The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Decker, Thurman, and Zholents of the APS Receive Argonne Board of Governors Awards


Alexander (Sasha) Zholents has been presented with the Argonne National Laboratory Distinguished Performance Award by the UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors. Zholents is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and a Senior Physicist in the Argonne Accelerator Physics Division (ASD) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS). Glenn Decker (APS Upgrade) has been presented with an Outstanding Safety Leadership Award by the UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors and Arista Thurman (APS Engineering Support Division) has been presented with an Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award by the UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors.

Alexander Zholents has made seminal contributions to accelerator science, particularly toward ultrafast x-ray generation concepts and demonstrations of those concepts. He has used his detailed understanding of electron beam dynamics and manipulation, and synchrotron radiation to propose and eventually demonstrate most of the new concepts in ultrafast x-rays over the past two decades. He has built an extraordinary national and international reputation based on his fundamental contributions to accelerator science and technology with applications to high-energy physics, synchrotron radiation, terahertz technology, x-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs), and more recently to development of compact high-gradient accelerators.

As director for the ASD from 2010-2017, he spearheaded and supported several initiatives for increasing the reliability of the APS accelerator complex and led the effort to explore cooling methods for the hadron beams in the proposed Electron-Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Over the past 15 years, Zholents pioneered a concept now known as x-ray laser-enhanced attosecond pulse generation (XLEAP). In this scheme, a laser modulates the distribution of electrons in a linear accelerator to create attosecond “microbunches” spaced at the wavelength of the laser. When these microbunches are transported downstream to an FEL, the peak current of the microbunches emit powerful attosecond x-ray pulses. Although this scheme was originally proposed by Zholents prior to the operation of the world’s first XFEL, the technique was finally demonstrated at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as part of an Argonne-SLAC collaboration. A second phase known as XLEAP-II is now being installed at the LCLS and will provide even more control and photons within the attosecond pulses.

Zholents received his M.S. in physics from the Physics Department of the Institute of Electrical Engineering, Novosibirsk, in 1973; and his Ph.D. in experimental high-energy physics from the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Russian Academy of Science in 1983.

Zholents was a researcher at the Budker Institute and rose to Leading Scientist when he left in 1991 for the European Center for Nuclear Research, where he was a visiting scientist. In 1992, he joined the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a staff scientist, rising to senior scientist until 2010, when he was named ASD director at Argonne from 2010 to 2017. He has been an Argonne Distinguished Fellow from 2017 to the present.

During his tenure at the Budker Institute, he received several awards for excellence of scientific research and outstanding service. In 2000, he received the Klaus Halbach award for development of a technique for generation of femtosecond x-ray pulses.

Among his many accolades, he was elected Senior Scientist of the Russian Academy of Science in 1985 and has been a member of the American Physical Society since 1992, a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 2005, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2007, and a Member-at-Large of the American Physical Society Division of Physics of Beams since 2017. He is the author or co-author of 254 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

As the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade Associate Project Manager for Accelerator Systems, Glenn Decker was key to keeping the project safe and on track during minimum-safe operations last year. He was responsible for beam physics, electrical systems, mechanical systems, magnetic measurements and alignments, and many other installations. He oversaw all these complex systems remotely from his home office, which many of us know can present extra hurdles and roadblocks.

To assure that activities on-site could proceed safely and effectively, he implemented ISM core functions by expanding the use of the ANL AWARE work planning and control tools to develop task-based planning, including management approval and worker authorization of all APS Upgrade accelerator work control documents. Under his watch, over 1,000 magnets for the upgraded machine arrived. They underwent rigorous mechanical receipt inspection, hi-pot electrical testing, magnetic measurement, and survey and alignment. Additionally, over 1,000 power supplies were received and inspected. Calling this major work would be an understatement.

Arista Thurman and his colleagues in the Argonne African American Employee Resource Group (AAA ERG) were the driving force behind many diversity and inclusion initiatives. They have made Argonne even more welcoming and diverse. The AAA ERG has been exceptionally busy this year. They led the expansion of the Argonne Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, or ACT-SO, which promoted STEM outreach to African American students. They also encouraged the lab to join the National GEM Consortium, an organization that recruits underrepresented students looking to pursue advanced degrees in applied science and engineering. They pushed for the establishment of the Walter Massey Fellowship for Ph.D.

The UChicago Argonne, LLC, Board of Governors Awards Program was initiated with the purpose of recognizing, in a tangible and substantial way, distinguished performance and outstanding scientific or engineering achievement by individual members of the Argonne professional staff, technicians, and others engaged in scientific and technical activities.

The Advanced Photon Source is a DOE Office of Science User Facility, operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

The U.S. Department of Energy's APS at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most productive x-ray light source facilities. Each year, the APS provides high-brightness x-ray beams to a diverse community of more than 5,000 researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, the life and environmental sciences, and applied research. Researchers using the APS produce over 2,000 publications each year detailing impactful discoveries, and solve more vital biological protein structures than users of any other x-ray light source research facility. APS x-rays are ideally suited for explorations of materials and biological structures; elemental distribution; chemical, magnetic, electronic states; and a wide range of technologically important engineering systems from batteries to fuel injector sprays, all of which are the foundations of our nation’s economic, technological, and physical well-being.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC, for the U.S. DOE Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.

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