BES User Facilities

The Basic Energy Sciences program supports the operation of the following national scientific user facilities:

Synchrotron Radiation Light Sources

  • National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS):External link
    The NSLS at Brookhaven National LaboratoryExternal link, commissioned in 1982, consists of two distinct electron storage rings. The x-ray storage ring is 170 meters in circumference and can accommodate 60 beamlines or experimental stations, and the vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) storage ring can provide 25 additional beamlines around its circumference of 51 meters. Synchrotron light from the x-ray ring is used to determine the atomic structure of materials using diffraction, absorption, and imaging techniques. Experiments at the VUV ring help solve the atomic and electronic structure as well as the magnetic properties of a wide array of materials. These data are fundamentally important to virtually all of the physical and life sciences as well as providing immensely useful information for practical applications. NSLS will be replaced by a new light source, NSLS-IIExternal link, which is currently under construction. NSLS-II will be optimized to deliver ultra-high brightness and flux and exceptional beam stability, enabling the study of material properties and functions down to a spatial resolution of 1 nm and energy resolution of 0.1 meV, with sensitivity sufficient to perform spectroscopy on a single atom.

  • Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL):External link
    The SSRL at SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryExternal link was built in 1974 to take and use for synchrotron studies the intense x-ray beams from the SPEAR storage ring that was originally built for particle. The facility is used by researchers from industry, government laboratories, and universities. These include astronomers, biologists, chemical engineers, chemists, electrical engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, materials scientists, and physicists. A research program is conducted at SSRL with emphasis in both the x-ray and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum. SSRL scientists are experts in photoemission studies of high-temperature superconductors and in x-ray scattering. The SPEAR 3 upgrade at SSRL provided major improvements that increase the brightness of the ring for all experimental stations.

  • Advanced Light Source (ALS):External link
    The ALS at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryExternal link, began operations in October 1993 as one of the world's brightest sources of high-quality, reliable vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) light and long-wavelength (soft) x-rays for probing the electronic and magnetic structure of atoms, molecules, and solids, such as those for high-temperature superconductors. The high brightness and coherence of the ALS light are particularly suited for soft x-ray imaging of biological structures, environmental samples, polymers, magnetic nanostructures, and other inhomogeneous materials. Other uses of the ALS include holography, interferometry, and the study of molecules adsorbed on solid surfaces. The pulsed nature of the ALS light offers special opportunities for time resolved research, such as the dynamics of chemical reactions. Shorter wavelength x-rays are also used at structural biology experimental stations for x-ray crystallography and x-ray spectroscopy of proteins and other important biological macromolecules. The ALS is a growing facility with a lengthening portfolio of beamlines that has already been applied to make important discoveries in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.

  • Advanced Photon Source (APS):External link
    The APS at Argonne National LaboratoryExternal link is one of only three third-generation, hard x-ray synchrotron radiation light sources in the world. The 1,104-meter circumference facility—large enough to house a baseball park in its center—includes 34 bending magnets and 34 insertion devices, which generate a capacity of 68 beamlines for experimental research. Instruments on these beamlines attract researchers to study the structure and properties of materials in a variety of disciplines, including condensed matter physics, materials sciences, chemistry, geosciences, structural biology, medical imaging, and environmental sciences. The high-quality, reliable x-ray beams at the APS have already brought about new discoveries in materials structure.

  • Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS):External link
    The LCLS at the SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryExternal link (SLAC) is the world’s first hard x-ray free electron laser facility and became operational in June 2010. This is a milestone for x-ray user facilities that advances the state-of-the-art from storage-ring-based third generation synchrotron light sources to a fourth generation Linac-based light source. The LCLS provides laser-like radiation in the x-ray region of the spectrum that is 10 billion times greater in peak power and peak brightness than any existing coherent x-ray light source. The SLAC linac provides high-current, low-emittance 5–15 GeV electron bunches at a 120 Hz repetition rate. A newly constructed long undulator bunches the electrons, leading to self-amplification of the emitted x-ray radiation, constituting the x-ray FEL.

High-Flux Neutron Sources

  • Spallation Neutron Source (SNS):External link
    The SNS at Oak Ridge National LaboratoryExternal link is a next-generation spallation neutron source for neutron scattering that is currently the most powerful neutron source in the world.  The SNS consists of a proton  accelerator system that delivers short (microsecond) proton pulses to a target/moderator system where neutrons are produced by a process called spallation. The neutrons are delivered to specially designed, state-of-the-art instruments where they are used for a wide variety of investigations on the properties of materials in fields such as physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology. The SNS allows for measurements of greater sensitivity, higher speed, higher resolution, and in more complex sample environments than have been possible at other neutron facilities. The facility can accommodate 24 instruments. The  SNS was designed  to be upgraded to 3 MW of power and to accommodate a second target station and additional instruments in the future.
  • High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR):External link
    The HFIR at Oak Ridge National LaboratoryExternal link is a light-water cooled and moderated reactor that is the United States’ highest flux reactor-based neutron source. HFIR operates at 85 megawatts to provide state-of-the-art facilities for neutron scattering, materials irradiation, and neutron activation analysis and is the world's leading source of elements heavier than plutonium for research, medicine, and industrial applications. The neutron scattering instruments installed on the four horizontal beam tubes are used in fundamental studies of the properties of a very wide range of materials of interest to solid-state physicists, chemists, biologists, polymer scientists, metallurgists, and colloid scientists. Recently, a number of improvements at HFIR have increased its capabilities and include the installation of larger beam tubes and shutters, a high-performance liquid hydrogen cold source, and neutron scattering instrumentation. The installation of the cold source provides beams of cold neutrons for scattering research that are as bright as any in the world.
  • Lujan Neutron Scattering Center:External link
    The Lujan Neutron Scattering Center (Lujan Center)External link at Los Alamos National LaboratoryExternal link is an intense pulsed neutrons source operating at a power level of 80 -100 kW.  The Lujan Center features instruments for the measurement of atomic and magnetic structure, high-pressure and high-temperature diffraction, strain and texture, and surface reflectivity for the study of magnetic, polymer and biological materials. A single crystal machine for protein structure studies is also part of the instrument suite. The facility has a long history and extensive experience in handling actinide samples. The Lujan Center is part of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), which is comprised of a 800-MeV proton linear accelerator, a proton storage ring, and neutron production targets delivering neutrons to the Lujan Center and the Weapons Neutron Research facility for national security and civilian research.

Electron Beam Microcharacterization Centers

  • The Electron Microscopy Center (EMC) for Materials Research:External link
    The EMCMR at Argonne National LaboratoryExternal link provides in-situ, high-voltage and intermediate voltage, high-spatial resolution electron microscope capabilities for direct observation of ion-solid interactions during irradiation of samples with high-energy ion beams. The EMC employs both a tandem accelerator and an ion implanter in conjunction with a transmission electron microscope for simultaneous ion irradiation and electron beam microcharacterization. It is the only instrumentation of its type in the western hemisphere. The unique combination of two ion accelerators and an electron microscope permits direct, real-time, in-situ observation of the effects of ion bombardment of materials and consequently attracts users from around the world. Research at EMC includes microscopy based studies on high-temperature superconducting materials, irradiation effects in metals and semiconductors, phase transformations, and processing related structure and chemistry of interfaces in thin films.

  • National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM):External link
    The NCEM at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryExternal link provides instrumentation for high-resolution, electron-optical microcharacterization of atomic structure and composition of metals, ceramics, semiconductors, superconductors, and magnetic materials. This facility contains one of the highest resolution electron microscopes in the U.S.

  • Shared Research Equipment (SHaRE):External link
    The SHaRE User Facility at Oak Ridge National LaboratoryExternal link makes available state-of-the-art electron beam microcharacterization facilities for collaboration with researchers from universities, industry and other government laboratories. Most SHaRE projects seek correlations at the microscopic or atomic scale between structure and properties in a wide range of metallic, ceramic, and other structural materials. A diversity of research projects has been conducted, such as the characterization of magnetic materials, catalysts, semiconductor device materials, high Tc superconductors, and surface-modified polymers. Analytical services (service microscopy) which can be purchased from commercial laboratories are not possible through SHaRE. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and EducationExternal link manages the SHaRE program.

Nanoscale Science Research Centers

  • Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS):External link
    The CNMS at Oak Ridge National LaboratoryExternal link is a research center and user facility that integrates nanoscale science research with neutron science, synthesis science, and theory/modeling/simulation. The building provides state-of-the-art clean rooms, general laboratories, wet and dry laboratories for sample preparation, fabrication and analysis. Equipment to synthesize, manipulate, and characterize nanoscale materials and structures is included. The facility, which is collocated with the Spallation Neutron Source complex, houses over 100 research scientists and an additional 100 students and postdoctoral fellows. The CNMS’s major scientific thrusts are in nano-dimensioned soft materials, complex nanophase materials systems, and the crosscutting areas of interfaces and reduced dimensionality that become scientifically critical on the nanoscale. A major focus of the CNMS is to exploit ORNL’s unique capabilities in neutron scattering.

  • Molecular Foundry:External link
    The Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryExternal link (LBNL) makes use of existing LBNL facilities such as the Advanced Light Source, the National Center for Electron Microscopy, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. The facility provides laboratories for materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, and molecular biology. State-of-the-art equipment includes clean rooms, controlled environmental rooms, scanning tunneling microscopes, atomic force microscopes, transmission electron microscope, fluorescence microscopes, mass spectrometers, DNA synthesizer and sequencer, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, ultrahigh vacuum scanning-probe microscopes, photo, uv, and e-beam lithography equipment, peptide synthesizer, advanced preparative and analytical chromatographic equipment, and cell culture facilities.

  • Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT):External link
    The CINT focuses on exploring the path from scientific discovery to the integration of nanostructures into the micro- and macro-worlds. This path involves experimental and theoretical exploration of behavior, understanding new performance regimes and concepts, testing designs, and integrating nanoscale materials and structures. CINT focus areas are nanophotonics and nanoelectronics, complex functional nanomaterials, nanomechanics, and the nanoscale/bio/microscale interfaces. CINT is jointly administered by Los Alamos National LaboratoryExternal link (LANL) and Sandia National LaboratoriesExternal link. This Center makes use of a wide range of specialized facilities including the Los Alamos Neutron Science CenterExternal link and the National High Magnetic Field LaboratoryExternal link at LANL.

  • Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN):External link
    The CFN at Brookhaven National LaboratoryExternal link focuses on understanding the chemical and physical response of nanomaterials to make functional materials such as sensors, activators, and energy-conversion devices. The facility uses existing facilities such as the National Synchrotron Light Source and the Laser Electron Accelerator facility. It also provides clean rooms, general laboratories, and wet and dry laboratories for sample preparation, fabrication, and analysis. Equipment includes that needed for laboratory and fabrication facilities for e-beam lithography, transmission electron microscopy, scanning probes and surface characterization, material synthesis and fabrication, and spectroscopy.

  • Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM):External link
    The CNM at Argonne National LaboratoryExternal link focuses on research in advanced magnetic materials, complex oxides, nanophotonics, and bio-inorganic hybrids. The facility uses existing facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source, the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source, and the Electron Microscopy Center. An x-ray nanoprobe beam line at the Advanced Photon SourceExternal link is run by the Center for its users. The State of Illinois provided funding for construction of the building, which is appended to the Advanced Photon Source. BES provides funding for clean rooms and specialized equipment as well as the facility operations.

Last modified: 12/13/2013 2:36:23 PM