How x-ray diffraction with synchrotron radiation got started

The need to record low angle scattering x-ray fibre diagrams from muscle with milli-second time resolution drove the use of synchrotron radiation as an x-ray light source. The first smudgy diffraction patterns were obtained from a slice of insect flight muscle. Out of this grew the EMBL Outstation at DESY.


On the basis of these initial experiments the directors of DESY (in particular Martin Teucher, who was responsible for buildings) encouraged us to set up a bunker for x-ray diffraction experiments on biological samples. The original (and final) plan was to set up an x-ray lab on the storage ring DORIS which would have at least 100 times more intensity than DESY. However, we were persuaded by Prof. Jenschke, the founding director of DESY that since DORIS would not be available as a synchrotron light source for 2-3 years it would be advantageous to build an x-ray laboratory on the DESY synchrotron in order to gain experience. However, we would need to act fast! The window of opportunity was the major shut-down in 1971 engendered by the construction of the connecting tunnels from DESY to the new strorage ring DORIS. After this date the massive earth movements required to create a new bunker would no longer be possible. Thus an x-ray laboratory was built onto DESY during the shut down of 1971 and became known as "Bunker-2". At the same time the tunnel for the laboratory-to-be on DORIS were also built (to be completed in 1975). Above Bunker 2 two offices and a room for biochemistry were added.

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