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

Cai wins 2023 Gopal K. Shenoy Excellence in Beamline Science Award


Cai from Argonne’s X-ray Science division recognized for his commitment and advances in beamline science, most notably X-ray diffraction.

Physicist Zhonghou Cai is the 2023 recipient of the Gopal K. Shenoy Excellence in Beamline Science Award. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Physicist Zhonghou Cai is the 2023 recipient of the Gopal K. Shenoy Excellence in Beamline Science Award. He is a beamline scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

The annual award recognizes active beamline scientists at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science user facility, for significant contributions to research or instrumentation and support of the beamline user community. The APS Users Office, which grants the award, renamed it in 2017 in honor of the late Gopal K. Shenoy. Shenoy was an accomplished materials scientist closely involved in the inception of the APS as well as an enthusiastic supporter of scientists who researched there.

“I’m honored to be chosen for the Gopal K. Shenoy award,” said Cai. ​“This award is a recognition of the success of X-ray microprobe techniques. The program at the early APS was truly a group effort including the great leadership of Dr. Shenoy. That makes this named award particularly special.”

Throughout his career, Cai has authored and co-authored 261 papers, 250 of them, and one patent, during his time as a beamline scientist at the APS. Cai has been a pioneer in the exciting area of X-ray microbeam and nanobeam techniques while at the APS. His work has inspired the creation of similar facilities and nanobeam instruments at other U.S. and international light sources.

“I’m honored to be chosen for the Gopal K. Shenoy award. This award is a recognition of the success of X-ray microprobe techniques.” — Zhonghou Cai, physicist, Argonne National Laboratory

Beyond Cai’s contributions to science, nominators admired his work with generations of graduate and postdoctoral researchers. They noted his positive impact on the development of early-career scientists and the significance of the careful and constructive onboarding he provides to those new to the synchrotron world.  

Cai is a beamline scientist at 26-ID-C and has been leading the X-ray nanofluorescence imaging program since 2018. His research interests lie in the relations among growth, structure and property of nanoscale materials. As part of the APS Upgrade project, Cai also joined the In Situ Nanoprobe team to help develop instruments and build the new beamline. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1991 and completed the second of two postdoctoral fellowships at Argonne in 1994.  

About the Advanced Photon Source

The U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most productive X-ray light source facilities. The APS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, the life and environmental sciences, and applied research. These 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. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use the APS to produce over 2,000 publications detailing impactful discoveries, and solve more vital biological protein structures than users of any other X-ray light source research facility. APS scientists and engineers innovate technology that is at the heart of advancing accelerator and light-source operations. This includes the insertion devices that produce extreme-brightness X-rays prized by researchers, lenses that focus the X-rays down to a few nanometers, instrumentation that maximizes the way the X-rays interact with samples being studied, and software that gathers and manages the massive quantity of data resulting from discovery research at the APS.

This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

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. Department of Energy’s 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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