General Lab Information

A User Facility for Advanced Accelerator & Laser Research

Part of the DOE Accelerator Stewardship Program

The Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) is the DOE Office of Science User Facility for the Accelerator Stewardship Program. It provides users with high brightness electron beams, near-infrared (NIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) laser beams, and an ultrafast electron diffraction (UED) facility. User proposals are reviewed by the ATF Program Advisory Committee and meritorious proposals that advance the science or technology of accelerators and lasers are granted beam time.

The ATF pioneered the concept of a user facility studying properties of modern accelerators and new techniques of particle acceleration over 25 years ago. Its role continues to evolve as a valuable resource to the advanced accelerator and laser user community.

Electron Beam Capability

High-brightness, 75 MeV, sub-picosecond, 3 kA electron bunches are delivered to the experimental hall where user experiments can be executed in two beam lines. The experimental beam lines are fully equipped with beam manipulation and diagnostic capabilities as well as special insertion devices to support diverse user requirements. The unique capabilities available at the ATF include the possibility to combine the electron beam with synchronized high-power LWIR and NIR lasers.

NIR Laser Capability

The ATF’s Nd:YAG laser system, which drives the facility’s photocathode RF gun, delivers beams (1064 nm and 532 nm) for users can be used for both physics and diagnostic purposes.

A new Ti:Sapphire laser system has recently been deployed in collaboration with colleagues from the Naval Research Laboratory. This system can deliver over 10 mJ to user experiments in a <55 fs FWHM pulse. A further upgrade to deliver TW-class beams to user experiments is scheduled to come online in 2021.

Both the Nd:YAG laser and the Ti:Sapphire laser can be synchronized and used in combination with the facility’s electron beams and LWIR laser.

LWIR Laser Capability

ATF's unique 5 terawatt and 2 picosecond LWIR (9.2 µm) carbon dioxide laser is the first gas-based laser in the world to utilize chirped pulse amplification (CPA). With it, ATF users can explore the long-wavelength scaling of various physical processes and new approaches to particle acceleration and x-ray generation. Additionally, the ATF R&D program is underway that will lay the groundwork for providing compressed pulse-widths in the sub-picosecond domain with peak powers measured in the tens of terawatts.

UED Facility

The Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED) Facility supplies 3 MeV electron beams to study structural properties of materials. The facility supports the development of new UED approaches as well as technology development for ultrafast electron microscopy applications.

Electron beams are supplied from a 1.6-cell S-band photocathode RF gun operating with a repetition rate of up to 48 Hz. A Ti:Sapphire laser system provides sample pumping capability along with femtosecond-class electron pulses from the RF gun.

The system supports TEM-style samples (3mm diameter) that can be cryogenically cooled. A high efficiency detector, based on an Andor camera, is mounted 4 meters downstream and provides shot-by-shot electron diffraction pattern measurements.

Research Opportunities

The unique combination of a high-brightness electron beam and high-power picosecond CO2 laser opens unsurpassed opportunities for user exploration of new ideas for advanced particle accelerators and radiation sources.

Research Opportunities

This diagram highlights variety of user experiments from past and present enabled by the ATF’s e-beam and laser used separately or in their combination. Browse through the Upgrade Proposal pages to learn about ATF’s milestone contributions to the accelerator science and new opportunities for advanced studies after the planned facility upgrade. This upgrade is supported by a BNL Program Development grant and enabled by the DOE, Office of High-Energy Physics.

  • About the ATF

    October 4, 2019

    The Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) is a proposal driven, Program Advisory Committee reviewed facility that provides users with high-brightness electron- and laser-beams. The ATF pioneered the concept of a user facility studying properties of modern accelerators and new techniques of particle acceleration over 25 years ago. It remains a valuable resource to the user community. ATF serves the U.S. Dept. of Energy Accelerator Stewardship program.

The Accelerator Test Facility is a member of the Society for Science at User Research Facilities (SSURF), which represents the interests of all users who conduct research at U.S. national scientific user facilities, as well as scientists from U.S. universities, laboratories, and industry who use similar facilities outside the United States.