Science and Technology Facilities Council
Government backs pioneering 3D x-ray technology to capture images of diseased bones in 40 seconds
A new advanced imaging centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory will receive £81million of UK government support, housing super-bright lasers to produce state-of-the-art 3D X-rays in just 40 seconds.
This will help speed up the development of new medical treatments, bring down the cost of manufacturing and identify design improvements.
This innovative technology will be available to UK businesses at the new Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC). This technology has the potential to expand our understanding of a range of challenges across pharmaceuticals, aerospace, batteries for electric vehicles or even artificial organs – boosting the UK’s manufacturing sector.
These new technologies will be able to speed up the development of new treatments. For example, high resolution 3D imaging of a diseased bone with existing technology can take hours or days: the new systems will produce detailed 3D X-rays in just 40 seconds.
Opening in 2024 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell, Oxfordshire, the new centre will provide opportunities for industrial and scientific industries to exploit its world-leading capabilities.
EPAC will rely on laser technology developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) world-leading Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, which ranges from advanced compact tuneable lasers which can pinpoint individual particles to high power lasers that recreate the conditions inside stars. Its wide-ranging applications include accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and biophysical process critical to life itself.
This investment in UK science came as the UN yesterday marked International Women and Girls in Science Day which aims to encourage women and girls to pursue a career and subjects relating to science and technology.
The new national research centre will build on the work undertaken by 2018 Physics Nobel Prize Winner, and third woman in history to receive this accolade, Donna Strickland – alongside Arthur Ashkin and Gerard Mourou. Her work to develop high-intensity, ultrashort pulses of light beams transformed whole sectors including medicine technology and is now a common technique in laser surgery, among other disciplines.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore yesterday said:
“Today’s launch of the £81m advanced imaging centre will enhance the UK’s leading role in laser technology and will help to revolutionise medical imaging.
“I’m especially delighted to be launching the centre with Physics Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland – only the third woman in history to achieve this award – on International Day of Women and Girls in Science.”
Physics Nobel Prize Winner Donna Strickland yesterday said:
“Science education helps develop skills in problem solving and critical thinking necessary to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. When we encourage girls and women to engage with science, they bring more diversity to science and fresh perspectives that can only help in finding innovative solutions.”
Professor John Collier, Director of the UK’s Central Laser Facility, yesterday said:
“Laser driven radiation sources have the potential to be genuinely disruptive, impacting on existing markets and enabling new applications in new areas that previously would not have been possible. EPAC, through the work of the team of scientists and engineers at CLF and our colleagues in academia, will enable the UK to realise this potential by bringing together the wider science, community in a diverse programme of fundamental and applied research.”
Notes to editors
Funding is provided through the Government’s Strategic Priorities Fund (£71.5 million), with additional investment of £10 million from the Ministry of Defence, and forms part of the commitment to significantly boost research and development funding across every part of the UK.
About the Strategic Priorities Fund:
The £830million Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) supports high quality multidisciplinary research and development priorities and is delivered through UK Research and Innovation.
Latest News from
Science and Technology Facilities Council
STFC scientists design instrument to understand dark matter18/01/2021 13:05:00
Scientists will design quantum technology to accelerate searches for dark matter and gravitational waves.
Catalogue of the sky glimpses 700 million astronomical objects15/01/2021 13:05:00
Scientists from across the world have catalogued almost 700 million astronomical objects in the most detailed survey ever taken of the dark sky.
Quantum projects launched to solve the universe’s mysteries13/01/2021 13:05:00
Researchers will use cutting-edge quantum technologies to transform our understanding of the universe, answering key questions around dark matter and black holes.
Scientists on a mission to monitor climate change22/12/2020 13:05:00
Science and Technology Facilites Council (STFC) is taking on the challenge of monitoring climate change by delivering two contributions to Earth observation missions.
United Kingdom ratifies SKA Observatory Convention17/12/2020 13:05:00
The UK, home to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Global Headquarters, has ratified the convention to establish the SKA Observatory (SKAO).
New study shows passion for science among disadvantaged pupils16/12/2020 09:33:00
STFC and University of Central Lancashire share findings of a project to improve student engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
UK scientists to produce high-performance ventilators at low cost14/12/2020 12:05:00
UK scientists have been awarded funding to develop a robust, low-cost ventilator to help patients in low and middle-income countries suffering from severe respiratory problems due to COVID-19.
STFC to build a new sensor for tracking extreme weather08/12/2020 13:05:00
Scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have been granted government funding to develop a first-of-its-kind climate monitoring instrument.