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Construction Work starts on Ultra-Low Vibration Lab

Building work for a new research facility has recently started at the School. What had been a small car park at the back of the building is the site of a new ultra-low vibration lab Large pits are being dug into the ground to allow the use of passive and active vibration isolation techniques to produce a suite of labs that are as isolated from disturbance from the environment as possible.

Dr Peter Wahl's research work looks at the behaviour of electrons near surfaces of solids. He does this by using techniques that allow him to "see" individual atoms in a surface, and the densities of electrons around them. This in done in very high vacuum, at very low temperatures, and in very strong magnetic fields. A better understanding of the way that electrons move together in certain materials may have major impacts on our ability to design and use superconducting materials. Dr Wahl has developed world-leading equipment for these studies in his previous base at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart.

Dr Wahl says "This facility will provide an ultra-low vibration environment for the custom-built microscopes developed in my group, which allow us to study electronic and magnetic states at the atomic scale. It will be a unique building in the UK and seeks its equals in the world. The experiments will benefit strongly from an optimal shielding from environmental influences. I am grateful to the University and the School of Physics and Astronomy for their support for what will become a centre for atomic-scale characterization of advanced materials. The research will complement existing research strengths, e.g. in Angular Resolved Photoemission at the School of Physics and Astronomy in Condensed Matter Physics and specifically research on Topological Quantum Matter and Strongly Correlated Electron Systems. The design team has made a great effort to provide the best possible environment for this research."

During the construction phase the stores entrance of the building is not in routine use. The other entrances to the building are not affected. The building work on the ultra-low vibration labs is expected to be completed by early next calendar year.

First posted 21.7.14