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About the National Synchrotron Light Source II


Photon Sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory is entering an exciting new chapter with one of the newest and most advanced synchrotron facilities in the world. NSLS-II will enable the study of material properties and functions with nanoscale resolution and exquisite sensitivity by providing world-leading capabilities for X-ray imaging and high-resolution energy analysis. This facility is open to users from academia and industry and it begins operations at a time when the world is entering a new era with a global economy fueled largely by scientific discoveries and technological innovations. NSLS-II provides the research tools needed to foster new discoveries and create breakthroughs in critical areas such as energy security, environment, and human health.

NSLS-II will support the DOE scientific mission by providing the most advanced tools for discovery class science in condensed matter and materials physics, chemistry, and biology – science that ultimately will enhance national and energy security and help drive abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies. NSLS-II will fuel major advances in materials that will enable new energy technologies – such as nanocatalyst-based fuel cells; the widespread, economical use of solar energy; the use of high temperature superconductors in a high capacity and high reliability electric grid; advanced electrical storage systems for transportation and harnessing intermittent renewable energy sources; and the development of the next generation of nuclear power systems.

Brookhaven’s original light source — the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) — was one of the world’s most widely used scientific facilities. Each year, 2,200 researchers from 400 universities, government laboratories, and companies used its bright beams of x-rays, ultraviolet light, and infrared light for research in many scientific fields. The scientific productivity of the NSLS user community was very high and had widespread impact, with more than 900 publications per year, many in premier scientific journals. NSLS-II builds on this legacy, and the facility is poised to play a leadership role in enabling and producing high-impact research in key science and technology areas for many years to come.

Meeting Critical Challenges

Meeting the critical scientific challenges of our energy future requires advanced new capabilities that NSLS-II uniquely provides.

NSLS-II is a state-of-the-art, medium-energy electron storage ring (3 billion electron-volts) designed to deliver world-leading intensity and brightness, and will produce x-rays more than 10,000 times brighter than the original NSLS. The superlative character and combination of capabilities are expected to have broad impact on a wide range of disciplines and scientific initiatives, including the National Institutes of Health’s structural genomics initiative, DOE’s Genomics:GTL initiative, and the federal nanoscience initiative.

The facility is a key resource for researchers at Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials, allowing for analysis of new materials that are expected to transform the nation’s energy future. 

Discovery-Class Science

Research at NSLS-II focuses on some of our most important challenges at the nanoscale:

Clean and Affordable Energy

NSLS-II can image highly reactive gold nanoparticles inside porous hosts and under real reaction conditions. This will lead to new materials that use sunlight to split water for hydrogen production and harvest solar energy with high efficiency and low cost.

Molecular Electronics

NSLS-II allows scientists to observe fundamental properties with nanometer-scale resolution and atomic sensitivity. For example, new electronic materials that scale beyond silicon could be used to make faster, lessexpensive, energy-efficient electronics.


NSLS-II enables scientists to understand how to create large-scale, hierarchical structures from nanometer-scale building blocks, mimicking nature to assemble nanomaterials into useful devices more simply and economically.

High-Temperature Superconductors

NSLS-II allows scientists to study how materials become high-temperature superconductors, and may lead to materials that allow super-efficient electricity transmission at room temperature.

magnet girder NSLS-II user NSLS-II marker NSLS-II staff