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

JoAnne Hewett Named Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory

The Board of Directors of Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) has named theoretical physicist JoAnne Hewett as the next director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and BSA president. BSA, a partnership between Stony Brook University (SBU) and Battelle, manages and operates Brookhaven Lab for DOE’s Office of Science. Hewett will also hold the title of professor in SBU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and professor at SBU’s C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics.

“JoAnne has a strong research background and extensive experience as a scientist and leader,” said DOE Office of Science Director Asmeret Asefaw Berhe. “She is a great choice to advance the Department of Energy’s priorities at Brookhaven—from fundamental breakthroughs to applications that improve people’s lives each and every day.”

Hewett’s appointment comes after an international search that began in summer 2022. Current Brookhaven Lab Director Doon Gibbs announced in March 2022 his plans to step down after leading the Laboratory for nearly a decade.

Hewett comes to Brookhaven from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA, where she most recently served as associate lab director (ALD) for fundamental physics and chief research officer. She also is a professor of particle physics and astrophysics at SLAC/Stanford University.

“JoAnne brings vital experience and proven leadership skills to further Brookhaven Lab’s game-changing discoveries and innovative breakthroughs that benefit science and society,” said Maurie McInnis, president, Stony Brook University, and co-chair, BSA Board of Directors. “As Brookhaven advances major projects, expands its mission, and further modernizes its campus where scientists are solving the most urgent challenges of our time, we are pleased to welcome her as the Lab’s next director.”

Read more on the BNL website

Image: JoAnne Hewett 

Credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Diamond’s socio-economic impact of over £2.6 billion on UK science and economy revealed

The importance of Science to world economies highlighted at ICRI

Presenting at the prestigious International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) in Brno, Czech Republic on 19th October, Diamond outlined a cumulative monetised impact to date on UK science and economy of £ 2.6 billion rooted in the delivery of almost 12,000 published journal papers on findings from research carried out at the UK’s synchrotron light source.Breakdown of monetised impact areas as part of the socio-economic report

The new figures released today are straightforward updates to the 2021 study by Technopolis using published methodologies where they measured and demonstrated Diamond’s scientific, technological, societal, and economic benefits.  The report summarised the findings and the updated figures – including the £2.6 billion cumulative monetised impact which compares very favourably with the £1.4 billion investment made in the facility to date – and underlines the significant impact Diamond continues to achieve and the fact that the facility still costs less than a cup of coffee per year – as each UK taxpayer contributes only £2.45 a year towards its world-changing science.     

Minister for Science and Investment Security Nusrat Ghani said;

It comes as no surprise to see evidence like this of the significant role science and innovation play in our economy – Diamond should be hugely proud of the leading research work they are doing with the scientific community, delivering real-world innovations from plastic degrading enzymes to synthetic vaccines against the Foot-and-Mouth disease virus.

The fact this work is also contributing an economic boost of over two-and-a-half billion pounds to the UK illustrates just how important the science and research sector is to our country’s growth and prosperity, and the benefits we continue to see from persevering with our ambitions to remain a science superpower.

Read more on the Diamond website

Image: Breakdown of monetised impact areas as part of the socio-economic report

NSRRC Outstanding Paper Award established to recognize distinguished research teams

The award ceremony for the 1st NSRRC Outstanding Paper Award was held on November 24, 2021. The research team led by Prof. Hao Ming Chen from National Taiwan University has earned unanimous recognition from the panel of experts and was awarded a trophy and a prize of TWD 300,000. At the ceremony, Dr. Chun-Jung Chen, the NSRRC Deputy Director, endorsed the team’s contribution and breakthroughs for the scientific innovations resulting from using NSRRC light sources.
The former NSRRC Director, Academician Chien-Ten Chen, received the Presidential Science Prize in 2017. He donated the prize, including the trophy and the award money, to the NSRRC, for the purpose of encouraging and rewarding international and domestic research teams to spur significant scientific innovations by using NSRRC synchrotron facilities.
Academician Chen is a renowned physicist who has dedicated himself to exploring science and building avant-garde instruments. He continues to excel in inventing high-resolution spectrometers, as well as developing soft X-ray experimental techniques and applications. Thanks to the full support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Academician Chen was able to lead the whole NSRRC team to accomplish the construction of the Taiwan Photon Source, the most cutting-edge and the largest experimental facilities ever built in Taiwan. The team’s efforts have not only enhanced Taiwan’s international academic status and the competitiveness of scientific research, but will also facilitate science and technology that makes a positive impact on improving human life and well-being.
NSRRC, entrusted with the mission of succeeding Academician Chen’s pursuit for the ultimate of science, installed the solar panels at the current site, and also established the NSRRC Outstanding Paper Award in 2021. To supplement the wonderful donation from Academician Chen, the NSRRC will continue to fund the prize with the revenue from the solar panels. This award presented by Academician Chen will motivate and inspire more research teams to uncover the truth in the universe and solve the global challenges using synchrotron radiation.
This year’s recipient, Prof. Hao Ming Chen’s team was recognized for their research on the development of in-situ techniques for chemical reactions, which was granted long-term support by the Ministry of Science and Technology. In particular, they reported that an iron catalyst with activity equaling or exceeding that of the precious metals by measurements of synchrotron techniques. The stabilization of dispersed single iron ions in the +3 oxidation state was shown to be key. Their findings on this novel catalyst were unprecedented and could significantly reduce the cost of catalysts. The research results were published in the world’s leading journal, Science, in 2019.

Read more on the NSRRC website