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Recent ATAP News

ATAP and Engineering’s Qiang Du Among Five LBNL Selectees in the 2017 DOE Early Career Research Program

Excerpted from an article by Julie Chao of LBNL Public Affairs. Click here for the full story of all five ECRP recipients at LBNL this year.

Five scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science to receive significant funding for research through its Early Career Research Program.

The program, now in its eighth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. The five Berkeley Lab recipients are among a total of 59 recipients selected this year, including 21 from DOE’s national laboratories, chosen from a competitive review of about 700 proposals.

The scientists, who must be employees within 10 years past their PhD, are each expected to receive grants of up to $2.5 million over five years to cover year-round salary plus research expenses.

Qiang Du is an electronics research scientist in the Engineering Division. His award is for “Scalable control of multidimensional coherent pulse addition for high average power ultrafast lasers,” selected by the Office of High Energy Physics.

Working with ATAP, Dr. Du will design, build, and demonstrate a scalable distributed digital stabilization control system for robust multidimensional coherent combining of ultrafast fiber lasers, and make it available as a general toolbox in ultrafast optics control. High average power ultrafast lasers are essential tools that support fundamental science and applications.

To Learn More…

For more information on all the winners and the award, go to DOE’s ECRP page.

ATAP is home to ” four earlier ECRP selectees: Chad Mitchell and Jeroen van Tilborg (2016), Danielle Filippetto (2014), and Tengming Shen (2012).

ATAP’s Tengming Shen Honored by ICMC

Tengming Shen, a researcher in ATAP’s Superconducting Magnet Program, the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology, and the U.S. Magnet Development Program, has won the 2017 ICMC Cryogenic Materials Award for Excellence.

The award is given annually at the International Cryogenic Materials Conference to an individual, who is under 40 years of age by the application deadline, to recognize excellence in advancing the knowledge of cryogenic materials over recent years. Dr. Shen was cited for “outstanding research on superconductors especially Bi-2212: Processing, characterization, and advances towards practical applications.”

Shen, who came to ATAP from Fermilab in 2015, is working primarily on materials-science aspects of high-temperature superconductors such as Bi-2212 and Rare Earth Barium Copper Oxide (REBCO), which we and others are investigating for potential uses in next-generation accelerator magnets for high-energy physics as well as other applications.

ATAP Newsletter, June 2017

Advanced magnetics are key to the performance and cost-effectiveness of accelerators, and are prominent among the recent achievements of ATAP and our partner divisions. A new field-strength record has been set for undulators by a superconducting prototype developed by Berkeley Lab and Argonne. Meanwhile, production of soft-X-ray undulator segments for the LCLS-II project at SLAC is ahead of schedule, and the hard-X-ray undulator is going into production.

Making the accelerators of the future smaller and less expensive, which would give beam access to more users and allow us to “bring the accelerator to the problem,” is another important theme of ATAP’s activities. Our Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology Program has been collaborating with Cornell University to apply recent microfabrication techniques to an existing concept for compact multiple-beam linacs. Another, very technically different approach to this problem — the laser-plasma accelerator — was the subject of a recent workshop on laser technology for our next step, called “k-BELLA,” and beyond.

The DOE conducted a review of Berkeley Lab’s HEP efforts May 23-25. The presentations — prominently including talks and poster presentations from ATAP on topics that include BELLA, the U.S. Magnet Development Program, the Accelerator Modeling Program, and the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation Center (BACI) — were well received, and we look forward to the guidance that their report will provide.

Finally, John Byrd, head of BACI, is leaving Berkeley Lab to assume directorship of the Accelerator Systems Division at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source, a new challenge worthy of his formidable skills. We wish John the very best in his new appointment. I have appointed his longtime deputy, Derun Li, as director of BACI.


Berkeley Lab contributions to Linac Coherent Light Source II, a free-electron laser being built for SLAC by a partnership of SLAC and Berkeley Lab, Fermilab, Jefferson Lab, and Argonne, has seen continued progress in areas that include soft- and hard-X-ray FEL undulators, the VHF gun for the injector source, and the low-level radiofrequency control system.

SXR Undulator Modules Ahead of Schedule; HGVPU Production Underway

Berkeley Lab is overseeing the development and delivery of these devices, known as soft X-ray undulators. As mentioned in the April edition of ATAP News, the first two production soft-x-ray undulator (SXR) modules were completed by their vendor and delivered to SLAC on April 26. Berkeley Lab oversaw the development and now the delivery of these devices, known as soft X-ray undulators, and production is ahead of schedule. Ultimately a chain of 21 modules will make up the SXR.

The pre-production HGVPU (horizontal gap vertically polarized undulator) for the hard-x-ray beamline has been completed and tested, and met the demanding LCLS-II FEL requirements after a brief tuning process. The magnetic design had been optimized by LBNL engineers to provide a rapid tuning process that maintains tight specifications over the full undulator gap range. Production of the HGVPUs is under way at external vendors, and delivery of the first article is planned for late summer. Most of these devices will be tuned at LBNL, with a few delivered directly to SLAC for tuning.

Injector Source: The Clean Team Assembles

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Fabrication of the VHF gun (left) for the injector source is complete and the assembly has now been tuned for frequency, before cleaning and welding of the final vacuum seal. Because cleanliness is so important to the performance of the superconducting acceleration cavities downstream of the injector source, a second workshop on particle-free procedures was held in April at LBNL. It attracted experts from the Bay Area and beyond. The technician team that will assemble the Injector Source has been to Fermilab and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for training in the cleanroom techniques required for these processes.

Based on lessons learned from the workshops, an internal enclosure has been built in the LBNL cleanroom, and other improvements have been made to provide the extremely low particulate environment required to protect the superconducting cryomodules being built for the LCLS-II linac. Procedures are being written to define the procedures that will be used to ensure delivery of a particle-free system.

Low-energy beamline solenoids have been wound and are being measured at LBNL and at SLAC. The buncher cavity is being manufactured by an external vendor, and the 1.2 kW RF power source has passed final design review and is also being built by an external vendor. Preparations are being made for titanium nitride coating of cavity couplers using the facilities and expertise available in ATAP’s Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology Program.

Active Cavity Resonance Control Officially Added

The LBNL Low-Level RF Controls team has contributed to the development of active resonance control, required to stabilize the RF fields in the linac cavities. This work has recently been added to the project baseline plan, and LBNL staff will be key contributors to this critical activity.

Reviews Confirm Right Course

The LCLS-II project has been through two reviews recently: a SLAC Director’s review in May, and a DOE progress review in June. LBNL staff contributed to both reviews and our progress in technical developments and management of our aspects of the project was recognized as valuable.

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“Team science” takes a team; these are some of the LBNL scientists, engineers, technologists, and support staff who work on LBNL’s part of the multi-institutional LCLS-II project.


Ultrafast, high-energy, high-average-power lasers are essential for the development of compact particle accelerators and radiation sources, as well as the national security, scientific and industrial applications that these accelerators and radiation sources enable. Such lasers are becoming increasingly important for material processing and other applications. Present-day laser technology is capable of producing petawatt-class systems operating at 1-10 Hz repetition rates with average power on the order of 40-200 W.

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The “Laser Technology for k-BELLA and Beyond Workshop,” held at LBNL May 9-11, was the latest in an ongoing series of workshops that play a key role in our strategic planning and consensus-building community leadership. It gathered 34 world-leading laser scientists, laser users and industry representatives to discuss technological solutions towards ultrafast lasers that could operate in the multi-kW to even tens-of-kW average power range.

For near future applications (next 5 years), a 3 joule, 1 kHz laser operating at 30 fs pulse duration, referred to as k-BELLA for its kilowatt/kilohertz-class performance, would enable high-average-power demonstration experiments of the rapidly advancing laser plasma accelerator (LPA) technology with applications in radiation sources and ultrafast science, as well as laser-based machining. Alternatively, a laser that provides 30 mJ at a repetition rate of 100 kHz would enable chemical, condensed matter or biological experiments at the new generation of high-repetition-rate free-electron lasers and synchrotrons. For future collider applications (>20 years), as well as applications that require high throughput (>15 years), lasers in the tens to hundreds of kW are needed.

The workshop was guided by key questions that assess the current laser needs for applications, the technical readiness of today’s technologies, what technologies are or will be available to dramatically increase the average power of ultrafast lasers, what the challenges are, and what resources are needed to address them. Following talks reviewing the current state of the art, six approaches and their levels of technology readiness were discussed. A report detailing the resulting vision of the way forward is presently being prepared.


Many frontiers in particle-accelerator applications could be opened if only accelerators could be made substantially smaller and less expensive. An ATAP team, in close collaboration with Cornell University, has developed a potentially disruptive approach called MEMS-ACCEL. Combining several innovations, MEMS-ACCEL has shown promise for further scaling that will provide powerful ion beams in the widely utilized 100 keV – 5 MeV energy range in an unprecedentedly compact and low-cost format. A wide variety of industrial and scientific applications could benefit.

Traditional linear accelerators (linacs) come in several configurations, but all are made of large, precision-machined components assembled and aligned by hand. Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology allows the accelerator components of a MEMS-ACCEL to be formed from stacks of wafers that were made using low-cost fabrication processes.

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Drs. Peter Seidl (l.) and Qing Ji, two of the scientists on the MEMS-ACCEL team, illustrate the miniaturization made possible by the novel approach: he with a traditionally constructed electrostatic quadrupole focusing array from a heavy-ion linac, she with the entire three-stage MEMS-ACCEL proof-of-concept stack. The MEMS-ACCEL is not only smaller, simpler, and lighter, but easy to scale in design and fabrication to both higher beam energy (by adding more stages) and higher beam current (an even simpler matter of adding more parallel acceleration channels).

Historical roots, ultramodern implementation

“The idea of boosting beam power by parallel acceleration of multiple beams dates back to the late 1970s, when Brookhaven’s Al Maschke pioneered the MEQALAC,” notes Thomas Schenkel, LBNL’s principal investigator for MEMS-ACCEL. That MEQALAC — the Multiple Electrostatic Quadrupole Array Linear Accelerator — used the construction techniques familiar from other linacs: macroscopic, precision-machined parts.

Building upon LBNL’s long history with high-power linear accelerators, and the MEMS expertise of Dr. Amit Lal’s group at Cornell, the MEMS-ACCEL team has re-envisioned this concept using stacks of acceleration and beam-focusing elements made with microfabrication and additive-manufacturing (“3-D printing”) techniques. The starting materials are now silicon wafers, printed circuit board, or plastic materials for 3D printing. These materials and methods lend themselves to inexpensive mass production.

First results on transport and acceleration of ion beams with MEMS-ACCEL were recently published in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments. These first results prove the concept and show the path to scaling up to very high beam power.

It is not suitable for all particle acceleration needs, some of which require exquisite beam quality or cannot be met by multiple beams. However, applications for powerful beams of this type, in this energy range, are numerous. Long-term applications include plasma heating for fusion energy. Meanwhile there will be near-term uses in materials processing and analytics. The approach can also be adapted to massively parallel acceleration of electrons.

The proof-of-principle MEMS-ACCEL, implemented in a stack of 20 printed circuit board wafers comprising both the accelerating and the focusing elements. This assembly comprises three RF units with drift spaces between the acceleration gaps.

How MEMS excels at miniaturizing linacs

For any particle accelerator, two major functions are needed: an accelerating gradient of longitudinal force to increase the particle energy, and transverse forces to confine and focus the beam and minimize particle loss. MEMS-ACCEL achieves these functions with established linac principles—applying radiofrequency (RF) power across acceleration gaps, together with electrostatic quadrupole (ESQ) focusing.

A particular advantage is that MEMS-ACCEL circumvents the need for resonant cavities, a major driver of complexity, size, and cost in traditional RF linacs. All its elements can be implemented in simple wafer designs.

A higher total beam current can be achieved by injecting and accelerating many small beams in parallel, densely-packed channels in contrast to the single large beam transport channel of other linacs. Using small beam apertures has the additional benefit of lowering the required focusing voltages.

Using RF (rather than dc) voltages for acceleration means that instead of applying all the voltage in a single stage, high kinetic energy can be achieved through successive lower-voltage acceleration stages. The maximum accumulated ion energy is limited only by the chosen number of stages, yet the maximum voltage in each stage can be kept small.

MEMS-ACCEL ESQ and its effects
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Far left: Array of ESQ (electrostatic quadrupole) beam focusing elements formed in silicon at Cornell. The width of the chip is 20 mm, with 5 mm spacing between beamlets.
Near left: Images from a scintillator and CCD camera show the increase in beam intensity and therefore ESQ focusing and defocusing in the 3×3 array of parallel beams in our first proof-of-concept MEMS-ACCEL. To increase beam current, a MEMS-ACCEL design can be scaled to perhaps thousands of parallel beamlets.

“This is a noteworthy example of how ATAP’s collaborative approach and outside-the-box thinking lead to innovation,” said ATAP Director Wim Leemans. Himself the leader of a complementary approach to smaller, less expensive accelerators—laser plasma acceleration, being explored at Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center—Leemans added, “ATAP is pushing all across the board to make accelerated beams accessible to more users, and to invent new technologies that bring the accelerator to the problem.”

The work was supported by ARPA-E, DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy, as part of their ALPHA program (Accelerating Low-Cost Plasma Heating and Assembly).

To learn more…

  • A. Persaud et al., “A compact linear accelerator based on a scalable micromechanical-systems RF-structure”, Rev. Sci. Instrum 88, 063304 (2017); click here for arXiv preprint.
  • A. Persaud et al., “Staging of RF-accelerating units in a MEMS-based ion accelerator”, click here for paper.
  • Visit the websites of DOE ARPA-E’s ALPHA program or the SonicMEMS Lab of Prof. Amit Lal at Cornell University.


This story by Glenn Roberts Jr. of Berkeley Lab Public Affairs

Photo - This Berkeley Lab-developed device, a niobium tin superconducting undulator prototype, set a record in magnetic field strength for a device of its kind. The R&D effort could help to guide future efforts to build similar devices for next-generation X-ray lasers. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/ Berkeley Lab)

This Berkeley Lab-developed device, a niobium tin superconducting undulator prototype, set a record in magnetic field strength for a device of its kind. This type of undulator could be used to wiggle electron beams to emit light for a next generation of X-ray lasers.
(Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Argonne National Laboratory have collaborated to design, build, and test two devices, called superconducting undulators, which could make X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) more powerful, versatile, compact, and durable.

X-ray FELs are powerful tools for studying the microscopic structure and other properties of samples, such as proteins that are key to drug design, exotic materials relevant to electronics and energy applications, and chemistry that is central to industrial processes like fuel production.

The recent development effort was motivated by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s upgrade of its Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the nation’s only X-ray FEL. This upgrade, now underway, is known as LCLS-II. All existing X-ray FELS, including both LCLS and LCLS-II, use permanent magnet undulators to generate intense pulses of X-rays. These devices produce X-ray light by passing high-energy bunches of electrons through alternating magnetic fields produced by a series of permanent magnets.

Superconducting undulators (SCUs) offer another technical solution and are considered among the most promising technologies to improve the performance of the next generation FELs, and of other types of light sources, such as Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) and Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS).

SCUs replace the permanent magnets in the undulator with superconducting coils. The prototype SCUs have successfully produced stronger magnetic fields than conventional undulators of the same size. Higher fields, in turn, can produce higher-energy free-electron laser light to open up a broader range of experiments.

Berkeley Lab’s 1.5-meter-long prototype undulator, which uses a superconducting material known as niobium-tin (Nb3Sn), set a record in magnetic field strength for a device of its design during testing at the Lab in September 2016.

“This is a much-anticipated innovation,” said Wim Leemans, Director, Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics (ATAP). “Higher performance in a smaller footprint is something that benefits everyone – the laboratories that host the facilities, the funding agencies, and above all, the user community.”

Argonne’s test of another superconducting material, niobium-titanium, successfully reached its performance goal, and additionally passed a bevy of quality tests. Niobium-titanium has a lower maximum magnetic field strength than niobium-tin, but is further along in its development.

Photo - The superconducting undulator R&D project at Berkeley Lab was a team effort. Among the contributors: (from left) Heng Pan, Jordan Taylor, Soren Prestemon, Ross Schlueter, Diego Arbelaez, Jim Swanson, Ahmet Pekedis, Scott Myers, Tom Lipton, and Xiaorong Wang. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

The superconducting undulator R&D project at Berkeley Lab was a team effort. Among the contributors: (from left) Heng Pan, Jordan Taylor, Soren Prestemon, Ross Schlueter, Diego Arbelaez, Jim Swanson, Ahmet Pekedis, Scott Myers, Tom Lipton, and Xiaorong Wang. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

“The superconducting technology in general, and especially with the niobium tin, lived up to its promise of being the highest performer,” said Ross Schlueter, Head of the Magnetics Department in Berkeley Lab’s Engineering Division. “We’re very excited about this world record. This device allows you to get a much higher photon energy” from a given electron beam energy.

“We have expertise here both in free-electron laser undulators, as demonstrated in our role in leading the construction of LCLS-II’s undulators, and in synchrotron undulator development at the ALS,” noted Soren Prestemon, Director of the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology (BCMT), which brings together the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division (ATAP) and Engineering Division, to design and build a range of magnetic devices for scientific, medical, and other applications.

“The Engineering Division has a long history of forefront research on undulators, and this work continues that tradition,” states Henrik von der Lippe, Director, Engineering Division.

Diego Arbelaez, the lead engineer in the development of Berkeley Lab’s device, said earlier work at the Lab in building superconducting undulator prototypes for a different project were useful in informing the latest design, though there were still plenty of challenges.

Niobium-tin is a brittle material that cannot be drawn into a wire. For practical use, a pliable wire, which contains the components that will form niobium-tin when heat-treated, is used for winding the undulator coils. The full undulator coil is then heat-treated in a furnace at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The niobium-tin wire is wound around a steel frame to form tightly wrapped coils in an alternating arrangement. The precision of the winding is critical for the performance of the device. Arbelaez said, “One of the questions was whether you can maintain precision in its winding even though you are going through these large temperature variations.”

After the heat treatment, the coils are placed in a mold and impregnated with epoxy to hold the superconducting coils in place. To achieve a superconducting state and demonstrate its record-setting performance, the device was immersed in a bath of liquid helium to cool it down to about minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Image - Ahmet Pekedis, left, and Diego Arbelaez inspect the completed niobium tin undulator prototype. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Ahmet Pekedis, left, and Diego Arbelaez inspect the completed niobium tin undulator prototype. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Another challenge was in developing a fast shutoff to prevent catastrophic failure during an event known as “quenching.” During a quench, there is a sudden loss of superconductivity that can be caused by a small amount of heat generation. Uncontrolled quenching could lead to rapid heating that might damage the niobium-tin and surrounding copper and ruin the device.

This is a critical issue for the niobium-tin undulators due to the extraordinary current densities they can support. Berkeley Lab’s Marcos Turqueti led the effort to engineer a quench-protection system that can detect the occurrence of quenching within a couple thousandths of a second and shut down its effects within 10 thousandths of a second.

Arbelaez also helped devise a system to correct for magnetic-field errors while the undulator is in its superconducting state.

SLAC’s Paul Emma, the accelerator physics lead for LCLS-II, coordinated the superconducting undulator development effort.

Emma said that the niobium-tin superconducting undulator developed at Berkeley Lab shows potential but may require more extensive continuing R&D than Argonne’s niobium-titanium prototype. Argonne earlier developed superconducting undulators that are in use at its APS, and Berkeley Lab also hopes to add superconducting undulators at its ALS.

“With superconducting undulators,” Emma said, “you don’t necessarily lower the cost but you get better performance for the same stretch of undulator.”

Photo - A close-up view of the superconducting undulator prototype developed at Berkeley Lab. To construct the undulator, researchers wound a pliable wire in alternating coils around a steel frame. The pliable wire is baked to form a niobium-tin compound that is very brittle but is capable of achieving high magnetic fields when chilled to superconducting temperatures. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

A close-up view of the superconducting undulator prototype developed at Berkeley Lab. To construct the undulator, researchers wound a pliable wire in alternating coils around a steel frame. The pliable wire was baked to form a niobium-tin compound that is very brittle but can achieve high magnetic fields when chilled to superconducting temperatures. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

A superconducting undulator of an equivalent length to a permanent magnetic undulator could produce light that is at least two to three times – perhaps up to 10 times – more powerful, and could also access a wider range in X-ray wavelengths, Emma said, producing a more efficient FEL.

Superconducting undulators also have no macroscopic moving parts, so they could conceivably be tuned more quickly with high precision. Superconductors also are far less prone to damage by high-intensity radiation than permanent-magnet materials, a significant issue in high-power accelerators such as those that will be installed for LCLS-II.

There appears to be a clear path forward to developing superconducting undulators for upgrades of existing and new X-ray free-electron lasers, Emma said, and for other types of light sources.

“Superconducting undulators will be the technology we go to eventually, whether it’s in the next 10 or 20 years,” he said. “They are powerful enough to produce the light we are going to need – I think it’s going to happen. People know it’s a big enough step, and we’ve got to get there.”

James Symons, Berkeley Lab’s Associate Director for Physical Sciences, said, “We look forward to building on this effort by furthering our R&D on superconducting undulator systems.

The Advanced Light Source, Advanced Photon Source, and Linac Coherent Light Source are DOE Office of Science User Facilities. The development of the superconducting undulator prototypes was supported by the DOE’s Office of Science.”

Read a related news release by Argonne National Laboratory.


Cover of BCMT strategic framework document ATAP and the Engineering Division are always looking for opportunities to put their expertise in advanced magnet technologies to work. Their capabilities include magnets for light sources and free-electron lasers, lattice magnets for high-energy physics accelerators, and a wide variety of spinoff applications. A good place to start learning more is with the recently published Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology Strategic Framework, downloadable as a PDF.

Another highly relevant document also available online is the U.S. Magnet Development Program Strategic Plan, which charts a course for this LBNL-led, multi-institutional program in magnet R&D for high-energy physics.


Alex Friedman is the 2017 recipient of the Charles K. Birdsall Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (IEEE-NPSS).

Dr. Friedman is associate program head for theory and simulations within the Fusion Energy Sciences Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A longtime member of the “Heavy Ion Fusion Virtual National Laboratory” that joined Berkeley Lab, LLNL, and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Friedman remains a very active collaborator in ATAP’s accelerator-modeling efforts.

He was cited for “contributions to the science and practice of computational physics, including the development of novel methods and effective computer codes, and their application to fusion plasmas and particle beams.” Among his notable achievements was development of the open-source particle-in- cell simulation code Warp, which incorporates a number of novel computational methods and is a key part of the Berkeley Lab Accelerator Simulation Toolkit.

“Ned Birdsall was a pioneer in the field of plasma simulation, a key mentor early in my career, and a good friend,” said Friedman. “I’m truly honored to receive the award that bears his name.”


“Moving on to other adventures” after 25 years here, John Byrd, head of the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Center in the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics (ATAP) Division, has been appointed Director of the Accelerator Systems Division at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source.

Byrd has been with ATAP Division and its predecessor, the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, since earning his doctorate in physics from Cornell University in 1991. He was named as head of the Center for Beam Physics in 2011 and was the founding director of BACI.

“I have been so fortunate over the past quarter century at Berkeley Lab to learn from and work with many of the best accelerator folks in the world,” said Byrd. “The culture of innovation, excellence, and collegiality that is integral to Berkeley Lab has been an unforgettable experience for me. I will miss all of my dear friends and colleagues as I move on to other adventures, and I look forward to working with them in future collaborations.”

The adventures will begin immediately, as Argonne is in the midst of detailed design of a major upgrade to the Advanced Photon Source, its flagship synchrotron-light user facility. Its challenges are well suited to Byrd’s background. Just a few recent topics among his diverse scientific interests have included accelerator instrumentation and diagnostics; radiofrequency and microwave systems; synchrotron radiation sources; and femtosecond timing and synchronization.

This is a logical next step in a career that has had a progression of leadership roles as well as scientific distinction,” said ATAP Director Wim Leemans, adding, “John has a remarkable combination of technical and people skills that will serve him and the APS well.”

Byrd has also been dedicated to educating the next generation of accelerator physicists. The U.S. Particle Accelerator School recently gave him their Iron Man Award for having taught 12 courses there. He has mentored graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Berkeley Lab as well.

Byrd succeeds Alexander “Sasha” Zholents, a longtime AFRD researcher who moved to Argonne to assume the Accelerator Systems Division directorship in 2010. Zholents, recently named an Argonne Distinguished Fellow, is returning to full-time research.

A familiar face at the helm of BACI

Leemans has appointed one of Byrd’s longtime colleagues, ATAP physicist Derun Li, to take over BACI.

After undergraduate and graduate education and brief subsequent work at Tsinghua University, Li earned his doctorate in accelerator physics at Indiana University in 1995. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, he came to LBNL as a staff scientist in 1997.

In 2006 Li was named as LBNL liaison to the US-China Collaboration on Accelerator Physics and Technology, a title he still holds. Since 2014 he has served as program deputy for the Center for Beam Physics, predecessor of BACI. Elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012, Li is currently a Senior Staff Scientist in ATAP.

Most recently Li led the development team for the design and construction of a radio-frequency quadrupole (RFQ) accelerator, which will serve as the injector for the PIP-II project at Fermilab. The RFQ was noted for its combination of beam intensity and remarkably straightforward commissioning.

Li had previously played a key role on RF technology R&D in the US Muon Accelerator Program (MAP), and the International Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. These efforts developed enabling technologies for the extremely challenging long-term ambition of a muon collider.

“I am honored to lead a very strong and dynamic group of scientists and engineers in diverse fields,” said Li. The center that he now leads will mainly focus on three areas in the accelerator controls and instrumentation field where Berkeley Lab has traditional strengths: advanced RF design and engineering; ultrahigh-precision controls; and high dynamic range beam instrumentation. R&D on innovative approaches to high-powered ultrafast lasers—of interest for many potential uses, but especially to laser-plasma accelerators such as those of ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center (BELLA)—is another key area.

“Derun’s proven record of seeking out collaborative work and delivering results fits in perfectly with our strategy for BACI,” said Leemans.

“Since our origins as the Exploratory Studies Group and the Center for Beam Physics, we have always contributed to the most advanced accelerator projects in the world,” added Li. He adds, “Now we hope to also look beyond project-specific needs and develop technologies for next generation of accelerator controls and instrumentation that are broadly applicable across the DOE Science Offices and research complex and the scientific world.”


ATAP’s Ina Reichel Works Hard to Gains a Skill We Hope is Never Needed

Ina Reichel, ATAP’s outreach and education coordinator, is one of LBNL’s latest cohort of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Since disasters such as earthquakes can overwhelm professional emergency personnel — and will affect buildings that are not near the fire station or security office — the Lab has been developing a distributed contingent of volunteers called the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT).

All MERT members are trained and licensed at the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) level, and qualified to provide basic life support. Dr. Reichel is one of the 12 Lab employees who began their training in Fall 2016 and recently graduated as EMTs, joining the existing three MERT members.

MERT class photo The recent EMT graduates after finishing their class finals and hands-on testing at American Health Education in Dublin, CA. Front row (left to right): Tonya Petty, Ina Reichel, Mary Gross, Gaby Fuentes-Creollo, Mabel Fong, and Marissa Smithwick. Back row (left to right): Vik Bhatia, Michael Johnson, Sue Fields, instructor Terry Hogue, Christine Ichim, Kenny Higa, and Hoang Pham.

Reichel, an avid backcountry hiker who spends a week at a time on the trails in the Sierra Nevada with her husband and son each summer, had already qualified in wilderness first aid. That discipline has a somewhat different judgment basis and set of skills, since in the wilderness you cannot take it for granted that medical professionals are just minutes away—a situation that could also describe a natural disaster affecting numerous people across an urban area. “This training was an interesting complement to my skill set,” says Reichel, adding, “I hope we never have to use it.”

The EMT training consisted of more than 170 hours classroom training (with written tests about every other week), practical hands-on demonstrations, ambulance ride-alongs, and ultimately 4 days of testing. As licensed EMTs, MERT members are capable of providing medical care to employees at the Lab, as well as to people in their home community in the event of a medical emergency after hours (sidebar).

The MERT Program is a component of the Lab’s Disaster Assistance Teams, which also include Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and Damage Assessment Team (DAT) capabilities. Each of these teams are designed to augment professional response to large-scale disasters impacting the region.

In a disaster, LBNL’s Emergency Operations Center will deploy, assign, and track MERT members. If emergency medical support is needed, MERT members will be called via LabAlert and provided safe-route instructions to their assigned duty stations.

They have been issued backpacks with the most-needed supplies, and LBNL Emergency Management has staged and stocked the Zone Disaster Containers—cargo containers in strategic locations across the site—with additional emergency medical equipment. During emergency situations when MERT members are called to duty, they will be easily identifiable by their red vests (CERT members wear green vests; DAT members, grey).

What to Do in an Emergency at LBNL

MERT members are expected to serve as EMTs during a regional catastrophic emergency or after a disaster.

In case of an individual or localized medical emergency, always call 911 immediately. Calling 911 ensures that paramedics will be dispatched; they can provide a higher level of emergency medical support (Advanced rather than Basic) if needed.

However, when it is compatible with their scope of duties and they are nearby, MERT members are generally willing to grab their backpack of medical supplies and assist a co-worker in a medical emergency. Should an emergency occur in or near Building 71, feel free to alert Ina (x4341), but only after calling 911. Staff members may request her cell phone number.

The Lab is currently exploring the possibility of alerting MERT members of emergencies occurring in or near their buildings via the e911 system.

Learn the Skills to Survive

There are currently no near-term plans for another training session for EMTs at the Lab, but there may be options for you to receive EMT training through LBNL’s Tuition Assistance Program. If you are already a licensed EMT and would like to join MERT, please contact Jessica Doyle in Emergency Management (ext. 5170).

If you are interested in learning Wilderness First Aid, the 16 hour class (lots of hands-on, no testing) is offered about once a month in the Bay Area by the co-operative REI. The site of the course rotates among their three locations, one of which is in nearby Kensington.

To learn more about Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Damage Assessment Team (DAT) training, contact LBNL Emergency Services ( Other courses that will help enhance our ability to help each other survive, such as CPR and First Aid, are routinely offered through LBNL Training.


Was that an earthquake?

If you were here on June 21, the answer is yes — we experienced a magnitude 3 earthquake on the Hayward fault, centered in nearby Kensington. Fortunately, its effects were trivial, but it’s a good reminder to brush up on what to do during and after a quake.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On!
While earthquake drills are announced on the Public Address system, real earthquakes are self-announcing! Drop to the floor, take cover under something sturdy (such as a desk) if possible and cover your head, hold on until the shaking stops.

Should I evacuate?
If it is a barely noticeable tremor with no apparent damage, you are not required to evacuate. If it is a major quake with structural damage, you definitely need to leave the building when the shaking stops. For moderate quakes like the one we just experienced, evacuation is recommended – when in doubt, get out. Don’t wait for a public address announcement. Follow your Building Emergency Team to the Assembly Area. Emergency Services will evaluate the situation and allow re-entry when it is safe.

Resuming work after a quake
As you return to your work area, look for hazards before starting work: power outage? dislodged or fallen items? loose wiring or conduit? spilled chemicals? water and gas lines leaking? lasers and beams out of alignment? Report any damage to your supervisor and Division Safety Coordinator.

To learn more…
Visit ATAP’s pages about emergency preparedness and fundamentals and philosophies — and please do explore the links to further information.