Britain's national synchrotron facility, the Diamond Light Source, announced that it will be starting a new lab in order conduct detailed study of atomic and molecular structures of dangerous viruses and bacteria, including those that cause AIDS and Hepatitis.
The facility, which includes a super microscope, was opened at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxford by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 and is only one of the two facilities in the world.
The microscope works by accelerating electrons to near light-speed which generates highly intense pin-point beams of light which range from X-rays to ultra-violet and infrared. The new facility will be named as Crystal and will handle the Containment Level 3 pathogens which cause serious illness and death and for which treatments exist.
"Crystal provides unique facilities in Europe for the study of serious viruses. Nowhere in the world can structures be so readily solved with the speed and efficiency that is now available at Diamond. It great news for the UK research community, as the facility will be a resource with the potential to provide new pathways for treatment", the Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source, Dave Stuart said.