General Information

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Transition Topics

As of September 30, 2014, the NSLS permanently ceased operation. NSLS-II will be ramped up as rapidly as possible to serve our large and productive user community.  The tabs below provide information related to various transition topics.

If you have comments, suggestions or questions, please contact the Photon Sciences User Administrator, at  gcisco@bnl.gov.

News & Updates

The National Synchrotron Light Source has been an outstanding synchrotron facility serving a broad scientific user community for the past three decades with tremendous scientific productivity and technological and societal impact. For the past number of years, NSLS has consistently served over 2300 unique users annually in materials physics and engineering, chemistry, environmental and life sciences, and industry, leading to over 900 publications per year. This user community at NSLS constitutes a substantial portion (about ~23%) of the US light source community. Thus the closing of NSLS at the end of September 2014 will result in a loss of capabilities and capacities until NSLS-II is substantially built-out, and will cause significant changes in how the existing NSLS user community will conduct their research and eventually transition to NSLS-II.

Recognizing this fact, we are implementing a multi-facetted approach for addressing the transition period from NSLS to NSLS-II. Our plan includes the following four elements:

  • Build out NSLS-II beamlines as rapidly as possible, including the transfer of NSLS beamline programs to NSLS-II bending magnet and 3-pole wiggler beamlines to increase early capacity (i.e. the NxtGen Project).
  • Work with specific user groups at NSLS to identify and establish critical beamline capabilities and long-term partnerships at appropriate beamlines at NSLS-II, and make interim arrangements at the early suite of NSLS-II beamlines if necessary.
  • Coordinate with other DOE synchrotron facilities to identify and communicate to users similar capabilities at ALS, APS, and SSRL, and the potential for increased capacities for certain techniques at these facilities.
  • Develop and implement specific user support and coordination plans at a set of specific beamlines at ALS, APS, SSRL, as well as at other SR facilities such as CHESS and CLS, to accommodate existing NSLS users in areas that are strategically important to NSLS-II.

This Transition website is aimed at helping NSLS users identify resources to continue their research programs during the transition period.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have prepared this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) below. They should address your most pressing questions, but if not, then contact us and we can answer you and/or add your question to the FAQs.

The most recent questions will be added at the top of the existing list.


Can’t NSLS run at the same time the NSLS-II facility is running?

No. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences does not plan to fund the operation of NSLS past the end of September, 2014

When will NSLS shut down?

At the end of fiscal year 2014: September 30, 2014.

Will NSLS run at full operations until then?

Yes, as long as the DOE budget is allocated normally for NSLS operations, which is what we expect. We anticipate running 5,000 hours per year as we usually do until NSLS stops operations.

How will General User proposals be handled until then?

Same as now, except that you will not be able to request time after September 2014, even if the proposal still shows that it’s active.

What help is available to General Users who aren’t sure where they can continue their scientific research program?

Take a look at our matrices, which are on the "Techniques Across DOE" tab. This may help you get an idea where the capabilities exist for your particular technique. To get started, you can contact the User Administrator at the particular facility (listed on their web site) for help, or contact the Photon Sciences User Administrator, at gcisco@bnl.gov.

When will NSLS-II be operational, and how many beamlines and hours will be available?

We expect that NSLS-II will be operational in fiscal year 2015, which starts on October 1, 2014. At that time, we expect to have at least the 7 NSLS-II Project beamlines undergoing commissioning.  We plan to provide ~2300 user hours of beamtime in FY15.

Techniques Across DOE

To assist in how and where your scientific research projects can be completed, we’ve prepared matrices giving the number of beamlines providing various scientific techniques that will be available at NSLS-II and are available at other U.S. DOE light sources.

As part of the User Transition Forum in May 2012, an effort was undertaken to understand the beamlines that are available across the DOE synchrotron complex, and how that number (and technique mix) might change through the NSLS to NSLS-II transition. The basic framework was proposed by Tony Lanzirotti, University of Chicago, who developed the first matrix for X-ray microprobe capabilities at NSLS, APS, ALS, SSRL, and those anticipated for NSLS-II. The idea caught on, and we worked to gather information for other techniques and instruments.

To provide some common structure or classification for the beamlines, we adopted the nomenclature used by DOE to describe experimental techniques at light-source beamlines. A number of volunteers across the facilities worked to collect, classify, and project the likely techniques at the facilities through 2016. We worked to make sure beamlines are only listed and counted once, although many have capabilities across techniques, and some (microprobes in particular) might be thought of as spectroscopy instruments that happen to look at small samples. A comparison of the existing beamlines at NSLS and those planned for NSLS-II organized to this scheme is given here.

With all these caveats, it should be clear there is some lack of precision in the overall exercise, but it should be helpful within particular techniques to see where gaps exist, and where capability is expected to be available at any particular time. Have a look at the individual technique tables for details. Overall, one can see from the DOE Beamline Distribution that some areas of spectroscopy and scattering will be especially compromised during the transition.  Users are encouraged to interact with the staff at the facilities to try and understand what opportunities will be available to pursue their particular research.

The links at right lead directly to PDFs of the specific matrices.

DOE and Other Partner Facilities

After exploring the information about anticipated technique availability at NSLS and other facilities in the next few years (provided under the "Techniques Across DOE" tab), you may wish to contact our DOE and Other Partner Facilities for information and/or questions you have about the capabilities their facilities can offer.

 Proposal submission for each of these facilities are as follows:

  Cycle 1 dates
(Proposal deadline)
Cycle 2 dates
(Proposal deadline)
Cycle 3 dates
(Proposal deadline)
APS (Argonne) Jan – April (last Fri in Oct) May – Aug (first Fri in Mar) Oct – Dec (first Fri in July)
SSRL (Stanford) (non-MX) Feb – Apr (Sept 1) May – Aug (Dec 1) Nov – Dec (June 1)
SSRL (Stanford) (MX) Mar – May (Dec 1) June – Aug (Apr 1) Nov – Dec (July 1)
ALS (Berkeley) Jan – July (first Wed in Sept) Aug – Dec (first Wed in March)  

Deadlines at all synchrotrons can change, so look here for updated info:

 Specific Transition Beamtime Arrangements

In addition to informing the user community about the opportunities at other facilities, NSLS-II has identified several strategic areas where the existing NSLS user groups have been productive and/or will be strategically important to the science programs at NSLS-II.  For these select set of programs, NSLS-II plans to actively coordinate with other DOE facilities to make specific near-term arrangements, with committed significant resources and staffing, to support existing NSLS users at the appropriate beamlines at these other facilities.  These arrangements include the following:

Infrared Spectromicroscopy Program at ALS Beamlines 1.4 and 5.4

NSLS-II has established a 3-year Approved Program at the ALS beamlines 1.4 and 5.4 for 15% of the available beam time on each beamline.  In addition, ALS is building a third infrared beamline 2.4 in order to develop full-field FTIR imaging and tomography capabilities. Prospective users will go through the NSLS-II PASS system to gain access to this allocated time, with user support provided by PS staff during the experiments.  The infrared spectromicroscopy programs at ALS Beamlines 1.4 and 5.4 feature Thermo Nicolet infrared spectrometers and microscopes for single-pixel spectromicroscopy and mapping.  The endstations are essentially identical to the equipment at NSLS beamline U2B spanning a spectral range from 650 – 4000 cm-1 with a diffraction-limited spatial resolution of 3 – 10 μm in the mid-infrared spectral region. Scientific applications span from biological samples, environmental samples, novel compounds, forensic studies, laminates, polymers, fibers, particulate contamination, and materials science applications.

Contact: Lisa Miller (lmiller@bnl.gov, 631.344.2091)

Transmission X-ray Microscopy Program at SSRL Beamline 6-2 and at APS

The transmission x-ray microscopy (TXM) program at SSRL beamline 6-2-C is being arranged as a collaborative access program (CAP).  Beamline 6-2-C is a multi-pole Wiggler insertion device beamline and provides much higher intensity beam compared with the NSLS X8C bending magnet source with the energy range 5-11keV for TXM applications. The TXM instrument at BL 6-2-C is a very similar instrument running at NSLS and provides absorption and phase contrast modes with 30 um field of view and 30nm spatial resolution.  XANES capability for chemical mapping as well as nanotomography is available. In addition, NSLS-II plans to relocate the cutting-edge TXM instrument from NSLS X8C to a bending magnet beamline at APS or at another facility.  This is being actively pursued in close collaboration with staff and management at the other facilities.  We expect to finalize this arrangement soon.

Contact: Jun Wang (junwang@bnl.gov, 631.344.2661)

Hard X-ray Spectroscopy Program at SSRL BL 2-2

NSLS-II has established a collaborative access program (CAP) in X-ray Spectroscopy for 80% of available beam time at the SSRL BL 2-2, in collaboration with the Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium (SCC) and the Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences (CSB), with ~1.5 FTE scientific staff in total providing user support at the beamline.  In addition to staffing, PS plans to bring operating equipment to BL 2-2, including sample cells, detectors, and gas handling apparatus for catalysis research.  Prospective users will go through the NSLS-II PASS system to gain access to this beamline, with user support provided by PS and partner staff during the experiments.

Contact: Klaus Attenkofer (kattenkofer@bnl.gov, 631.344.5146)

 Macromolecular Crystallography Program at SSRL BL 14-1 and ALS

NSLS-II has established a collaborative access program (CAP) in Macromolecular Crystallography for 50% of available beam time at the SSRL BL 14-1, with ~1 FTE PS scientific staff providing user support at the beamline. The PS staff will also coordinate with the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at ALS to provide support to NSLS users at the structural biology beamlines at the ALS.  Perspective users will go through the SSRL and ALS proposal systems for accessing the beam times, with the PS staff providing the beam time allocation for individual NSLS user groups within the allotted time.

Contact: Sean McSweeney (smcsweeney@bnl.gov, 631-344-4506)

Energy Dispersive X-ray Diffraction Program at APS Beamline 6-BM

NSLS-II has formed a collaborating access team (CAT), with COMPRES and APS as partners, to operate the 6-BM beamline at APS as a mini-CAT.  The beamline consists of two white beam hutches, 6-BM-A and 6-BM-B, with the 6-BM-A accommodating the materials engineering and battery research program and the 6-BM-B accommodating the COMPRES program. The mini-CAT will be co-Directed by BNL-PS and COMPRES, with 2 FTE scientific staff in total among all partners providing user support.  Beam time allocation will be through the APS proposal system with input from the BNL-PS and COMPRES co-Directors.

  • Materials Engineering Program (APS Beamline 6-BM-A): The program at 6-BM-A uses high-energy polychromatic x-rays above 50 keV from a bending magnet source for energy-dispersive x-ray diffraction (EDXRD).  Two solid-state germanium detectors capture diffracted x-rays in a transmission geometry (at angles of 5-10 degrees) allowing simultaneous capture of scattering vectors in the horizontal and vertical directions.  Variable incident and diffracted slits of typical size 0.1mm are used to form gage volumes of approximately 0.1x0.1x1.4 mm3.

    This probe allows significant penetration (several mm) into engineering materials to quantify phase evolution, orientation distribution, and stress field in them.  Large sample coverage will be provided by XYZ translations (several cm each) and 3-axis tilt/rotations, including full 360 degree vertical rotation.   Additional hardware includes an rbin BT-5HC 2-channel battery cycler with hardware/software interface for visualizing simultaneous battery charge discharge curves and EDXRD. Arbin MITS Pro battery testing software provides comprehensive tools for testing batteries, super-capacitors, electro-chemical cells and others. This instrumentation is optimized for industrial and academic groups involved in engineering and energy storage research.

    Contact: Ron Pindak (rpindak@bnl.gov, 631-344-7529)
  • High Pressure Program (APS Beamline 6-BM-B):  The high-pressure program at the 6-BM beamline at APS will feature a DDIA apparatus capable of generating pressure of 15 GPa and temperatures of 2000K as the sample is loaded in a uniaxial stress field of up to 5 GPa.  A detector array enables the diffraction vector to sample grains over a range of angles relative to the applied stress field, yielding a precise measure of the stress (10 MPa resolution).  Imaging the sample allows measurement of changes in dimensions (strain resolution of 10-4).  The stress field can be varied with time or applied uniformly over long periods of time.  This system allows measurements of the quantitative rheological properties of materials under a variety of P-T conditions.  This has attracted a large Earth science community interested in the deformation properties of the Earth.  Time varying stress and temperature fields allow measurement of dynamic properties such as anelasticity, elastic dispersion, kinetics of phase transitions, and thermal diffusivity at conditions of elevated P and T.

    Contact: Don Weidner (Donald.Weidner@sunysb.edu, 631-632-8211)

User Transition Forum

While clear transition paths for many NSLS users have been identified and are being implemented at NSLS-II beamlines, we recognize that for certain existing science programs there are availability and capacity gaps of one or more years during the NSLS to NSLS-II transition period. To mitigate such gaps, we have been working closely with other DOE synchrotron facilities to identify existing and/or additional beamline capacities at the other facilities that can be used by NSLS users.

Plans for transitioning between NSLS and NSLS-II began more than 2 years ago. This effort was kicked off at the 2012 NSLS/CFN Users’ Meeting, where a special User Transition Forum was held at BNL, organized jointly by PS and PS User Executive Committee, with participations by representatives from APS, ALS, SSRL, as well as DOE. At the forum, a careful analysis of the beamline capacities at APS, ALS, and SSRL in the main techniques categories – scattering, spectroscopy, and imaging was discussed and presented to the NSLS user community. A set of matching beamlines at these other facilities for specific techniques was identified as potential resources where NSLS users can conduct their research before the corresponding NSLS-II capabilities become available. If you are interested in further information about this Forum, see the links to the presentations below.