Institutions from around the world - universities, colleges, corporations, laboratories - send researchers to the NSLS to perform experiments here that they are not able to perform with their own equipment.
You can see in the chart that the largest fraction of users represents educational institutions. Students come here while assisting professors, learning new experimental techniques for a course of study, and often, to acquire data for a Ph.D. thesis. Even some local high schools participate for programs such as the Westinghouse competition. Today's basic research helps train a new generation of scientists and also becomes tomorrow's new technology!
Many prominent corporations and industrial institutions make the NSLS part of their on-going R&D programs. Oil companies like Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, and Mobil test new catalysts for their refining processes, or devise new methods of examining fuel-bearing rock. Drug companies such as Glaxo, Procter & Gamble, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, Abbott Labs, work on everything from AIDS to depression to joint diseases. Chemical companies including Dow and DuPont study polymers and other materials that could someday find their way into consumer products. IBM and AT&T Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies investigate materials and methods for smaller faster computer chips. Like other users, industrial researchers often publish their results in open literature.
This category covers a wide range of institutions, including the National Institute for Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Air Force.
The national laboratory system in the US includes such prestigious institutions as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and of course, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Many of these labs have unique facilities which are shared among the researchers who travel to the various laboratories on collaborations. For example, Los Alamos calibrate many mirrors and lenses at the NSLS, for use in observatories and to be launched in space telescopes. Even within BNL, researchers from the Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Medical, Applied Science Departments are users of the NSLS facility. Having a world-class user facility such as the NSLS right on campus is a great benefit. For example, the NSLS is used in over 25% of all the technology transfer projects at BNL, which ranged from thin film lithium batteries, high-throughput DNA-sequencing instrumentation, environmentally safe corrosion inhibitors, to converting asbestos-containing waste into harmless materials.
This last category includes non-profit institutions and others which could not be classified under any of the other areas. Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory would be included here.