thin films (photovoltaics), living mammalian cells, three-dimensional matrices (metal-organic frameworks) and nano-particles in non-crystalline states. The Soft Condensed Matter Group maintains a dedicated laboratory space for our visiting users. The laboratory houses vital equipment for sample preparation and analysis such as a centrifuges, a small tissue-culture facility, spectroscopy equipment (including CD, standalone IR and UV spectroscopy, multi-angle and quasi-elastic light scattering) and the ability to work with different gases. Laboratory and offline instrumentation usage can be reserved through the User Administration System at any time throughout the operational year of Diamond. Since the start of 2017, both B21 and B23 now offer mail-in services for solution-state SAXS and CD measurements. labSAXS now offers the same facility for solid, liquid and gel SAXS samples.

B21 High Throughput SAXS

B21 is a bending magnet Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) beamline primarily focused on dilute solution state systems.  

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Beamsize: <75 μm
Detector: Eiger 4M
Energy: 6 - 23 keV

I22 Multipurpose SAXS/WAXS

I22 is a multifunction SAXS/WAXS beamline for the physical and life sciences. Small-angle scattering provides essential information on the structure and dynamics of large molecular assemblies in low ordered environments. Working in both transmission and grazing incidence with full and microfocus beam I22 provides a working platform for studying the full range of soft matetr systems.

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Beamsize: 60 μm x 240 μm (Main Beam, v x h) 50 x 50 to 10 x 10 μm (Microfocus)
Detector: Pilatus P3-2M(SAXS), Pilatus P3-2M-L (WAXS)
Wavelength: 0.62 - 1.77 Å
Energy: 7 - 20 keV

B22 Multimode InfraRed Imaging And Microspectroscopy

MIRIAM provides a brilliant and versatile microprobe across the whole IR range, for the highest spatial resolution of molecular structures via highest sensitivity vibrational spectroscopy in Fourier Transform IR (FTIR) mode, plus TeraHertz (THz) spectroscopy.
Multidisciplinary experiments span from ex vivo/in vitro biomedical studies to in situ/operando physical-chemical researches, geology to cultural heritage.
Since 2022, a new nanoIR endstation couples an Atomic Force Microscope to the B22 beamline and uniquely measures photothermal (AFM IR) and scattering (s-SNOM) nanospectroscopy at sub-wavelenght resolution.

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Beamsize: 15µm to 3 µm by microFTIR; resolution 10 to 100 nm by nanoIR (s-SNOM & AFM IR)
Detector: MCT, FPA, DLaTGS and Bolometer
Wavelength: 1 mm - 1 µm (10,000 to 10 cm-1)
Energy: 1 meV - 1 eV

B23 Circular Dichroism

B23 is a  life sciences, chemistry and material science beamline for investigating and observing  structural, functional and dynamic interactions in elements such as  proteins, nucleic acids, nanoparticles and chiral molecules.

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Beamsize: 0.5mm² to 2mm x 4mm
Detector: PMT
Wavelength: 125 - 650 nm
Energy: 2 - 10 eV


labSAXS is an offline SAXS instrument that compliments I22 and B21 in delivering the highest quality lab SAXS data. The Instrument will also act as a testbed for Sample Environment Development for SAXS.

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Beamsize: 200 micron
Detector: Eiger 2 R 1M (SAXS), Pilatus 3 R 100K (WAXS)
Wavelength: 0.71 & 1.35 Å
Energy: 9.2, 17.4 keV

Science Group Leader

Robert Rambo

Email: robert.rambo@diamond.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1235 56 7675

Latest Group Publications

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