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Industrial Collaborators

The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and its future successor, NSLS-II, can help companies large and small solve research and manufacturing problems, generate new technologies and products, and stay competitive. The Photon Sciences Directorate would like to encourage greater use of its facilities by industrial researchers and facilitate collaborations between industry and NSLS staff, as well as government and academic institutions.

Industrial Research Program

The goals of the NSLS Industrial Research Program are to encourage greater use of synchrotron tools by industry researchers; improve access to NSLS beamlines by industrial researchers; and facilitate research collaborations between industrial researchers and NSLS staff, as well as researchers from university and government laboratories.

A number of enhancements were recently implemented at NSLS to support industrial users better. They include:

  • New proposal rating review criteria, created to reflect the importance of technology development.
  • Dedicated proposal review panels (PRPs), which have the expertise to evaluate the merit of proposals submitted by industrial collaborators. Each panel includes at least one representative from industry.
  • Optimized instrumentation for industrial users at several beamlines. Examples of these beamlines include:
    • X14A for powder diffraction
    • X18A for x-ray absorption spectroscopy (EXAFS, XANES)
    • X27C for small angle x-ray scattering
    • X20B for thin film x-ray diffraction and reflectivity (planned).
  • A new web page dedicated to industrial research, created to introduce synchrotron techniques to industrial researchers, highlight industrial research performed at the NSLS, and provide targeted communication to industrial users.
  • An Industrial Program Coordinator who leads the development of the Industrial Research Program and provides scientific support to industrial users through:
    • Consultation: Industrial researchers are encouraged to consult the Industrial Program Coordinator if they are interested in using the NSLS. The coordinator will help them identify the most suitable technique(s) and guide them to the appropriate beamline. Beamline staff will follow up with the prospective users and work with them to develop the best possible beam time proposal.
    • Collaborative Research: The Industrial Program Coordinator can assist in setting up or participating in collaborative research projects as well as in pursuing joint funding opportunities to support collaborative research. It is especially helpful for new users to learn how to use a synchrotron through collaboration with a seasoned user.
    • Outreach: The Industrial Program Coordinator develops ways to interact more effectively with the industrial user community, for example, through the organization of workshops designed to identify research and manufacturing challenges faced by industry. The workshops help establish collaborative efforts to address these issues using synchrotron light sources. Past workshops focused on industrial problems in microelectronics, storage batteries, and next-generation energy systems.

These continuing efforts to provide better support for industrial users are motivated in part by corporate impact statements submitted by industrial users, which describe how using a synchrotron has increased their ability to be competitive. These statements are particularly important if the work done has a commercial impact even though it might not result in a publication.