User Facilities

Accelerator Test Facility (ATF)

Long Island, New York
Start of Operations
Number of Users
107 (FY 2017)

The Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) provides users with high power lasers synchronized with high brightness electron beams, providing a testbed for exploring the science of particle acceleration and radiation generation, and for developing new accelerator technologies.


The Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) at Brookhaven National LaboratoryExternal link provides high brightness low-energy electron beams (to 80 MeV) and precisely timed high power laser beams (to 2 TW at CO2 wavelengths) to users. Serving users for more than 20 years, the ATF has hosted experiments that have demonstrated new particle generation and acceleration techniques, novel radiation production methods, and a range of accelerator technologies that support many applications in discovery science, industry, and medicine.

The ATF’s high-power CO2 laserExternal link provides users access to the yet-unexplored mid-IR spectral domain for strong-field physics research. Together with precisely synchronized electron beams and a suite of diagnostic instruments, the ATF offers exceptional facilities for strong field and laser-matter interaction experiments.


The ATF hosts users from universities, labs and industry from across the world. Researchers use the unique facilities that the ATF offers to perform a wide range of experimentsExternal link to validate scientific theory and test new accelerator technologies. As a dedicated DOE Office of Science Accelerator Stewardship facility, the ATF welcomes both high impact scientific research and accelerator technology development.  The ATF has specialized capabilities in the following areas:

  • Novel particle acceleration techniques: R&D on novel techniques to make smaller, more cost effective accelerators is a major focus of ATF activity, which includes plasmaExternal link and dielectric wakefield acceleration, direct laser acceleration, inverse free-electron lasersExternal link and more.
  • High-brightness radiation sources: New techniques to produce electromagnetic radiation from THz to X-rays includes R&D on FELs, Inverse Compton scatteringExternal link, THz radiation from dielectric structures, and more.
  • Beam manipulation and beam instrumentation: The ATF accelerator has sophisticated longitudinal and transverse beam manipulation capabilities, allowing the production of a wide range of beam parameters (including shaped and multiple bunches) and advanced techniques such as shot-noise suppressionExternal link and energy chirp compensationExternal link. These broad capabilities support a wide range of users who come to test accelerator hardware, diagnostics, and detectors.
  • Ion generation and acceleration: Experimental hardware for producing supersonic hydrogen gas jets provides capabilities for generating monoenergetic multi-MeV proton beamsExternal link.
Last modified: 10/5/2018 4:42:24 PM