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

Science Opportunities

The Advanced Photon SourceThe new machine will enable scientific discovery and technological innovation across a wide range of diverse disciplines, providing unprecedented access to the inner workings of matter and transforming our ability to understand and manipulate systems and materials at the nanoscale.

Experiments at the world’s synchrotron light sources have yielded a dazzling array of discoveries, from understanding the lethal structure of the Ebola virus to observing the molecular movements of a battery in action.

The Advanced Photon SourceThe Upgrade will use a transformative next-generation new technology, the multibend achromat lattice, to make the beams of the Advanced Photon Source hundreds of times brighter – opening scientific frontiers that are completely inaccessible today.

Studies at the APS Studies at the APS have led to two Nobel Prizes, numerous pharmaceutical drugs (including the first drug to treat HIV), improved processes for oil extraction from shale and new insights into additive manufacturing.

With the APS Upgrade, we will, for the first time:

  • Observe the molecular-level triggers of Alzheimer’s disease – a crucial first step toward prevention and cure.
  • Understand the complex forces that cause cracks to form and spread in materials – helping us to create new, 21st-century materials for stronger buildings and bridges and safer planes and cars.
  • Follow one electron at a time through the complex interactions that convert sunlight into fuel – paving the way toward an “artificial leaf” that could generate cheap, abundant solar energy.
  • Map the movements of nanoscale trace elements inside the human cells that govern health and disease – making it possible to develop “nanopharmaceuticals” to fight cancer.
  • Study real batteries, in action, at atomic scale – pinpointing causes of battery failure and speeding research on next-generation battery systems to power microelectronics, transportation and the grid.
  • See the tiny pores that trap oil and gas inside shale rock – providing new understanding of geology at the micro-scale that could make hydraulic fracturing cleaner and more efficient.
  • The APS-U will be an advanced, next-generation storage ring light source that will have two to three orders of magnitude higher spectral brightness and transverse coherence for high energy X-rays than present-day facilities.