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

APS Upgrade Update: Moving forward and connecting with the user community

September marks not only the start of autumn, but the end of the fiscal year at Argonne. It’s a good time to reflect on how far the Advanced Photon Source (APS) Upgrade project has come in the past 12 months. From charting a clear path forward in the midst of COVID-19-related delays to assembling the first practice modules for the new storage ring, from finalizing designs to testing components to beginning the preparations for the year-long installation period, it’s been a busy and productive year for the project.

As mentioned in the last Upgrade Update, a new start date of April 17, 2023, has been announced for the storage ring installation period. The APS is currently scheduled to shut down on that date and will not be accessible for the next 12 months while the old storage ring is removed and the new one moved in. The new date means that users will get a full year of APS operations in 2022 and at least an abbreviated run at the start of 2023.

The APS Upgrade project also includes the construction of nine feature beamlines and the enhancement of 15 existing beamlines. Some of those beamlines will need to shut down in advance of the year-long installation period to facilitate construction work. The project team is in the process of communicating the timing and scope of that work to users of each of the affected scientific programs.

One way the team is communicating is through virtual town halls with users, to inform them of changes to the beamlines they frequently use. Two virtual town halls have already been held, one for users of the programs that will be combined into the Advanced Spectroscopy and LERIX (ASL) beamline at 25-ID, and one for users of 8-ID, which will become the X-ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (XPCS) beamline. Future town halls are being planned, and invitations will be sent to users of specific beamlines and scientific programs.

All users will have the chance to ask questions of the APS Upgrade project team on Nov. 10, when the second in a series of twice-yearly Q&A sessions will be held. More information and registration information will be coming. The first of these sessions was held in May as part of the APS/CNM Users Meeting, and a Frequently Asked Questions document was created from that session. This document will be updated following the next session. If you would like to send in a question for consideration, please submit it to

While most of the progress on the APS Upgrade is taking place inside manufacturers’ facilities and high-bay buildings on the Argonne site, the Long Beamline Building (LBB) has taken shape in full view. The progress this year has been remarkable, and as can be seen in these photos, the steel structure and roof deck are complete and work is progressing on the mezzanine area.

The LBB will house two new beamlines: the In Situ Nanoprobe (ISN), which will enable in situ and operando experiments with a tightly focused beam and a large working distance, and the High-Energy X-ray Microscope (HEXM), which will use high-energy X-ray beams to peer into thick samples under a variety of conditions. The concrete enclosure for ISN has been poured, and the preliminary design for the HEXM enclosure has been completed. Construction will begin on the HEXM enclosure in May of next year.

The LBB project also includes the Activated Materials Laboratory (AML), which will allow for safer and more efficient handling of irradiated materials. The masonry walls for the AML have been installed and a catwalk has been constructed that will allow easy access to HEXM.

The new feature beamlines will also require new optics, designed almost from scratch. These new optics required the design of more than 1,700 lenses and more than 60 highly polished mirrors, along with new technology to test them. A more detailed look at that new optics system can be found here.

In other milestones, the 1,000th magnet for the new storage ring has arrived at Argonne. The new ring will be made up of 1,321 of these magnets, with the final ones scheduled to arrive sometime in 2022. The 1,000th magnet is an eight-pole fast corrector magnet, which is used to alter the trajectory of the electron beam as it circulates around the storage ring.

Additionally, the construction of the first production superconducting undulator (SCU) magnet for the APS Upgrade has begun. SCUs allow for the acceleration of particles without losing energy, and can extract more X-ray light from electrons in a much smaller space, allowing for brighter beams. These will be used for insertion devices built as part of the upgrade.

The next DOE Office of Project Assessment review of the project is slated for October. These reviews are a regular part of large projects within the DOE system. Reviewers - including colleagues from other DOE national laboratories who have similar experience with large-scale projects - will take a clear and candid look at the progress so far.

The APS Upgrade home page has been updated with the latest information, and will serve as a resource for upgrade news. Please check the site for updates. These include the People of the APS Upgrade series, which aims to tell the story of the upgrade through the eyes of the people making it happen. Recent profiles include Principal Mechanical Engineer Jie Liu and optics specialist Xianbo Shi.

More information about conducting research at the APS for current and prospective users is available at the APS User Office website.



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