APS News

New Brookhaven Light Source Debuts in 2015

By Michael Lucibella

NSLS-II facility
Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory

NSLS-II will be a state-of-the-art, medium-energy (3-billion-electron-volt, or GeV) electron storage ring that produces x-rays up to 10,000 times brighter than the previous machine, NSLS.

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s new National Synchrotron Light Source-II (NSLS-II) is nearing completion, and the lab put out a call for experiment proposals in October. The new, third-generation light source passed its accelerator readiness review on September 22, 2014 and is on schedule to start its first “early science” programs in winter.

The NSLS-II will succeed Brookhaven’s current National Synchrotron Light Source, which has been operating since 1984. Once completed, the new facility will be the brightest x-ray light source in the world, ranking it as the nation’s premier synchrotron user facility.

“I look forward to the exciting science and benefits that NSLS-II will deliver to the U.S. Department of Energy and the nation,” Steve Dierker, Brookhaven’s associate lab director for photon sciences, said in a statement.

The accelerator readiness review approved the synchrotron’s request to start routine operations. It covers the lab’s safety, environmental, management, documentation and personnel policies. The first tests to characterize the x-ray beams will start running this winter, while experiments selected from October’s call will likely start in early 2015.

“Synchrotron light sources serve a very diverse user community — condensed matter physics, material science, chemistry, nanotechnology, structural biology,” said Sam Aronson, the 2015 APS President and former director of Brookhaven Lab. “The new capabilities will provide access to experiments which are currently impractical or even impossible with current light sources.”

Overall construction of the machine is about 98 percent completed. There are thirty initial beamlines in various stages of development that will come online between now and 2017. Ultimately the synchrotron will be home to more than 60 beamlines as more are designed and installed over the life of the facility. Construction began on the NSLS-II in 2009.


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