The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and its future successor, NSLS-II, can help companies large and small solve research and manufacturing problems, generate new technologies and products, and stay competitive. The Photon Sciences Directorate would like to encourage greater use of its facilities by industrial researchers and facilitate collaborations between industry and NSLS staff, as well as government and academic institutions.
A synchrotron light source is a large machine that produces intense beams of infrared, ultraviolet, and x-ray light for the study of substances at very small scales, from looking at the molecular structure of proteins to probing the electronic properties of the next generation of computer-chip materials.
More specifically, a synchrotron is a large ring-shaped particle accelerator in which electrons are energized to velocities very near the speed of light. Appearing circular from above, a synchrotron actually consists of many short, straight sections connected by large magnets. As the electrons travel from one straight section to the next – their path bent by the magnets – they emit light, from infrared rays to extremely strong x-rays, depending on the magnet’s strength. This is the phenomenon of synchrotron radiation.
In the newest “third-generation” synchrotrons, magnet-based devices can be inserted into the straight sections, manipulating the electrons’ movement in ways that cause them to emit even more intense light than the bending magnets.
The light is collected and directed down pipe-like “beamlines” to research endstations, where scientists can then use it to study many kinds of material samples, from cells to semiconductors. By analyzing how the samples respond to the light, scientists can discover new and valuable information about the samples’ molecular structures and their electronic and magnetic properties.
Synchrotron facilities can accommodate many scientists at once, performing many types of research at once. The existing NSLS has 59 beamlines; NSLS-II will have more than 60.
For more information on NSLS, take our online tour or check out our history page.
NSLS and NSLS-II may be able to assist your company in ways that you never knew were possible – and, ultimately, help you become more innovative, competitive, and profitable.
Performing experiments at a synchrotron facility – using the unique properties of synchrotron light – can be incredibly useful and beneficial to commercial entities from a variety of industries, from biotechnology to renewable energy, from microelectronics to pharmaceuticals.
The quality and strength of synchrotron light cannot be produced by conventional sources of light. Using synchrotron light, scientists can unearth details at the micro and sub-micro levels and watch, in real time, chemical and electronic processes that take place at the atomic scale. With the commissioning of NSLS-II, even nanoscale details will soon be accessible. Peering this far into materials is not possible in “regular” laboratories.
The unique tools, research techniques, and support offered at NSLS and, soon, NSLS-II, may be ideal for industrial scientists and researchers who would like to find solutions to scientific or engineering problems faced in their own laboratories, broaden their research interests, and enhance their current research programs.
In short, synchrotron-based research offers these key advantages: