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X-Ray Laboratories

Academic Staff Member

Prof. S.A.T. Redfern

Principal Technician

Mr Martin Walker


Tony Abraham

Radiation Protection Officer

Prof. S.A.T. Redfern

Radiation Protection Supervisor

Tony Abraham


North Wing - Ground Floor
Rooms 1, 3, and 6
East Wing Room N029

All users must register with A. Abraham for x-ray use and fill in the Risk Assessment for the x-ray lab before beginning work.

The general-purpose diffractometer (Unit L) is fitted with full safety interlocks.

  • It is your responsibility to check and double-check that the X-ray windows are closed before you open a cabinet.
  • If in doubt do not open a cabinet.
  • Warning lights operate on all units. Any failure must be reported immediately to Tony Abraham or, if he is not available, to a designated person.
  • Any other fault or problem must be reported immediately to Tony Abraham or, if he is not available, to another designated person.

X-Ray Laboratories: Safety Rules

The laboratories are equipped for the X-ray analysis of single crystals and powders. Some instruments are dedicated to the investigation of structural phase transitions. This type of work requires the utmost care in the alignment of the sample and control of the thermal conditions over long time periods. As several experiments may be performed using the same generator, any interference between different experimental equipment must be avoided.

In general, the technical staff will undertake work for academic staff and senior research workers, and other members with small projects. Members wishing to use the facilities themselves must obtain authorisation from the Head of Section. In order to fulfil safety regulations they must:

  1. Attend an approved course on X-ray Diffraction Procedures, or satisfy the Head of Section that they have previously attended such a course and are fully familiar with the techniques they wish to use
  2. Read the appropriate chapter (No.6) in the "Precautions to be observed in the use of radioactive materials and machines which produce ionising Radiations in the laboratories of the University" (available from Tony Abraham)
  3. Understand the operating and emergency procedures for using the equipment and sign the book agreeing to abide by the code of practice.
  4. Satisfy Head of Section and/or Tony Abraham that they are fully competent to use the equipment.
  5. If working for a prolonged period in the X-ray laboratory, wear a radiation protection badge when working in the laboratory (Tony Abraham will arrange this).
  6. If handling radioactive samples, be aware of the relevant regulations (see Appendix 4).

Only designated staff may align a camera or diffractometer or switch on an X-ray generator. Any malfunctioning of the equipment must be reported to Martin Walker or Tony Abraham as soon as possible; no attempt should be made to rectify the fault. Any accident must be reported to Professor Redfern as soon as possible. Undergraduates may only use the equipment during working hours and when a technician or a demonstrator is present in the laboratory.

Special Precautions

X-ray equipment is potentially hazardous and the utmost care must be taken in its use.

X-Ray Laboratories: Alignment and Adjustment of X-Ray Equipment

Only the people listed on the notice 'Aligning and adjusting the X-ray equipment: Designated persons in the X-ray laboratory' are allowed to align or adjust the X-ray equipment. Others must report any mis-alignment to Tony Abraham or, if he is not available, to a person listed on the notice under the appropriate equipment. In the event of fire, accident or other emergency all equipment should be switched off and isolated at the mains. However, do not jeopardise your own safety in so doing.

Alignment may only be carried out during the normal working hours of the Department. Lead glass spectacles are available. When aligning equipment:

  • warn all those working nearby and, if necessary, ask them to leave the area until the alignment is finished
  • personal monitors (film badges) must be worn
  • always double check that the X-ray shutters are open/closed
  • check frequently for any scattered radiation using a portable monitor
  • keep to a minimum any operations performed with the X-ray window open; many mechanical procedures can be carried out with the shutters closed
  • whenever possible work with reduced kV and mA
  • use the smallest possible beam size
  • whenever possible use screens; never allow the beam to emerge from the cabinet
  • always work from behind the X-ray tube shield looking away from the source of the beam
  • observe the image on a fluorescent screen; do not look directly at the X-ray beam
  • hold the fluorescent screen by the end of its handle and keep your hands as far away from the beam as possible
  • if you stop the alignment procedure, either temporarily or at its completion, leave the equipment in a safe state (shutters closed, kV and mA turned down, etc.)
  • if the equipment is left when it is not ready for normal use, post a notice to that effect on the machine.

X-Ray Laboratories and Isotope Geochemistry: Local Rules for Working with Small Natural Radioactive Samples

The principal hazards with small samples of natural radioactive compounds are:

  1. inhalation; and
  2. ingestion.


  1. do not eat, drink, or smoke whilst you are handling radioactive samples
  2. keep samples in sealed containers opening them only when a sample is needed
  3. always wear disposable gloves when handling specimens
  4. use wet methods whenever possible (e.g. for grinding); if wet methods are unsuitable use a fume cupboard
  5. clean the bench area after use with damp cloths
  6. dispose of cloths and gloves in a plastic bag after use
  7. wash your hands.

X-Ray Laboratories: Designated Users

Clay minerals group diffractometer:
Guinier system:
High temperature diffraction:
Microanalysis suite:
Powder camera:
Single crystal cameras:
High pressure:
Prof. E. Salje C G G S H T M S P C S C H P
Mr. A. Abraham C G G S H T M S P C S C H P
Dr A. Buckley* C G G S H T M S P C S C H P
Prof. M. Carpenter   G S H T     S C  
Dr. R. Harrison C G G S H T M S P C S C H P
Hui Qun     H T M S   S C  
Dr. C. Jeans C G       P C    
Dr. S. Redfern C G G S H T M S P C S C  

*Work on computer interfaces only.


X-Ray Laboratories: Alignment and Adjustment (Designated Persons)

East and North wing labs Prof. E. Salje All equipment/ All Labs.
Mr. A. Abraham All equipment/ All Labs.
In micro analysis room Dr. R. Harrison All equipment/ All Labs.
East and North wing labs Dr. S. Redfern All equipment/ All Labs.