Advanced detector technology is critical to making the most of the latest beamlines and conducting the most advanced experiments. Having that capability requires planning because detectors are a significant – but necessary – capital expense, one that must be budgeted for well in advance. Planning for needed capital investments, specifically for beamline detectors, increases the chances that funding will be there when needed. That investment can pay off in many ways and is a critical component to calculating ROI. As you consider how to optimize expenditures, understanding the importance of detector investment will position your team well for experiments now and for years to come.
Consideration #1: Maximizing Use
A first consideration should be the goal of maximizing detector use that spreads capital investment across as many scientific experiments and investigations as possible. Coordinating possible detector needs for the next three to five years with your colleagues can help spread out costs and clearly show how capital investment in the best detector is worth it on a more global scale for your organization. Making the most of a detector also makes the most out of time on a beamline, another high-ticket item that should be maximized for effective and efficient experiments.
Consideration #2: The Value of Planning
In addition, beamline time is often hard to come by, especially at FEL facilities, so having the right tools for the work at hand ensures that the best chances of a successful measurement campaign within your allocated, (and precious!) beam time. ESRF documents, for instance, estimate that there is a 45 percent acceptance rate for proposals. A more capable detector better ensures allotted beamtime is maximized, which reduces the device’s contribution to the cost per experiment.
Consideration #3: Non-Economic ROI
Ensuring beamlines have the latest detectors to enable cutting edge measurements uncovers other ROI factors that are non-economic. One consideration is a potential for publication in high impact journals as part of ROI calculations. Just as greater detector capabilities may lead to a higher likelihood of measurement success, so too may a higher performing detector make possible groundbreaking experiments and new science that is worth publishing in a field-leading journal.