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Diamond Synchrotron

PROJECT OF THE DECADE

While all of the projects featured in this list excel one way or another through their use of state-of-the-art technology, none of them can quite match up to the kit on show at the Diamond Synchrotron in Oxfordshire.

Built by Costain, the synchrotron is the largest ever DTi-led investment project for the UK's scientific community. Its doughnutshaped ring design is home to equipment capable of generating pure beams of infrared and ultraviolet light, used by scientists to carry out an array of leading-edge experiments on the structure of matter.

Such is the precise nature of these tests that the synchrotron building itself must be built to a degree of accuracy unheard of on most construction projects.

The whole building is founded on a complex system of piles with a void below the experimental floor preventing any transfer of forces caused by movement in the ground.

High-density concrete was also used to reduce the thickness of the radiation shielding required for the beamlines, drastically reducing the required size, and therefore cost, of the project.

The M&E requirements for the scheme were every bit as rigorous to ensure a consistent internal environment in the laboratories. Costain completed work in this summer and the synchrotron will open in early 2007.