Chosen to supply safety-critical boards

Stevenage-based contract electronics manufacturer, Printed Systems, has supplied a series of safety-critical printed circuit boards for the control system at the 370 million Diamond Light Source synchrotron at Chilton in Oxfordshire. Housed in a striking doughnut-shaped building over half a kilometre in circumference, the Diamond synchrotron is due to start operating in January 2007 and will enable scientists and engineers to delve deep into the basic structure of matter and materials, leading to breakthroughs in fields such as superconductivity, nanoscale electrical and mechanical engineering, biotechnology and environmental science.

The synchrotron is designed to generate X-ray, ultra-violet and infra-red beams of exceptional quality and brightness by accelerating electrons at nearly the speed of light through a strong magnetic field.

Accurate positioning of the electron beam is critical for safe and successful operation and is achieved through constant monitoring by a VME-based machine protection system, which consists of some 1,500 sensors feeding positional data via 60 PSL-manufactured transmitter boards back to a central control point.

PSLs managing director, Stuart Gorman, said: Diamond Light Source represents the largest UK scientific investment for 30-years and we are delighted to have been recognised as a supplier that offers the quality and reliability needed to produce boards of such critical functionality.

In addition to the transmitter boards installed in the control instrumentation areas (CIAs) around the synchrotron, PSL also supplied eight receiver boards for the central control system. All were multilayer hybrid PCBs, equipped with fibre-optic connectors.