Our facilities allow scientists to simulate several decades of in-service exposure in an operating environment, providing important data for lifetime behaviour predictions and models.
Visiting researchers have support from our experimental team as well as access to analytical and inspection laboratories, meeting rooms and hot desks in our research office.
We are part of the National Nuclear User Facility, part of the HM Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy enabling greater accessibility to world leading technologies as a collaborative effort from four complimentary hubs within the UK: the Central Laboratory of the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the Dalton Cumbrian Facility (part of The University of Manchester) and the University of Lancaster.
We are also part of the EPSRC UK National Ion Beam Centre (subject to contract), providing a single point of access for the UK research community to world-leading ion beam modification and analysis infrastructure.
We welcome academic and commercial users from the UK and overseas.
We publish calls for proposals quarterly and allocate beam time in advance. Please register by contacting Dalton Cumbrian Facility if you would like to be included in call notifications.
Proposals are panel-assessed and for the best chance of a successful application we would expect you to contact us for an informal discussion prior to submitting a proposal.
The following process applies:
- User contacts Dalton Cumbrian Facility for informal discussion
- Experimental activity is outlined and agreed informally, subject to final confirmations
- User submits proposal form (below) to Dalton Cumbrian Facility
- Proposal undergoes technical evaulation at Dalton Cumbrian Facility
- Proposal undergoes scientific review and proritisation
- Facility time is allocated, subject to availability
- Experimental activity is scheduled
The proposal can be rejected at any point in this process. Informal discussion at the earliest stage is therefore advised.
From January 2017, EPSRC grant-holders will be eligible to apply for access via the UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC) framework.*
UKNIBC projects fall into one of four eligible categories. Eligible proposals are validated by the UKNIBC Director.
- Existing EPSRC grants
- New EPSRC grants
- EPSRC studentships
- Pump priming (projects with no current EPSRC support but where a limited amount of pump priming time is expected to generate results which can be used in new bids for EPSRC funding)
Please contact Dalton Cumbrian Facility to initiate the discussion.
*Subject to contractual arrangement
We allocate irradiation slots one month at a time, one month in advance. However, it is best to contact us as early as possible to discuss your requirements. We reserve a fixed percentage of time each month for commercial work with the remainder for academic projects. Occasionally there may be short notice slots available. We welcome projects from a variety of fields; this equipment is not reserved exclusively for nuclear sector research. For example, we have undertaken a number of biological projects in recent months. Please contact Dalton Cumbrian Facility for further guidance.
Equipment charges are determined on a sliding scale according to how your organisation and research is classified, from fully collaborative university research to purely commercial work. Please contact us for details.
If you intend to include use of our equipment in a grant proposal, please contact us prior to submitting the bid. We would aim to support your submission by providing charging information and discussing capability, feasibility, timescale, initial pilot studies, potential collaborations and challenges to consider.
Our 5MV and 2.5MV Pelletron Ion Accelerators are available for use by academic institutions and industry.
EPSRC UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC)
Our accelerator systems are part of the EPSRC UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC)*, providing a single point of access for the UK research community to world-leading ion beam modification and analysis infrastructure and expertise.
An integral part of the EPSRC portfolio, the UK NIBC is a collaborative delivery partnership between The University of Huddersfield, The University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility and The University of Surrey.
By providing a focus for national and international leadership in the area of ion beam modification and analysis, the UK NIBC will guide the research agenda, support research excellence and drive technology development and capability, upholding the UK’s position at the forefront of the global research community.
EPSRC funded students, post-doctoral researchers and academic researchers will have clear, fair and transparent access to the UK’s multi-site network of ion beam modification and analysis capability, including pre and post processing facilities, simulation, modelling and analysis tools and complementary technical capability.The UK NIBC provides a full service including comprehensive user training, technical and scientific support. Benefits will be felt by research institutions across the UK, particularly where cost or logistical considerations have historically prevented access to ion beam capability. We also aim to provide capacity for additional discretionary studies where appropriate.
Please see Booking our facilities (above) for access arrangements.
*Subject to final contractual arrangements
Our Cobalt-60 gamma irradiator lets researchers understand the mechanistic effects of gamma radiation on exposed materials. It is designed specifically to support a wide range of nuclear research applications as well as research in other fields.
- Capable of supplying absorbed dose rates from 4 Gy/min up to 450 Gy/min
- Experimental flexibility enabled by a large 9 litre sample chamber incorporating a range of sample configuration
- Two 19mm access ports with scatter shields to accommodate flexible wiring and pipework in experimental designs.Other irradiation facilities include a controlled atmosphere chamber with low energy electron gun and laser induced fluorescence detection
Dalton Cumbrian Facility provides fully equipped analytical and post-irradiation examination laboratories to closely examine the impacts of radiation exposure.
Our equipment can be used to measure gas production, analyse ions in solution, measure polymers and other organics, determine macromolecular weight distributions, perform isotopic analysis and a wide range of other measurements to analyse the molecular structure and surfaces of materials and samples.
Analytical techniques available include:
- Field emission gun environmental scanning electron microscopy
- FT IR & IR Raman spectroscopy
- Raman microscopy
- Gas and ion chromatography and HPLC
- Absorption, reflectance and fluorescence spectrometry
- Surface area and pore size analysis (BET method)
Through our partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the National Nuclear Laboratory we have an agreement covering academic access to the National Nuclear Laboratory’s Central Laboratory, on the Sellafield site.
Central Laboratory is capable of handling uranium, plutonium and other highly radioactive materials, including nuclear waste.
Key facilities at the Central Laboratory:
- Highly active alpha/beta/gamma cells (awaiting active commissioning)
- Active laboratories for plutonium
- Low active and inactive laboratories
- A uranium active rig-hall
- A non-active rig-hall incorporating vitrification test rig
- The supporting infrastructure and workshop space for over 300 technologists
- Variety of electron microscopes and mass spectrometry systems
Example areas of research focus:
- Oxide and metal fuel reprocessing
- High-level waste vitrification
- Intermediate level waste treatment and storage
- Mixed oxide fuel production
- Decontamination and decommissioning