Synergistic User Communities at Brookhaven

As science moves into the realm of the ultra-small, a rosy future was forecast for Brookhaven’s user facilities at the first-ever joint meeting, this spring, of the user communities for the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).

Sam Aronson

Officials from the Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and the New York State congressional delegation painted an optimistic picture for an audience of several hundred current and prospective users of Brookhaven’s cutting-edge science facilities — those that are currently in operation, planned and under construction or eagerly anticipated.

The Laboratory’s interim director, Sam Aronson, outlined Brookhaven’s “extremely strong science agenda” in terms of ongoing research and new facilities that will maintain Brookhaven as a leader in world science. He said that the Laboratory’s highest priority is the design and construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), which along with the CFN will give Brookhaven a powerful combination of cutting-edge research tools. These new capabilities will enable exciting new studies to be undertaken at Brookhaven and will enhance many current projects, such as the molecular electronics work being done by Baumert, Lefenfeld and Ocko.

Last fall, DOE granted “Critical Decision Zero” (CD-0) status to NSLS-II, the planned world-leading successor to the NSLS. Later, Critical Decision One (CD-1) will approve a construction plan and a definite site decision will be made.

“The NSLS-II will allow our science to continue to flourish and expand, and keep the United States in the forefront of light source science,” Aronson said. Citing Brookhaven’s expected contribution to energy research, Aronson said that work here “will be vital to that effort for the U.S. economy and energy security.” He said that the DOE’s forward-looking investments in user facilities “will eventually change the face of the Laboratory. The completion and operation of the CFN and NSLS-II will profoundly change the balance of research here.”

Pat Dehmer


Steve Dierker

Focusing on the rollout of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) which she called “great news for the physical sciences,” Pat Dehmer, director of DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, explained that the ACI would double funding for DOE’s Office of Science over the next 10 years. One of the ACI’s focus areas is the tools of science, described as “unique, expensive, large-scale tools beyond the means of a single organization.”

Projected funding for the Office of Basic Energy Sciences has increased by 25 percent, in large part because the office’s work “aligns almost 100 percent with the ACI goals.”

Steve Dierker, who is leading Brookhaven’s effort to bring the NSLS-II facility here, noted that “the CFN will be producing materials that will be crying out to be characterized.” He said that development of nanoscale materials will be critical for the development of future energy technologies.

“NSLS-II will be brighter than any existing light source. None of today’s light sources was designed to probe materials with one nanometer spatial resolution and 0.1 meV energy resolution,” he said. “The changes that NSLS-II brings will be transformative.”

Dierker briefly described plans for the Joint Photon Sciences Institute (JPSI), intended to foster development of new techniques and capabilities. “JPSI will serve as an intellectual center for development and application of the photon sciences and as a gateway for NSLS-II users,” he said.

“The NSLS-II will be essential for energy security, and important for U.S. industry, “ he concluded. “It will enable ‘grand challenge’ science in many diverse fields.”.