Accelerators play a role in many aspects of our lives. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that there are 30,000 accelerators operating in the world. Many of these are small and conduct behind-the-scenes work: producing beams of radiation used to sterilize medical equipment and keep pathogens at bay in our food supply, imprinting computer chips with ions to improve their performance, producing radioisotopes for cancer diagnosis and treatment, and scanning shipping containers for illicit materials.
Brookhaven National Laboratory, operator of several accelerator complexes, has a global reputation for advancing the frontiers of accelerator technology and accelerator-based science. Our facilities and experts are available for supporting the leading scientific endeavors of academia, industry, medicine, national security and education.
We welcome opportunities for new collaborations and applications of our facilities and will continue to push the limits of accelerator technology.
The Courant-Snyder strong focusing principle, conceived at Brookhaven Lab and first employed in the Lab's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, revolutionized accelerator design and has since become one of the guiding principles behind every new accelerator in the world. That tradition continues today.
Innovative Brookhaven designs of superconducting magnets are in use at worldwide accelerator facilities, including the Large Hadron Collider. Expertise in high-temperature superconducting magnets is expected to be of central importance to future facilities and also to Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage systems. The Lab’s developing competencies in superconducting RF technology for high intensity beams, high-brightness and high-energy Energy Recovery Linacs (ERL), and innovative electron cooling techniques, together with its established world leadership in acceleration of spin-polarized beams to high energy, lay the groundwork for a future electron-ion collider using the RHIC facility. The ERL development is also valuable to research on very high brightness x-ray free electron lasers (FELs).
Research done at Brookhaven accelerator facilities has led to numerous awards, including nine Nobel Prizes:
1976 - Samuel C.C. Ting used the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron to discover the J/psi particle, confirming the existence of the top quark.
1980 - James Cronin and Val Fitch used the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron to discover charge-parity (CP) violation—a flaw in physics' central belief that the universe is symmetrical.
1988 - Leon Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, and Jack Steinberger used the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron to discover the elusive muon neutrino.
2003 - Roderick MacKinnon used NSLS on research explaining how a class of proteins helps to generate nerve impulses—the electrical activity that underlies all movement, sensation, and perhaps even thought.
2009 - Thomas A. Steitz and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan used NSLS and other synchrotron sources to produce atomic-level images that helped reveal the inner-workings of the ribosome, a cellular complex responsible for producing the thousands of proteins that are required for living cells.
Brookhaven's state-of-the-art facilities are available to industry for research and development in many fields. To gain access to our facilities, contact the Guest, User & Visitor Center.
We commercialize discoveries and technologies by fostering collaborations with industry through licensing and sponsored research. We actively promote the formation of start-up companies around technologies developed here. We grant licenses and take equity in new ventures arising from our discoveries, and we also seek funding from investors to develop new intellectual assets as they move toward the marketplace.