The aim of this project is to build and test a system for the study of biologically important metals (Cu, Mg, Zn). The system will overcome the problems of vacuum difference to make such work possible for the very first time. The project is highly novel, allowing for the first time direct observation and study of metal ions in biological systems. Testing of the differential vacuum system has validated the technique and IP protection of system components is currently under assessment. The project aims to revolutionize the study of metal ions in aqueous solution for a wide range of potential applications. Project progress to date is good, with the system pumps tested and ready for configuration, vacuum and beam transmission begun, simulations of beam transport and pump power complete, and patentability of system components at an advanced stage. The fields of application of this technology are wide-ranging and include other scientific domains such as:
- Chemistry and biology: study of liquid samples of biological material to derive molecular and atomic structure information.
- Pharmacology and medicine: pharmaceutical behaviour and function in aqueous solution, currently only observed by indirect methods.
- Material science: study of liquids and gels to understand aging, swelling, change of materials exposed to humidity.
- There are also potential industrial applications in cosmetics, drugs discovery, and food and drink ingredients markets.