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05 Feb 07. ‘Super-scope’ opens for business. The biggest science facility to be built in the UK for 30 years – the Diamond Light Source synchrotron – has opened its doors for business. The vast machine, which covers the area of five football pitches, generates intense light beams to probe matter down to the molecular and atomic scale. The South Oxfordshire-based facility will be used by many fields, including medicine and environmental science. Researchers have now commenced their experiments at its “beamline” stations. Gerhard Materlik, chief executive of Diamond, said: “The first users possess an extensive knowledge of synchrotron science and bring a range of research projects to Diamond, from cancer research, to advancing data storage techniques, to unravelling the mysteries of the Solar System.” Within the machine, which is sometimes described as a “super microscope”, electrons are accelerated into a thin, doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber, which measures 562.6m (1,846ft) in circumference. As the particles whizz around and around, almost reaching the speed of light, they lose energy in the form of synchrotron light. Electrons fired into straight accelerator, or linac Boosted in small synchrotron and injected into storage ring. Magnets in large ring bend and focus electrons accelerated to near light-speeds. Energy lost emerges down beamlines as highly focused light at X-ray wavelengths. This intense light, which falls in the range of x-ray, ultra-violet and infra-red, is then channelled off into beamlines, where it passes through samples of material, probing deep into their fine-structure. On completion of phase one of its construction, Diamond has seven beamlines, each designed to carry out different kinds of experiments. Professor Chris Binns, a physicist from the University of Leicester and one of the first researchers to use the facility, said: “We are looking at methods for making new high-performance magnetic materials for the future by assembling nanoparticles. “The problem is, to understand them, we need to understand the magnetic structure at nanometre scales. The beamline we have been using for the last six days has a special microscope that can image magnetic structures at these very small scales.” His work, he said, was key to storing greater amounts of data on ever-shrinking devices. Other beamlines are dedicated to studying materials under intense pressure; looking at the chemical make-up of complex materials, such as moon rocks and other geological samples; and understanding diverse biological samples. (Source: BBC)

Feb 07. Goodyear Inflatoplane. In 1956, Goodyear Aircraft Co. came up with an innovative, inflatable airplane, intended for use by the military. As a rescue plane, it could be dropped behind enemy lines near downed pilots who would inflate the craft and fly to friendlier territory. (Source: Smithsonian)

Feb 07. RFD Beaufort Limited is displaying its new flame retardant Cold Weather flying suit for the first time in India, at Aero India, Bangalore, 7-11 February 2007. This new, hi-tech ensemble is the successor to the RFD Beaufort equipment currently in service in India today. Specifically designed for aircrew operating at high altitude or in extremely cold environments, the Cold Weather flying suit is designed to offer thermal protection without restriction to movement or comfort.

06 Feb 07. Liberty Aerospace, Inc. has once again received official notification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extending the fatigue certification of the XL2 to 5,000 flight hours. The fatigue extension is being awarded based on a continuing testing program at the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) in Wichita, Kansas. The testing protocol, a collaborative effort of Liberty engineers, Wichita State University and the FAA, has been taking place in NIAR’s Full-Scale Structural Testing Lab where mechanical

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