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Five-year Strategic Plan


Achieving the Objectives of this Strategic Plan requires an expert staff, an engaged user community, and a set of strategic research partnerships. World-leading research by staff and users must be conducted safely and supported by both excellent operations and state-of-the-art facilities — including those developed and offered in partnership with NSLS-II. Implementing this Plan requires accompanying plans for strengthening these essential pillars, as detailed here.


Leveraging its culture of collaboration and innovation, the CFN will develop and strengthen strategic research partnerships to maximize the impact of CFN expertise and capabilities.

Since inception, a key CFN facility strength has been the partnership with synchrotron light sources co-located at BNL. The CFN will continue to deepen its relationship with NSLS-II through investments in X-ray nanoscience instrumentation, joint projects, development of staff expertise, and streamlined access mechanisms. This relationship between facilities has benefitted users, who in many cases request coordinated access to both CFN and NSLS-II. Some examples include:

  • The CFN has participated in developing new X-ray beamlines for nanoscience and maintains Partner User Agreements with NSLS-II to operate user programs at four endstations. Taking advantage of the brightness, coherence, and focusing at NSLS-II, these joint ventures are establishing leading capabilities in X-ray scattering, photoelectron spectromicroscopy, and operando spectroscopy. CFN is contributing essential equipment and staff, helping nanoscience users to access unique experimental capabilities.
  • The CFN plans continued investments in these partnerships through major equipment upgrades and will explore new partnerships in areas of mutual scientific and technical interest, for example in hard X-ray spectroscopy and infrared spectromicroscopy.
  • CFN capabilities and expertise are instrumental in developing new capabilities at NSLS-II. For example, CFN nanofabrication is used to create high-performance X-ray optics and reference samples for method development at beamlines.
  • The CFN will continue to establish joint projects with NSLS-II staff and Users. For example, it will exploit the complementary properties of X-rays and electrons to image the same catalyst under realistic operating conditions, to interrogate working photo-electrochemical systems, and for the imaging and spectroscopic probing of soft and hybrid hierarchical systems.
  • The CFN and NSLS-II are collaborating to develop and implement data analysis and machine learning software for large data sets collected in synchrotron-based and electron-microscopy experiments. This work benefits from the on-going BNL investments in its Computational Sciences Initiative. CFN has initiated pilot projects at several beamlines to develop advanced analysis methods.

The CFN will continue to establish partnerships with universities and industry in areas of strategic research overlap, to maximize the impact of CFN capabilities. Examples include strong engagements with Energy Frontier Research Centers in catalysis and energy storage, and emerging partnership opportunities in quantum information science. Intellectual property and technology transfer offer other ways to increase CFN impact. For example, CFN has recently transferred its nanostructured antireflection technology to a start-up company for commercialization. Finally, Partner users can provide investments of expertise and equipment that can help CFN grow in new directions.