Watch the assembly of the Grand Tube at the APS

The Advanced Photon Source (APS) Upgrade will result in X-ray beams that are up to 500 times brighter than those generated by the original APS. But that’s only half the story. The upgrade team is also building seven new beamlines, constructing critical infrastructure to enable two more beamlines to be built, and updating many other experiment stations around the ring. 

Work on the beamlines is ramping up. One of the most visible recent projects has been the assembly of the Grand Tube at beamline 9-ID. The Grand Tube is a 70-foot-long enclosure that will enable a new X-ray technique called Coherent Surface Scattering Imaging (CSSI). This will allow scientists to image extremely small materials in three dimensions on a scale previously unattainable. 

The Grand Tube, weighing 100,000 pounds, arrived at Argonne in four sections and took three weeks to assemble. The video below shows the scale of the enclosure and the process of putting it together on the APS experiment floor.

Watch the Grand Tube assemly video here

LCLS-II ushers in a new era of science

SLAC fires up the world’s most powerful X-ray laser

With up to a million X-ray flashes per second, 8,000 times more than its predecessor, it transforms the ability of scientists to explore atomic-scale, ultrafast phenomena that are key to a broad range of applications, from quantum materials to clean energy technologies and medicine.

The newly upgraded Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory successfully produced its first X-rays, and researchers around the world are already lined up to kick off an ambitious science program. 

The upgrade, called LCLS-II, creates unparalleled capabilities that will usher in a new era in research with X-rays. Scientists will be able to examine the details of quantum materials with unprecedented resolution to drive new forms of computing and communications; reveal unpredictable and fleeting chemical events to teach us how to create more sustainable industries and clean energy technologies; study how biological molecules carry out life’s functions to develop new types of pharmaceuticals; and study the world on the fastest timescales to open up entirely new fields of scientific investigation. 

“This achievement marks the culmination of over a decade of work,” said LCLS-II Project Director Greg Hays. “It shows that all the different elements of LCLS-II are working in harmony to produce X-ray laser light in an entirely new mode of operation.”  

Reaching “first light” is the result of a series of key milestones that started in 2010 with the vision of upgrading the original LCLS and blossomed into a multi-year ($1.1 billion) upgrade project involving thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians across DOE, as well as numerous institutional partners. 

“For more than 60 years, SLAC has built and operated powerful tools that help scientists answer fundamental questions about the world around us. This milestone ensures our leadership in the field of X-ray science and propels us forward to future innovations,” said Stephen Streiffer, SLAC’s interim laboratory director. “It’s all thanks to the amazing efforts of all parts of our laboratory in collaboration with the wider project team.”

Read more on the SLAC website

Image: The newly upgraded Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory successfully produced its first X-rays. The upgrade, called LCLS-II, creates unparalleled capabilities that will usher in a new era in research with X-rays.

Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Funding for Diamond-II approved

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology together with Wellcome, one of the world’s largest biomedical charities, today (Wednesday 6th September) announced approval for the innovative update and expansion programme to the UK’s national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source, at a total project cost of £519.4M. The investment will see 86% come from the UK Government and 14% from Wellcome, the same proportion that has funded Diamond from its beginning.

The full approval of the upgrade, Diamond-II, is part of a major investment drive in cutting-edge facilities to keep UK researchers and innovators at the forefront of discovery and help address global challenges.  

Sir Adrian Smith, Chair of the Board of Diamond Light Source and President of the Royal Society comments:

We are delighted that the government and the Wellcome Trust have agreed this substantial investment in science infrastructure which will ensure the UK is at the forefront of world class science.  This investment in Diamond-II will strengthen the UK’s global scientific leadership and confirms the UK’s commitment to building on the success Diamond has achieved so far.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, said:

Our national synchrotron may fly under the radar as we go about our daily lives, but it has been crucial to some of the most defining discoveries in recent history – from kickstarting Covid drug development that allowed us to protect millions of Britons to advancing treatment for HIV.

Our investment will ensure one of the most pioneering scientific facilities in the world continues to advance discoveries that transform our health and prosperity, while creating jobs, growing the UK economy and ensuring our country remains a scientific powerhouse.

The overall transformational Diamond-II upgrade will take several years of planning and implementation. This will include a “dark period” of 18 months during which there will be no synchrotron light for the user community, followed by a period to fully launch the new facility with three new flagship beamlines and major upgrades to many other beamlines.

Read more on the Diamond website

Image: Touring Diamond’s experimental hall during celebrations to mark the funding announcement for Diamond-II.
L to R: Dr Richard Walker, Technical Director and Senior Responsible Owner for Diamond-II, Beth Thompson MBE Chief Strategy Officer at Wellcome, Dr Adrian Mancuso, Diamond’s Physical Science Director, Prof Sir Dave Stuart, Diamond’s Life Sciences Director,  Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Sir Adrian Smith, Chair of the Board of Diamond, and Executive Chair of STFC Professor Mark Thomson.

Credit: Diamond Light Source

Thank You SLS

Since 2001, the Swiss Light Source SLS has been a catalyst for ground-breaking discoveries in physics, materials science, biology, and chemistry. The extremely bright X-ray light provided by the SLS has enabled researchers to take giant leaps in their understanding of the world around us.

Countless scientists in Switzerland and worldwide have collaborated at this remarkable facility, pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and unlocking new possibilities. As we approach the temporary shutdown for the SLS 2.0 upgrade, our beamline scientists look back on 22 years of brilliant science and achievements made possible by the SLS.

Read more on the PSI website

Image: Aerial veiw of the Swiss Light Source

Credit: PSI

The APS prepares for its renewal

The facility’s ultrabright X-ray beams will turn off for a year to enable a comprehensive upgrade, one that will light the way to new breakthroughs

With the start of the construction period, the Advanced Photon Source is now only a year away from re-emerging as a world-leading X-ray light source. Its brighter beams will lead to new discoveries in energy storage, materials science, medicine and more.

Today, a year-long effort to renew the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, officially begins.

After years of planning and preparation, the team behind the APS Upgrade project will now spend the next 12 months removing the old electron storage ring at the heart of the facility, replacing it with a brand new, state-of-the-art storage ring and testing the new ring once it is in place. The team will also build seven new experiment stations, construct the needed infrastructure for two more and update nearly every existing experiment station around the APS ring.

This is an extensive project, representing an $815 million investment from DOE. When complete, the APS will re-emerge as a world leader in global hard X-ray synchrotron science, enabling unimaginable new discoveries. Science conducted at the APS will lead to longer-lasting, faster-charging batteries, more durable airplane engines and better treatments for infectious diseases, among many other discoveries.

“The APS Upgrade is not only an investment in the facility’s future, but in the next 25 years of advancements that will change the way we power our vehicles, harness renewable energy and learn more about the fundamental science that underpins our future technologies.” — Linda Horton, associate director of science for Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy.

“This is a significant day for Argonne,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. ​“The APS Upgrade will transform the future of science for America and the world. Once we safely complete construction, the APS will shed new light on how the brain works, develop materials to decarbonize our economy, refine quantum technologies that can power the internet of the future and answer many other questions in numerous other disciplines.”

Read more on the Argonne National Laboratory website

Image: The Advanced Photon Source is undergoing a comprehensive upgrade that will result in X-ray beams that are up to 500 times brighter than the current facility can create. After a year-long shutdown, the upgraded APS will open the door to discoveries we can barely imagine today

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory/JJ Starr

Keeping track of the thousands of components needed to upgrade the APS

As the APS Upgrade’s supply chain coordinator, Aleksander Stankovik conducts detailed planning and forecasting to ensure all the materials are in place.

By Marguerite Huber

The Advanced Photon Source (APS) is shutting down for a year to undergo a complex and extensive upgrade. It’s a major investment in the future of science, as well as a significant investment in the APS, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Behind the scenes of the upgrade, Aleksander Stankovik keeps track of the tens of thousands of components and materials needed for the project. As supply chain coordinator, Stankovik uses a component database, which includes approximately 30,000 entries, to manage all the inventory and assembly data.

“We cannot spend time searching for something,” explained Stankovik.” All the components we are using, you cannot go to a local store and buy them. You need to know at any given time where something is and how to get it. That’s a non-negotiable for this project.”

Stankovik joined Argonne and the APS in 2020 after spending years in logistics and supply chain management, helping to build energy facilities, chemical plants and refineries around the world as a government contractor. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a project he was working on was put on hold and Stankovik looked for another position. He was inspired by the challenge of the APS Upgrade.

“I knew that this was a different industry, but I was confident that my knowledge and experience would be of great value to the project team,” said Stankovik. “I was hoping that if I could join Argonne, I would be able to share my knowledge, learn new things, make a few more friends, and help to successfully complete the project.”

Read more on the APS website

Image: Aleksander Stankovik, supply chain coordinator for the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade.