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Core Capabilities

Brookhaven's Unique Strengths

Brookhaven Lab’s research themes stem directly from our traditional strengths and core capabilities. Our combination of facilities, people, and equipment plays a unique and often world-leading role in addressing national needs that include advancing our fundamental understanding of the universe, developing the breakthrough technology of tomorrow, and educating the next generation of scientists. These capabilities enable Brookhaven to deliver transformational science and technology aligned with the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy.

accelerator science and technology

Accelerator Science and Technology

Our longstanding expertise in accelerator science has advanced the design of groundbreaking machines around the world, beginning with the Cosmotron in 1948 and now including RHIC and the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). Many of the world’s most powerful and productive accelerator facilities incorporate technologies first designed and tested at Brookhaven, where the next generation of discovery instruments continue to be developed. The Lab’s Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) supports a broad range of user-driven research into beam physics, novel radiation sources, and advanced accelerator technology and provides hands-on training for the next generation of accelerator physicists.

How this expertise can benefit your project

Advanced Computer Science

Advanced Computer Science, Visualization & Data

Driven by the massive data collection and storage requirements of our experiments, Brookhaven has become one of the largest data science labs in the DOE complex. We operate the third-largest scientific data archive worldwide, with over 500 petabytes analyzed annually. Our Computational Science Initiative (CSI) also organizes extensive data programs in national security, machine learning, and visual analytics.

Applied Materials

Applied Materials Science and Engineering

As an extension of our expertise in condensed matter physics and materials science, we have a concentrated effort aimed at developing new materials for renewable energy technologies. For example, the world-class capabilities of NSLS-II enable our researchers to study the electrochemical properties of batteries and other energy storage materials in real time and under real-world operating conditions. This work is a key part of our collaboration with New York State on its efforts in modernizing the electric grid. Additionally, in order to understand the route to versatile, room-temperature superconductors, Brookhaven conducts experimental and theoretical research to design, synthesize, understand, predict, and ultimately enhance the properties of these complex materials, particularly for the storage and transmission of electrical energy.

Biological Systems Science

Biological Systems Science

Our researchers study complex biological systems—from the molecular scale to the organism level—with an emphasis on using plants to advance energy and environmental sustainability. Brookhaven’s expertise includes measuring and modeling metabolic changes in single cells and tissues, as well as studying genetic mechanisms in plants, to enable the development of superior biofuel crops. Brookhaven scientists at NSLS-II and our cryo-electron microscopy facility are also investigate the structures and functions of proteins to enhance drug discovery and the treatment of disease.

climate science

Climate Change Sciences and Atmospheric Science

We seek to better understand the effects of greenhouse gases, aerosols, and clouds on Earth’s climate. Our research in this field includes partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility; designing and conducting global change experiments that explore the effects of increased carbon dioxide; studying the formation, growth, and optical properties of clouds and aerosols; providing data to improve large-scale climate models; and probing the consequences of CO2 sequestration on molecular scale geology. Brookhaven scientists use high performance computing systems and close collaborations with researchers from universities and other National Laboratories and institutions to model these complex and critical challenges.

computational science, engineering

Computational Science (Emerging)

Our Computational Science Initiative (CSI) harnesses expertise in computer science, applied mathematics, and domain sciences to develop highly impactful, high-performance numerical simulation codes in nuclear physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, and particle accelerator physics. CSI’s partnerships with industry and other national labs have influenced the development of advanced coding and software for exascale computing. CSI also develops and uses advanced modeling capabilities essential to theoretical analyses across a broad range of fields.

condensed matter physics

Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science

Brookhaven conducts fundamental research on new and improved materials for applications in renewable energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency. These include high-temperature superconductors for carrying electric current with perfect efficiency and new materials for solar cells and electronics. Our research combines scientific, university, and industry expertise with our unique suite of complementary facilities for synthesizing new materials and studying their properties. These programs link basic science with industrial applications, bridging the gap between discovery and deployment of game-changing technology.

lareg scale facilities

Large-Scale User Facilities / R&D Facilities / Advanced Instrumentation

From the beginning, Brookhaven has constructed and operated large-scale research facilities that individual institutions could not afford, and would not have the range of expertise required, to develop on their own. Called “user facilities,” these include NSLS-II, RHIC, ATF, the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, the Tandem Van de Graaff Accelerators, the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the RHIC-ATLAS Computing Facility, and the US ATLAS Analysis Support Center. We also continue to make critical contributions to international facilities including the Large Hadron Collider, the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.


Nuclear and Radiochemistry

Brookhaven’s expertise in nuclear science ranges from medicine to national security. We play a critical role in producing radioisotopes that are otherwise unavailable to the nuclear medicine community and industry. We also have extensive expertise in nuclear safeguards, security policy, and energy policy. The Lab’s efforts have broad application in materials and chemical sciences, nuclear nonproliferation, materials protection and control, advanced radiation detector development, and scientific and technical assistance to DOE’s Radiological Assistance Program. Brookhaven is also a critical player in the New York Energy Policy Institute (NYEPI), which assists government agencies and officials with critical energy decisions. .

nuclear physics

Nuclear Physics

Brookhaven conducts pioneering explorations of the most fundamental aspects of matter. At the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), scientists smash atoms together liberate their inner building blocks (quarks and gluons) and recreate the conditions of the early universe, mere microseconds after the dawn of time. The substance produced, called quark-gluon plasma (QGP), is a nearly perfect liquid that flows more freely than any other. RHIC results have led to unexpected discoveries about the nature of the infant universe and to profound intellectual connections between other physics frontiers, including String Theory and condensed matter systems.

QCD Matter

particle physics

Particle Physics

Our scientists are hunting for the fundamental source of mass, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the origin of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. We provide intellectual and technical leadership in key particle physics experiments that investigate the composition and evolution of the universe, from the smallest building blocks of matter to the mysteries of deep space. For example, Brookhaven serves as the U.S. host institution for the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Physics of the Universe

systems engineering

Systems Engineering and Integration

Brookhaven Lab’s cutting-edge experiments often require custom-built machinery and electronics. Many individual facility components—including accelerators, detectors, and beamlines—that are conceived, designed, and implemented at Brookhaven are complex entities, requiring broad expertise for their successful performance and integration with other systems. Brookhaven’s skill at managing these large-scale projects extends not only to engineering at the various stages of an experiment, but also to developing new technologies that fuel multiple large collaborations throughout the Lab.