NSLS-II Early Science Workshop a Success

A workshop that focused on first possible experiments at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), held August 12-13, 2013, at Brookhaven National Laboratory, hinted at the exciting opportunities for new science at the facility. Existing and future users heard several talks from their peers and discussed possible research projects, beginning the process of creating a pool of experiment proposals and forming research teams. A workshop report that summarizes these discussions will be available in September.

The experiments to run on this suite of beamlines will aid in the NSLS-II science commissioning phase, expected to begin in October 2014.

After welcoming remarks from Brookhaven Lab Director Doon Gibbs and an introduction from Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences Steve Dierker, who briefed attendees on the NSLS-II status and timeline, a series of science talks delved into the “grand challenge” problems in science that NSLS-II will help to address. The speakers included Paul Zschack, deputy director of the Photon Division within the Photon Sciences Directorate, who discussed the capabilities of the initial suite of NSLS-II beamlines.

But the essence of the workshop was found in the six breakout sessions on day two, where the most important discussions and deliberations took place. The sessions represented six of the seven initial “project” beamlines: Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN), Submicron Resolution X-Ray (SRX) spectroscopy, Coherent Hard X-ray (CHX) scattering, Coherent Soft X-ray scattering beamlines 1 and 2 (CXS-1 and CXS-2), and X-ray Powder Diffraction (XPD). A separate session for the Inelastic X-ray Scattering (IXS) beamline will take place on October 1.

During his closing remarks, Photon Division Director Qun Shen indicated that the workshop had been very successful. More than 260 people attended (more than a dozen participated remotely); out of those, the majority came from institutions other than Brookhaven. Each breakout session featured several presentations that yielded many animated discussions on which experiments might have the greatest science impact and will best take advantage of NSLS-II’s capabilities.

The topics covered were wide-ranging, from fundamental physics ideas on materials complexity and dynamics to basic needs for conducting advanced studies of functional materials systems, such as fuel cells and energy-storage schemes.

Some specific science themes emerged as well, such as “mesoscale” science – a new frontier for research – which examines the properties and phenomena that occur at the border between the quantum world of assemblies of single atoms and the complex world of functional systems.

The breakout-session discussions were also a starting point for the formation of research teams that would best achieve the research goals at NSLS-II. Special attention was paid to who might represent the areas of theory and analysis, ancillary measurements, and specimen development.

The workshop shows that this is certainly an exciting time at NSLS-II. Stay tuned for more stories in future editions of Photon Sciences eNews.

2013-4260  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom