The U.S. Department of Energy's
(DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory is constructing the world's most brilliant
light source, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). In a recent
decision, DOE has approved a new project to begin conceptual design of NSLS-II
experimental tools, named NEXT.
The research potential of NSLS-II will only be realized when it is equipped
with scientific instruments known as beamlines. Specialized magnets called insertion
devices will create the light used by the most advanced of these beamlines.
The NSLS-II construction project is already building six beamlines with insertion
devices. NEXT would support the creation of another five or six insertion device
beamlines. NSLS-II will be capable of supporting some 58 beamlines in total.
Additional beamlines for NSLS-II would be funded by various other sources over
An insertion device beamline can range in cost from $10-15 million, depending
on its design and components. Those requirements are determined by the particular
experimental studies being done.
“Much of the research at NSLS-II will focus on developing the next generation
of sustainable energy technologies,” said Steve Dierker, NSLS-II Project
Director and Associate Laboratory Director for Light Sources at Brookhaven Lab.
According to Dierker, these new technologies will be based on novel materials
that have yet to be designed and fabricated. The NEXT project would provide
beamlines with the advanced capabilities needed for studying the properties
and functions of complex materials.
“Most of today's technologies are built using bulk materials whose
properties are not sufficient to enable next generation technologies,”
added Dierker. “Although we understand quite a lot about the properties
of bulk materials, we have not yet succeeded at improving their properties by
the amount needed for the new applications. The challenge is to work dramatically
below the bulk state, in the range of single atoms to tens of atoms. The NEXT
project can give NSLS-II the advanced tools to do that.”
As the world's most brilliant light source, NSLS-II will foster groundbreaking
scientific advances. Brookhaven's currently operating light source, NSLS,
draws each year about 2,200 researchers from 400 universities, government labs,
and companies to study a wide range of materials, from catalysts, to computer
chips, to biological molecules.
To take their research to the next level — to probe even smaller, subtler
details of their samples — scientists need more intense, better-focused
light. NSLS-II will deliver world-leading intensity and brightness, producing
x-rays 10,000 times brighter than the current NSLS. In fact, its x-ray brightness
and resolution will exceed all other light sources, existing and under construction.
This will enable the nanoscience revolution, giving scientists the ability to
image materials down to a nanometer, one billionth of a meter — a capability
not available at any other light source in the world.
The unique characteristics of NSLS-II will help scientists explore the grand
challenges they face in developing new materials with advanced properties. It
will pave the way to discoveries in physics, chemistry, and biology —
advances that will ultimately enhance national security and help drive the development
of abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies.
NSLS-II construction began in 2009, creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
The facility is expected to start operating in 2015.