The building of a 4GLS (fourth generation light source) in Daresbury, Cheshire has taken a positive step forward with the announcement today of £11.5 million in funds for an exploratory phase of the project.
This phase involves a three-year study to establish the technical know-how needed to build this scientific research facility, including the construction of a prototype test facility.
According to a statement from the Department of Trade and Industry, 4GLS would allow researchers to study molecules working in real time, follow chemical reactions as they happen, look at potential drug molecules as they interact with cells and examine the spin of electrons. The research carried out on 4GLS would reportedly help develop the next generation of computer memories, pharmaceuticals and catalysts.
‘4GLS would provide scientists with a first-class facility to conduct vital experiments in many disciplines,’ said Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister. ‘Its potential capability is unique in the world, and its capacity to combine a wide range of experiments would establish the UK as a major international player in this technology.’
The 4GLS design concept, developed by Daresbury staff, is said to be unique. Light will be produced by a combination of two new technologies, an energy recovery linac (ERL) and free electron lasers (FELs), which together result in light up to a million times more intense than that from conventional ‘third generation’ synchrotron technology. 4GLS will be the most advanced low energy light source in the world.
Separately, the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) has also announced today that it is investing £25.7 million in order to develop a science park at the Daresbury Laboratory, providing a direct link from the laboratory’s research to industry.