Brookhaven: the Future

National Synchrotron Light Source II

Slated to be the brightest light source in the world, National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) is the planned successor to the NSLS. By all accounts, it will be a stunning facility. Expected to begin construction in 2009 and operations in 2012, it will make use of the most advanced technology, producing x-ray light 10,000 times brighter than the NSLS is able to. It will be huge — four times larger than the NSLS. It will attract some of the world’s top researchers. And it will make possible some very exciting scientific work.


National Synchrotron Light Source II

The superlative character and combination of capabilities provided by NSLS-II will have broad impact on a wide range of disciplines and scientific initiatives in the coming decades, including new studies of small crystals in structural biology, a wide range of nanometer-resolution probes for nanoscience, coherent imaging of the structure and dynamics of disordered materials, greatly increased applicability of inelastic x-ray scattering, and properties of materials under extreme conditions. See the NSLS-II website.

Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Another new user facility being completed at Brookhaven is the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). The overarching research goal of the center is to help solve our nation’s energy challenges by exploring materials that use energy more efficiently and by researching practical alternatives to fossil fuels, such as hydrogen-based energy sources and improved, more affordable solar energy systems.

The Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Under that energy banner, CFN studies will focus on three key areas: nanocatalysis, the acceleration of chemical reactions using nanoparticles; biological and soft nanomaterials, such as polymers and liquid crystals, where specialized design will lead to new functions; and nanoelectronic materials, for unprecedented control of the electrons that will lead to new communication and energy control devices. See the CFN website.


Discoveries at RHIC have captured worldwide attention. The stunning surprise that the early-universe matter created at RHIC behaves more like a liquid than a gas has enriched physicists’ understanding of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) — the theory that describes the interactions of the smallest known components of the atomic nucleus. But it has also raised compelling new questions about QCD.

QCDOC supercomputer

QCDOC computer

These questions have prompted the need for the evolution of RHIC to further the study of QCD both experimentally and theoretically. Key improvements planned for the RHIC facility and a symbiotic research program using Brookhaven’s two 10-teraflop QCDOC (for QCD on a chip) supercomputers (above) will create a new QCD laboratory at RHIC unlike any research center in the world. The elements of this laboratory, known as RHIC-II and eRHIC, will play a major role in advancing our understanding of the quark-gluon plasma and the visible universe, the origin of proton spin, and the possible role of another state of matter known as “color glass condensate” in the structure and interaction of high-energy subatomic particles.

Expanded study of these exotic forms of matter will teach us more about how the properties of our world emerge from the interactions of subatomic particles. More about RHIC-II and eRHIC...

Did you know?

NSLS-II will provide a major medical advance by enabling the study of the cancer biology of animal models of breast cancer and other cancers that are typically too small to be reliably detected by current methods.

Nanoscience Initiative

The Center for Functional Nanomaterials is one of five nanoscale science research centers (DOE NSRCs) funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The new NSRC buildings will contain clean rooms, labs for nanofabrication, one-of-a-kind signature instruments not generally available except at major scientific user facilities.