Berkeley Lab

Latest ATAP News

APRIL 2023


Director’s Corner

Cameron Geddes

Cameron Geddes

In this month’s issue of the ATAP Newsletter, we see how our ATAP scientists and engineers are spearheading research into new platforms for making qubits—the fundamental building blocks of quantum technologies; how advances in plasma-based acceleration could unlock its potential as an enabling technology for future colliders and other applications; and how a revolutionary magnet design promises cheaper and more powerful superconducting magnets.

Led by our Ion Fusion & Beam Technology Program, a team of researchers that includes colleagues from Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, the University of California, Berkeley, and several international institutions, has used powerful ion beams to create tiny defects in silicon crystals. These defects could provide a platform for making qubits and lay the foundations for new devices for applications in quantum information science, an emerging field that promises to transform our lives.

Researchers at the BELLA Center have used secondary “ghost” laser beams and active-feedback mechanisms to stabilize the high-power lasers that drive plasma-based accelerators. The technique could provide high-energy electron beams for use in next-generation colliders and light sources, opening the door to new areas of research and applications in energy, materials science, and medicine.

And a new magnet design proposed by researchers in our Superconducting Magnet Program could lead to a paradigm shift in the design of new superconducting magnets and promises cheaper and more powerful devices for high-energy accelerators and applications in magnetic resonance imaging, proton therapy, and free electron lasers.

During April we observe Earth Month by raising environmental awareness across the Lab and by taking actions to reduce our climate, waste, and water footprints.

In March, the Lab celebrated Women’s History Month by acknowledging the invaluable and ongoing contributions women are making to ATAPs’ vision and mission. The Lab hosted a series of events throughout the month that showcased and honored these contributions, which began on March 1 with the raising of the Women’s Support and Empowerment Council brand-new banner at Building 65.

We celebrate ATAP Research Scientist Alex Picksley being honored with the Institute of Physics Culham Thesis Prize: Plasma Physics Group. The prestigious award recognizes excellence in the scientific method and is awarded to Ph.D. theses that are well-explained, demonstrate a good understanding of the subject, and show significant new work and originality.

In February, we hosted a Quantum Sensing Workshop. The workshop, a collaboration between the Lab and colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories and the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment, was sponsored by Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D), part of the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Over a hundred in-person and virtual participants discussed how quantum sensing technologies critical to the mission of DNN R&D can be improved.

February also saw an ATAP-led project awarded $1.5 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to research low-energy nuclear reactions. The project, a collaboration between the Lab and colleagues from the College of Engineering at the University of California, Davis, could provide new insights into the fundamental science of nuclear reactions at relatively low energies and potentially lead to new applications in energy research.

As part of our IDEA strategy and ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive and respectful work environment, at our All-to-All meeting in March participants learned about implicit bias and microaggressions in the workplace and how being an Upstander is effective in addressing these issues. The talk followed findings from a microaggression survey presented at the February All-to-All meeting.

And as part of outreach and education activities, we highlight various internship and volunteer opportunities for students and staff at the Lab.


Written by Carl A. Williams or other authors as credited.

For more information on ATAP News articles, contact Carl A. Williams (