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

APS Upgrade Update: Looking back on 2021, moving into a new year

Welcome to 2022! It’s the start of a new year, and a good opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of enormous progress for the APS Upgrade Project. These last few months have seen the project stay a steady course, moving closer to bringing this intricate endeavor to life. There’s an excitement building as milestones are achieved, as work continues on new feature beamlines and various beamline enhancements, and as more components for the new state-of-the-art storage ring are assembled.

There has been a leadership change at the APS Upgrade, with Jim Kerby being named the project’s interim director last month. Previous director Bob Hettel has moved into a new role advising Laurent Chapon, the new associate lab director (ALD) for Photon Sciences and APS director. Deputy project manager Elmie Peoples-Evans has taken on the role of project manager on an interim basis.

Jim has been with the APS-U project for nearly a decade. He has more than 30 years of engineering and technical management experience and has been a visible member of the APS Upgrade leadership team. Elmie has worked on the APS-U project for nine years and has been involved in every aspect of the upgrade project. With Jim and Elmie at the helm, the APS-U project is in familiar and capable hands. The transition will be smooth and seamless while a search for a new project director is undertaken.

The APS Upgrade project recently underwent an Independent Project Status Review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Project Assessment. Twenty-two reviewers drawn from around the DOE national laboratory complex provided valuable feedback on the overall status of the project, including cost and schedule. Reviewers found that the APS Upgrade has made significant progress over the past year, despite delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on supply chains and on-site work. This was strong affirmation that the upgrade is on the right track, while reviewers also noted that the project’s cost and schedule will have to be carefully managed to stay within the limits approved in the CD-2 approval in December 2018, with both the laboratory and DOE program leaders closely monitoring the situation.

This is especially gratifying here at the start of 2022, which will be a pivotal year for the project. When the next Upgrade Update hits your inbox, we will be about one year away from the 12-month installation period, during which the APS will shut down and will not be accessible to users. The APS is currently scheduled to pause operations in April 2023 to allow for the old electron storage ring to be removed and the new one to be installed in the same space. The upgraded APS – with x-ray beams that will be up to 500 times brighter – will come online in the spring of 2024. The project team is carefully watching supply chain issues and staff shortages occurring as a result of COVID-19, and monitoring their impacts on the schedule.

Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done before the installation period begins, but the tremendous progress made over the past year has the project moving at a solid pace. The APS Upgrade is 60 percent complete right now, and the design work is more than 98 percent complete. Roughly 1,120 of the 1,321 magnets needed to build the new storage ring are on site and have been tested. More than 118 of the tables for the new front ends (which carry photons to the beamlines) have been assembled.

Most recently, the two superconducting components of the upgraded APS underwent their first successful cold tests. The upgraded accelerator will include eight superconducting undulator (SCU) magnets, which generate a higher magnetic field over a smaller area, resulting in more powerful x-ray beams. The prototype SCU was cooled down to 4 Kelvin (about -450 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time this fall, and performed well. Argonne has been at the forefront of superconducting technology for decades, and this prototype is further proof of that.

The upgraded APS will also use a cryogenically cooled bunch lengthening system to increase the lifetime of the electron beam, in order to minimize disruption as new electron bunches are swapped in while the beam is circulating. The prototype bunch lengthening system recently passed its first cold test as well. You can read more about the system in this profile of Michael Kelly, one of the people leading the effort to build and test it. More about the cold tests for both components is available in this story.

The Long Beamline Building (LBB) continues to take shape and is projected to be completed ahead the June 2022 schedule date. The LBB will house two of the new feature beamlines – the In Situ Nanoprobe (ISN) and the High-Energy X-ray Microscope (HEXM) – both of which will take advantage of the much brighter photon beams available at the upgraded APS. The concrete enclosure for ISN has been poured, and work will begin on the HEXM enclosure in May 2022.

Work continues on the feature beamlines and enhancements, with the final in-house instrument designs being completed and procurement of components underway. Contracts have been awarded for many of the new beamline instruments, with design reviews underway on several, and one – the ultra-small-angle x-ray scattering instrument at beamline 12-ID – currently being manufactured. Additionally, all the components of the Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS-II) spectrometer for beamline 27-ID are in house, and assembly is ready to begin, and the 2 tesla magnet for the POLAR beamline at 4-ID has arrived at Argonne and testing is underway.

In recent months, the upgrade team has hosted several virtual town hall meetings with users to discuss the construction schedule and scientific potential of these new instruments. The latest in a series of twice-yearly Q&A sessions for users was held on November 10 and the Frequently Asked Questions document on the APS Upgrade website has been updated. More town halls are on the horizon for early 2022, and the next user Q&A session is scheduled as part of the 2022 APS/CNM Annual Users Meeting in May.

The APS Upgrade home page continues to be updated with the latest information on the project and serves 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. The most recent profiles feature Project Controls Manager Katie Martin and Engineer Matt Kasa.

Additionally, Argonne launched “Argonne Voices,” a series of audio conversations to celebrate the Laboratory’s 75th anniversary. One of these conversations spotlights Glenn Decker, associate project manager for the new APS accelerator, and his mentor, John Galayda of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who helped lead construction of the original APS accelerator.

While you are watching videos, you may also enjoy this rundown of x-ray light and its uses by a pair of APS scientists, Jessica McChesney and Gilberto Fabbris.

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



Published Date