Industry research is an integral part of the research portfolio at the National Synchrotron Light Source II. Throughout the 32-year history of its predecessor facility, NSLS, corporate partnership in beamline programs flourished within sectors such as polymers, catalysis and petrochemicals, microelectronics, advanced materials, and pharmaceuticals. In April 2014, NSLS-II organized a focused Workshop on Industrial Research at NSLS-II (link to the Workshop site). At the Workshop, the participants actively engaged in a wide range of discussions on topics of great interest to the Industry community. A summary of these discussions were captured in this White Paper. NSLS-II has been working with the community and the NSLS-II Science Advisory Committee to address many of the comments and recommendations from the Workshop. Capabilities are now being developed at NSLS-II beamlines tailored to industrial applications, particularly in the areas of in-situ and in-operandi research with automated specimen handling. Staff support is being enhanced to support industry users, flexible and timely access modes are being created, and industry research partnerships are being formed that include external scientists in proposal review panels and other advisory committees.
Is your company interested in utilizing NSLS-II? Contact NSLS-II Deputy for Science Qun Shen at (631) 344-3465.
In 2013, an investigational Lyme disease vaccine co-developed by researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at Baxter International Inc., a U.S. based healthcare company, saw promising results in clinical trials. Since the early 1990s, Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and the late John Dunn, Ph.D., a biologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, spearheaded the initial development of the original vaccine antigen concept, and together with researchers at Baxter International helped bioengineer the formulation used in the clinical trial. Through the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory, The Research Foundation of the State of New York licensed intellectual property of the Lyme vaccine technology to Baxter International. Baxter International researchers in collaboration with Luft and Dunn developed further innovations employed in the Lyme vaccine used in the clinical trial.
The quest to harness hydrogen as the clean-burning fuel of the future demands the perfect catalysts—nanoscale machines that enhance chemical reactions. Scientists must tweak atomic structures to achieve an optimum balance of reactivity, durability, and industrial-scale synthesis. Scientists at Brookhaven Lab's National Synchrotron Light Source revealed the atomic density, distribution, and uniformity of the metals in nanocatalysts using a technique called x-ray diffraction, where high-frequency light scatters and bends after interacting with individual atoms. The collaboration also used a scanning transmission electron microscope at Brookhaven's Center for Functional Nanomaterials to pinpoint the different sub-nanometer atomic patterns. With this instrument, a focused beam of electrons bombarded the particles, creating a map of both the core and shell structures. Proton Onsite, a company specializing in splitting hydrogen from water and other similar processes, has completed feasibility tests for deploying the technology in their production of water electrolyzers, which will now require about 98 percent less platinum.
Research conducted at the National Synchrotron light Source enabled General Electric (GE) researchers to understand in detail the internal chemical reactions and associated structural changes of an actual commercial battery during real-time charging and discharging. GE made use of high-energy x-rays and a detector developed by Rutgers University to penetrate the battery and gain information about the chemical content of its interior. This research helped GE engineers fine-tune battery design and improve performance. As a result, GE moved the battery, dubbed “Durathon,” into commercial production for transportation and grid-storage applications, and constructed a new mass-production factory in Schenectady, NY.
A range of flexible access modes—including proprietary access—are being developed for all users including those from external industry.
Questions: please contact Industrial Program Coordinator Jun Wang, (631) 344-2661.
NSLS-II encourages the interested industry partners to establish and Industry Users Consortium at NSLS-II beamlines through the Partner User Proposal approach. The intent of the Consortium is to enable members to contribute to beamline operations by supporting Photon Sciences staff at the beamline(s), and to gain access to the beamline(s) for their R&D needs in a timely manner and with a guaranteed amount of beam time. This is essentially a model for collaborative research with pooled resources. By making a common investment, members of the Consortium can benefit from the joint investment, yet still retain proprietary rights and competitive/economic advantage.
Industrial R&D needs require the development of
highly automated beamlines with high sample throughput
for some key workhorse characterization techniques, e.g.
x-ray diffraction (XRD), x-ray absorption fine structure
(XAFS), micro- and nano-tomography, high energy
diffraction, and macromolecular crystallography, that
are much sought after for industrial research. Most of
these beamlines at NSLS-II intend to have the capability
for remote access form the home institution where
We recognize that time-to-market and the rapid pace of innovation are vital features of the competitive landscape. We provide rapid access to a suite of beamline techniques that are highly demanded by industry, with quick turnaround, and provide the required technical and practical support for meaningful and actionable results.
For smaller companies, especially ones that do not have knowledgeable researchers who can fully interpret data, providing analyzed data for a fee can be an effective alternative. Mail-in sample service is another tier of access to provide rapid turnaround where the beamline staff simply provides the industrial user with raw data under a proprietary access mode.
In cases where the access needs to be proprietary, what is preferred is a proprietary access mode with the added flexibility of beamline staff signing a non-disclosure agreement with the industrial user.