User Facilities

Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)

Location
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Richland, Washington
Start of Operations
1997
Number of Users
616 (FY 2017)

EMSL provides the scientific community with a problem-solving environment that enables researchers to use multiple combinations of capabilities to obtain a mechanistic understanding of physical, chemical, and intra- and inter-cellular processes and interactions, and to incorporate this information into numerical models to better understand how biological, environmental, atmospheric, and energy systems function at higher spatial- and temporal scales, and to address complex challenges facing DOE and the nation.

Description

The Environmental Molecular Sciences LaboratoryExternal link (EMSL), at Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryExternal link, began operations in 1997, and currently provides the scientific user community with a broad range of premier instruments for molecular to mesoscale research on nanosecond to days-long processes, as well as production high performance computing (HPC) and optimized computational codes for molecular to continuum-scale modeling and simulation. Individual users and user teams have access to a problem-solving environment in which combinations of more than 50 premier instruments and modeling resources can be accessed to obtain a mechanistic understanding of physical, chemical, and intra- and intercellular processes and interactions. Fundamental structural, dynamic, and other rate and mechanistic information and data can then be incorporated into numerical models to better understand how biological, environmental, atmospheric, and energy systems function at higher spatial- and temporal scales, and to address complex challenges facing DOE and the nation.

Major capabilities include:  advanced imaging at the atomic-level, live cell imaging of dynamic intracellular processes, and chemical process imaging under realistic temperature and pressure conditions;  computing hardware and optimized codes for reactive transport, molecular dynamics, metabolic process, atomic and molecular chemistry, and multi-scale modeling; mass and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry for metabolomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and aerosol particle characterization; isotopic and spectroscopic analyses and chemical characterization of biological and geochemical structures, surfaces and other materials; and plant/soil/subsurface growth chambers, flow and transport cells, and tomographic capabilities to design and investigate mesoscale processes occurring in the rhizosphere, hyporheic zones, and at the immediate land-atmosphere interface. To maintain capabilities at state-of-the-art, EMSL not only obtains new capabilities, but some EMSL scientists also work with users to design and build new experimental instruments, tailor and upgrade existing instruments, and create and enhance open-source software, to meet the evolving needs of the research community.

User access to EMSL capabilities is allocated once a successful proposal has gone through a competitive peer review process. EMSL has three proposal types available to non-proprietary and proprietary applicants:  a) annual and special call proposalsExternal link, b) general proposalsExternal link, and c) scientific partner proposalsExternal link, each of which have slightly different purposes, requirements, and deadlines. Included in the annual and special call proposals category is a sub-category of joint proposals termed FICUSExternal link, Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science, that enable applicants to not only make use of EMSL capabilities, but also those from other DOE Office of Science user facilities.

Science

EMSL’s scientific directions are driven by BER’s strategic directions to:  a) obtain a systems-level understanding of how genomic information is translated into functional capabilities of microbes and plants to enable prediction or redesign of metabolic processes for sustainable biofuels and bioproducts, transformation of nutrient cycles and contaminant mobility, and control of biological systems in the environment, and b) obtain fundamental understanding of dynamic physical and hydro-biogeochemical processes needed to develop Earth System Models that integrate subsurface environments, land masses and terrestrial processes, watersheds, oceans, and the atmosphere. These scientific directions are organized under EMSL’s Biological Sciences AreaExternal link and Environmental Sciences AreaExternal link. The EMSL science areas build on EMSL’s scientific expertise and guide planning for future capabilities, and each science area has a specific area of focus and is led by an EMSL scientist.

Last modified: 10/5/2018 4:42:27 PM