Meet Greg Fries, NSLS-II Accelerator Division Deputy Director for Projects

Fries plays a key role at NSLS-II, straddling the line between management and workers ‘in the field’ to ensure projects run smoothly and safely

Greg Fries is the deputy director for projects in the accelerator division at National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. At NSLS-II, electrons are accelerated to nearly the speed of light and directed into a “storage ring,” where they emit x-rays as they circulate. The x-rays are used to study a huge range of materials and samples, from batteries to potential new pharmaceuticals.

What do you do at NSLS-II?

In this role, I wear many hats. I’m responsible for planning and coordinating the installation and major maintenance activities related to the accelerator. I work closely with the engineers and technicians, as to how to best manage the time that we have during machine shutdowns. I’m also involved in the construction of new beamlines; for example, right now I am responsible for the accelerator infrastructure for the building of the High Energy Engineering X-ray Scattering (HEX) beamline and the NSLS-II Experimental Tools II (NEXT-II) projects. Ultimately, I work with the accelerator division staff to deliver the insertion devices, front ends, and other beamline systems. In addition, I manage the overall staffing plan and budget for the accelerator division.

I am also the work control manager for NSLS-II, supporting both the accelerator and photon divisions. In this role, I help implement work planning and control processes, and train new work control coordinators. A lot of what I do is coordination among groups to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Right now, I’m also working on the Advanced Light Source upgrade (ALS-U) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I manage the budget and schedule for their power supplies and am fully integrated into their team. I’ve also been able to visit many of the other labs, particularly those who are going through upgrades, and be part of those processes. I’ve learned many lessons by being involved in the construction and maintenance of NSLS-II that I’ve been able to share with projects at other labs.

Read more on the BNL website

Image: Greg Fries stands in front of the main entrance of NSLS-II

Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

The first direct visual observation of synchrotron light in a laboratory

Lightsources.org has created this short video to mark the 75th Anniversary of the first direct visual observation of synchrotron light in a laboratory. It’s release marks the start of our celebrations, which have been made possible thanks to contributions from our member facilities, guest speakers and members from our around the light source community.

Marking the 75th Anniversary of the 1st direct visible observation of synchrotron light in a laboratory

We are hugely grateful to all those who have taken the time to support our activities. On behalf of all the Lightsources.org members, we hope you enjoy our celebrations, which will include:

The creation of a collection of achievements from across our 30 member facilities to be shared on the website and social media. Also, our #My1stLight campaign, which invites light source staff and external researchers to send in their memories of first encounters with synchrotron light. Visit our campaign page to find out more

A special online symposium to mark 75 Years of Science with Synchrotron Light took place on Thursday 28th April. You can watch the symposium recording here

A very powerful method that illuminates all research fields

Photon Factory at KEK – #LightSourceSelfie

Science is ever-evolving. This is particularly true in the world of light sources. As science, technology and computing advances are made, the machines that enable all the amazing scientific research advance too.

Kentaro Harada is an Associate Professor in the Beam dynamics and Magnets Group at KEK’s Photon Factory in Japan. As an accelerator scientist, his research is centred around magnets, power supplies, beam diagnostics and the operation of accelerators. The goals of Kentaro and his colleagues are to improve present accelerators and to design accelerators that will drive the science of the future. In his insightful #LightSourceSelfie, Kentaro says, “I think research and engineering are like the arts. The expression of uniqueness is first motivation. My goal is to do what only I can do.”

SLAC’s upgraded X-ray laser facility produces first light

Marking the beginning of the LCLS-II era, the first phase of the major upgrade comes online.

Menlo Park, Calif. — Just over a decade ago in April 2009, the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) produced its first light at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) generated X-ray pulses a billion times brighter than anything that had come before. Since then, its performance has enabled fundamental new insights in a number of scientific fields, from creating “molecular movies” of chemistry in action to studying the structure and motion of proteins for new generations of pharmaceuticals and replicating the processes that create “diamond rain” within giant planets in our solar system.

The next major step in this field was set in motion in 2013, launching the LCLS-II upgrade project to increase the X-ray laser’s power by thousands of times, producing a million pulses per second compared to 120 per second today. This upgrade is due to be completed within the next two years.

Today the first phase of the upgrade came into operation, producing an X-ray beam for the first time using one critical element of the newly installed equipment.

Read more on the SLAC website

Image: Over the past 18 months, the original LCLS undulator system was removed and replaced with two totally new systems that offer dramatic new capabilities .

Credit: (Andy Freeberg/Alberto Gamazo/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Looping X-rays to produce higher quality laser pulses

A proposed device could expand the reach of X-ray lasers, opening new experimental avenues in biology, chemistry, materials science and physics.BY ALI SUNDERMIER

Ever since 1960, when Theodore Maiman built the world’s first infrared laser, physicists dreamed of producing X-ray laser pulses that are capable of probing the ultrashort and ultrafast scales of atoms and molecules.

This dream was finally realized in 2009, when the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, produced its first light. One limitation of LCLS and other XFELs in their normal mode of operation is that each pulse has a slightly different wavelength distribution, and there can be variability in the pulse length and intensity. Various methods exist to address this limitation, including ‘seeding’ the laser at a particular wavelength, but these still fall short of the wavelength purity of conventional lasers.

Read more on the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory website

Image: Schematic arrangement of the experiment. The researchers send an X-ray pulse from LCLS through a liquid jet, where it creates excited atoms that emit a pulse of radiation at one distinct color moving in the same direction. This pulse is reflected through a series of mirrors arranged in a crossed loop. The size of this loop is carefully set so that the pulse arrives back at the liquid jet at the same time as a second X-ray pulse from LCLS. This produces an even brighter laser pulse, which then takes the same loop. The process is repeated several times, and with each loop the laser pulse intensifies and becomes more coherent. During the last loop, one of the mirrors is quickly switched allowing this laser pulse to exit.

Credit: (Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)