• Open-Source Controls for QIS
• BELLA Hosts SCGSR Students
NEWS IN BRIEF
• A HiRES Cover
• Pelosi, Colleagues Visit ALS
• 3Q4: Neelay Fruitwala
• Psychological Well-Being Conversation
• Onboarding or Returning? Start Here
• ATAP Social Media
• Black History Month Action
• Celebrating Lunar New Year
• Respect: A Core Stewardship Value
OUTREACH & EDUCATION
• SAGE Accepting Applications
• Lehe, Waldron Teach at USPAS
SAFETY: THE BOTTOM LINE
• Take a New Look at Old Chemicals
In this month’s issue we see an exciting example of how accelerator and instrumentation expertise has spinoff benefits in other fields: developing an open-source new electronics control and measurement system for superconducting quantum processors. Three scholars from the prestigious Office of Science Graduate Student Research program also recently began working with the Division, and we share their profiles.
A “Three Questions For…” profile of postdoctoral scholar Neelay Fruitwala, summer STEM learning (and volunteer) opportunities, the latest in ATAP’s tradition of building the future of our field at US Particle Accelerator School, and a timely safety reminder about chemicals are also featured in this issue.
As we look back on February, I’d like to especially emphasize what the Laboratory did for Black History Month and the Lunar New Year. Throughout the year we’ll be featuring events like these that celebrate the uniqueness and diversity within our Lab community. Our strength is drawn from many sources, and inclusiveness helps all achieve. Respect for each other as researchers, as professionals, and above all, as human beings is another important aspect. I invite you to learn more about all these topics in this issue.
OPEN-SOURCED CONTROL HARDWARE FOR QUANTUM COMPUTERS
—Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Quantum Testbed makes quantum hardware more accessible
By Monica Hernandez, Quantum Communications Lead, Computing Research Division, and Joe Chew, Communications Coordinator, ATAP Division
The Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has open-sourced a new electronics control and measurement system for superconducting quantum processors, making the engineering solutions for the emerging hardware more accessible. Superconducting circuits are one of the leading quantum computing technologies seeking to solve complex problems beyond the reach of classical computers.
AQT’s superconducting qubit control system—QubiC for short—is customizable and modular. QubiC’s performance data was published in IEEE Transactions on Quantum Engineering. ATAP researchers Gang Huang and Yilun Xu led the AQT QubiC design, leveraging a robust technological legacy in research and development for particle accelerators. AQT is funded by the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.
The need for more affordable qubit control
Quantum information processors require expensive electronic controls that can manipulate qubits with precision. However, it is both a theoretical and experimental challenge to develop the control hardware that maximizes quantum computers’ performance. Furthermore, current coherence times are short-lived, and most commercially available electronic equipment is designed as general-purpose for non-quantum systems. The cost, size, and complexity of control and measurement hardware increase with a growing number of qubits. This presents a significant roadblock for startups and junior academic research groups worldwide.
AQT’s researchers at Berkeley Lab are tackling these control challenges by designing modular control hardware for current and future superconducting processors and open sourcing the system’s full-stack code, so that it can be accessed, improved, and leveraged by the broader quantum information science community.
“Newer control electronics systems are not tailored for quantum control systems,” explained Huang. “So quantum researchers need to make the control system bigger by purchasing more instruments as the processors become more complex. But the cost for control hardware should not be linear or exponential, and that’s where we try to come in. By building this as a more accessible and affordable system from the ground up, we really know what happens underneath for further integrations and to try to scale the design.”
QubiC integrates an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) RF (radio frequency) system, which modulates the signals at room temperature to manipulate and measure the superconducting qubits cooled down to cryogenic temperatures. AQT’s cryogenic dilution fridge “Blizzard” reaches very low temperatures, close to absolute zero.
QubiC’s Python-based software and firmware implement the control and measurement protocols to characterize and benchmark the quantum chips, optimize one- and two-qubit gate algorithms, and mitigate errors. Experimental results have demonstrated that QubiC executes quantum algorithms with promising synchronicity and speed, delivering results similar to commercially available systems at less cost.
“We’re working on providing a more modular and affordable hardware control solution that performs equal to or slightly better with the added benefits,” emphasized Huang. “But we cannot do everything by ourselves, so by open sourcing the code, we can find a community willing to support, contribute, and develop.”
QubiC is compatible with commercial and custom-designed electronics. As a result, testbed users from a variety of national laboratories, startups, and companies have shown strong interest to deploy their projects using QubiC’s customizable interface.
Xu explained: “Open sourcing the full stack of the QubiC system benefits the community because more people can contribute, customize, and improve it. And as an early career researcher involved in its design from the start, I have learned to integrate different disciplines from engineering to physics to experiments.”
Leveraging the legacy of particle accelerators
The research and development of AQT’s control hardware comes from a seemingly unlikely source, but one that leverages Berkeley Lab’s origins and 91-year history: particle accelerators. Across their many sizes and purposes—ranging from compact medical treatment machines to extensive research facilities like the Large Hadron Collider—accelerators speed up charged particles and funnel them into a controlled beam to explore matter and energy.
As particle accelerators grow more powerful, the need for state-of-the-art instrumentation and control systems increases. It’s critical to precisely stabilize particle beams and the sophisticated equipment that produces them. The resulting technology and know-how can benefit many other fields, such as quantum computing.
Huang and Xu are members of the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program, where expertise in these control systems is a common resource crucial to the varied efforts of the ATAP Division. BACI, supported by the General Accelerator R&D program in the DOE Office of High Energy Physics, has a decades-long history of developing precision control and feedback systems for particle accelerator projects. “I am very happy to see that previous investment for accelerator controls now can be further developed and used for qubits controls,” said BACI Program Head Derun Li.
“Particle accelerators are a vital component of Berkeley Lab’s scientific endeavors, so the work with advanced FPGA-based RF control technology and engineering for particle beams helped us streamline the customization for quantum hardware,” added Huang. “AQT researchers and testbed users are able to take advantage of the open source toolbox and gain a deeper understanding of flexible control hardware platforms that are both cost-effective and scalable.”
Open access testbed
Extensible quantum computers will require significant modifications to current tools and standard techniques, which is why AQT researchers have pioneered the open sourced control hardware used in the Berkeley Lab quantum computing testbed program that is inspired by technology transfer of particle accelerators.
By providing AQT users full stack access to QubiC and its infrastructure, the broader community has access to state-of-the-art superconducting quantum processors and co-participates in their evolution, potentially making QubiC compatible with other quantum computing technologies as well.
SCGSR PROGRAM BRINGS THREE GRADUATE SCHOLARS TO ATAP
The DOE’s prestigious Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program is enabling three graduate students to spend time in ATAP’s BELLA Center this spring: experimentalists Lauren Cooper of the University of Michigan and Kyle Jensen of the University of Nebraska, as well as computational modeler Roland Hesse, also of Nebraska.
The SCGSR program helps prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers crucial to the DOE Office of Science mission, by providing supplemental funds and an opportunity to conduct part of their thesis research at a DOE laboratory in collaboration with scientists there.
ATAP Division Director Cameron Geddes described the SCGSR program as “an important way for top doctoral students to connect with the team-science environment and leadership facilities at the national laboratories, while combining the strengths of research from their home institutions with those at the Lab to create new projects and capabilities.”
Lauren Cooper: Stacking pulses for the lasers of tomorrow
A doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, Cooper is building broadband laser pulse stackers at Berkeley Lab; these pulse stackers will test coherent combining techniques at the limits of ultrashort pulses.
If successful, “this will be the first demonstration of its kind, showing temporal stacking of very short pulses,” said Tong Zhou, Berkeley Lab advisor for Cooper’s SCGSR project, and will be a stepping stone for future experiments involving higher power. The overall project is developing coherent laser combining, a leading prospect for next-generation lasers that can deliver high average power with high peak powers, including the Laboratory’s kBELLA initiative.
Cooper’s undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering, but an undergraduate research opportunity in a laser laboratory, and an internship with a beamline group at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, inspired her to do graduate work in laser science.
“I really like the national lab environment, because there are so many different cool projects going on at same time,” said Cooper, quoted in an article by the University of Michigan’s Hayley Hanway. “It’s really motivating and inspiring to me.”
Kyle Jensen: From an inspiring AMO seminar to LPAs
Kyle Jensen, a doctoral student from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will be working with BELLA Center Deputy Director for Experiments Jeroen van Tilborg and Research Scientist Sam Barber. His SCGSR project—twelve months in duration—will examine whether metallic or dielectric wakefield accelerator structures can be used to measure longitudinal emittance of electron beams. In a nutshell, the leading electrons in a narrow evacuated tube could drive a wakefield strong enough to affect (and thus diagnose) the trailing electrons.
This plays into Jensen’s long-term interest in laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs). A key goal of his work is to demonstrate control over the electron and photon beams’ spectral distribution and brightness. This level of control is useful for any LPA applications—particularly “staging,” the use of the output of one LPA as the input to another in order to achieve higher electron energies. (Staging is key to many LPA applications and especially the eventual goal of a high-energy-physics collider. It was first demonstrated at BELLA Center in 2016, and staging experiments will be an important use of the Second Beamline project on the BELLA Petawatt laser.) “Whether it is a new laser that drives the 2nd stage wakefields, or an electron beam from the first stage that is applied as a driver, these are options worth exploring,” said van Tilborg.
Jensen’s undergraduate degree was from a small liberal-arts college. There he’d gotten some experience with computation and with small-scale lasers, which sparked an interest in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics. When he entered graduate school, a department seminar series included a talk by Professor Matthias Fuchs, leader of the Ultrafast and High-Field X-ray Science Group. “There was something about my advisor’s research that really resonated with me,” recalled Jensen, and in a group that did “everything under the sun” related to that field, he became interested in LPAs.
Roland Hesse: Putting laser-plasma physics and software in touch
Roland Hesse, a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is applying numerical tools to study particle distribution in intense standing-wave fields set up in plasmas by high-powered lasers.
Hesse works on computational models for understanding laser plasmas, focusing in particular on how to improve certain modeling techniques. His work has focused on developing a paradigm for redistributing computational resources according to kinetic activity, using a type of simulation called a Vlasov-Maxwell code after its mathematical basis. These codes are very well suited to the physics he is modeling, but seldom used in that field because they are so computationally intensive.
In his SCGSR work, Hesse, who has already written a one-dimensional Vlasov code, will apply his expertise to a better understanding of nonlinear wave-breaking. “The goal is to put what I’ve been learning about model design to use once we better understand the physics, and have structured feedback between the physical problem and the mathematical problem,” Hesse said.
“Electromagnetic theory is one of the more interesting things to me,” he added, “and a kinetic plasma is a place where you can toy around with that and come to a real understanding of what’s going on. ‘How does this work?’ That’s the thing that fascinates me.”
Connections among people make for scientific progress
Connections between Berkeley Lab and the academic laser science and technology community are key to matching top students with research opportunities. “This is a big SCGSR cohort, said Schroeder. “The faculty advisors are interested in collaborating with us, and SCGSR is a good mechanism to further that collaboration and do some good work.”
“In each case, the combination of the resources and expertise of the Lab with important new ideas move both the students and the research forward,” said Geddes.
Cooper is a student of Professor Almantas Galvanauskas, whose research group at the University of Michigan also produced Zhou, and who has been a collaborator in that work from the beginning. She performed doing simulation work during her first few weeks in Berkeley and since has begun experimental work.
Jensen was steered toward both the SCGSR program and Berkeley Lab by his advisor Matthias Fuchs, who had a budding collaboration with BELLA Center.
Hesse was put in touch with his Berkeley Lab mentor—BELLA Center Deputy Director for Theory Carl Schroeder—by his graduate advisor Bradley Shadwick, formerly a Berkeley Lab scientist and now Professor of Physics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Persevering through the pandemic
Cooper and Jensen, both experimentalists, are at Berkeley Lab, working under the Lab’s pandemic precautions. Hesse was originally headed our way more than a year ago, but the pandemic intervened, with Berkeley Lab going into its shelter-in-place phase as he was planning his SCGSR summer. More recently, he revised his plans… just as the omicron variant came along. The delays brought him close to the end of his doctoral studies, with graduation expected in December. As his work is more theoretical, Hesse is collaborating virtually.
SCGSR Application Cycle Begins
The Office of Science has opened applications for the next SCGSR cycle (deadline May 4). The prestigious and competitive program invites applications from current Ph.D. students who are in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions; who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted subject areas; and who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents. ATAP encourages interested students to reach out to scientists in the Division to discuss potential projects.
NEWS IN BRIEF
HiRES UED is Front-Page News in Nature Communications Physics
A paper on electron diffraction discussed in the previous issue of ATAP News has been selected as the virtual “cover” story of Nature Communication Physics. The paper describes how the High Repetition Rate Electron Scattering facility, developed by ATAP’s Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program and located at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), was used to perform the first-ever ultrafast electron diffraction studies of optical melting of tantalum ditelluride (TaTe2). Tantalum ditelluride is one of a class of materials called transition-metal dichalcogenides, studied increasingly over the last several years, that have interesting and potentially useful properties when formed into atomically thin monolayers.
The achievement, previously summarized in a Research Highlight by Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, also helps validate the scientific usefulness of this one-of-a-kind instrument, enabled by research that began with advanced photoinjectors for light sources. ATAP’s Daniele Filippetto, principal investigator of the HiRES UED beamline, is a corresponding author of the paper in Nature journal Communications Physics.
Speaker Pelosi Headlines VIP Visit to ALS
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, fellow California representatives Barbara Lee and Doris Matsui, University of California President Michael Drake, and Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger toured the Advanced Light Source (ALS) on May 25.
The delegation toured this prominent DOE Office of Science user facility, met staff and student researchers, and held a press conference on the America COMPETES Act. Lab leaders and researchers shared ways the ALS propels research in the fields of clean energy, microelectronics, human health, and more.
ATAP provides accelerator physics and operations support for the ALS. We have been integral to the many enhancements of this Office of Science user facility through its history and are helping design its upcoming major upgrade.
Ina Reichel, who is ATAP’s Outreach and Education coordinator and also a member of the ALS communications team, along with research scientist Tobias Ostermayr of ATAP’s BELLA Center, were among those involved in the visit.
Three Questions For… Neelay Fruitwala
Welcome to 3Q4, in which a few questions help us get to know the people behind the science. In this issue we meet Neelay Fruitwala, postdoctoral scholar in the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program. Fruitwala works with Gang Huang and Yilun Xu on readout and control systems for quantum computing.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Houston, Texas, he came to California to do his undergraduate work at Caltech, then went to the University of California, Santa Barbara for graduate school.
You’ve made quite a subject matter change since grad school—from astrophysics to quantum computing.
I wanted to try something different after my PhD and found an opportunity. After four months here I’m still getting my feet wet, but I’m helping work on a readout and control system for superconducting qubits. The name of the system is QuBIC, and it’s an open-source, FPGA-based control system that Berkeley Lab developed in-house. The Advanced Quantum Testbed uses it as well as a commercial solution.
Although the applications are different, the fundamentals of the technology I’m using are pretty similar. Part of my PhD was on superconducting detector readouts for optical astronomy, so my experience with those electronics translates pretty well to quantum computing systems.
What got you interested in science?
It’s hard to say, because as far back as my memory goes, I always liked science and watched science TV shows. My parents said I was always asking questions! I liked engineering as well, and was always tinkering with things and playing with K’NEX and Legos and so forth, and remember having a half-disassembled VCR on my desk for about a year.
In high school, I did a lot of science extracurriculars that I really enjoyed, like the model rocketry club. We competed to see how close we could come to a target altitude and whether we could land to a target and so forth. I wasn’t a huge math person in elementary school—I found the things we had to do pretty tedious—but once I got into calculus and calculus-based physics in high school, I found that very interesting. So that pushed me toward physics.
Another thing that was a big influence on me was AP computer science. I took that class and just fell in love with it. I felt like I may not have known what I wanted to do, but it would have to have a substantial programming element.
What do you think of being in Berkeley and working in COVID times?
I really like the walkability of the city. When I was in Santa Barbara, I lived in Goleta, which is more of a suburban environment. It was nice, and it was close to the beach and there were a lot of good nature opportunities around, but it wasn’t very walkable.
It’s been a little hard, especially starting out, with so many things primarily remote. Having regular meetings with my supervisor, Gang Huang, just to go over things and ask questions, has been a big thing for me in staying engaged and involved. I’ve been able to come in at least one day a week to do hands-on lab work.
Psychological Well-Being in the Pandemic
ATAP and Berkeley Lab have borne up remarkably well with pandemic safety measures, but humans are social creatures and these new styles of work and daily life do not always come naturally. But there are ways to cope and even to find opportunities amid the challenges. As Christina Maslach, a US-Berkeley professor emerita of psychology, said, “I think we’re poised to really be more creative and think outside the box on this.”
You can hear advice on making the best of it for ourselves—and each other— as we navigate the “next normals” in the February UC Campus Conversations roundtable. Maslach is joined by colleagues Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology and founding director of UC-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and Peter Cornish, UC-Berkeley’s director of Counseling and Psychological Services.
New Return-to-Work Website
Are you new to the Lab, or coming back to in-person work for the first time in a while and wondering what has changed? Make Return to Lab Sites your first stop. Newcomers to the Lab community will also benefit from the Berkeley Lab Onboarding website.
Recent events and announcements, in case you missed it…
Follow ATAP on Social Media
Whether explaining our researchers’ latest achievements and amplifying the thoughts of others, selected social media have become important additions to ATAP’s communications strategy. A special sentiment about the elements of Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year, and Black History Month were among February’s standouts. Join us on LinkedIn and Twitter!
INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY (IDEA)
Black History Month at Berkeley Lab
As Black History Month comes to a close, check out the African American Employee Resource Group. Their Black History Month speaker series this year has a theme, “A Plan of Action,” focusing on developing career and personal plans as a way to move to a place of equality.
Many resources are also available beyond Berkeley Lab. BlackHistoryMonth.gov, a joint effort of several government entities, as great place to begin exploration. The diversity initiatives of the American Institute of Physics also include a collection of physics-focused Black History Month resources.
Celebrating Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is a time of celebration in many nations and cultures. Berkeley Lab’s GLoBaL and Asian and Pacific Islander Employee Resource Groups collaborated in a celebration of what Lunar New Year means in some of the cultures and traditions represented at Berkeley Lab. If you missed it, we invite you to see their recorded their February 9 virtual event.
Spotlight on Respect: A Conversation with Members of the Lab Community
A recent article in Research News, published by the Laboratory’s Deputy Director for Research, described respect as “one of the most important of the Lab’s Stewardship values. It means that we care for one another. We depend on contributions from many people, disciplines, and roles to unlock the potential of individuals and teams. Because of this, each of us takes responsibility for the well-being, safety, and belonging of others in our communities.”
Deputy Director and Chief Research Officer Carol Burns described respect as “foundational to our team science approach here at Berkeley Lab.”
Research News interviewed several members of the Lab community, including ATAP Division Director Cameron Geddes, to learn how they think about, and practice, respect in their daily work. To Geddes, respect is “a cornerstone of any good relationship” and “a key element of psychological safety, adding, “Respect isn’t passive but active—it should be expressed and inform all our actions.” Read more in the Research News article.
OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
SAGE Camp Accepting Applications; Deadline March 31
Science Accelerating Girls’ Engagement (SAGE) has opened applications for its summer 2022 session. SAGE is a day-camp program for young women and other students marginalized by gender, ages 14-17, who are presently in the 9th through 11th grades at California public high schools.
Held virtually in recent years due to the pandemic, SAGE is returning to an in-person format this summer (proof of vaccination required). The weeklong program July 31-August 6 will engage intelligent, creative, and passionate young women in the everyday lives of national-lab scientists and engineers through job shadowing, hands-on projects, professional development, and more.
Students and Parents
To learn more about SAGE Camp 2022 and start your application, visit its page on the Berkeley Lab K-12 website. The application process includes a couple of brief essay questions and a recommendation from a teacher, coach, manager, or counselor, so don’t delay!
We invite you to explore Berkeley Lab’s many other opportunities to learn about science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) topics and careers.
Berkeley Lab staff who would like to help with SAGE Summer Camp as subcommittee members or application readers should visit the SAGE Camp volunteer page. You can also explore our other ways to help inspire and guide the STEM professionals of tomorrow.
Lehe, Waldron Continue ATAP’s USPAS Teaching Tradition
Two ATAP people were among the instructional teams at at the virtual winter session of the US Particle Accelerator School, an important institution in educating new accelerator scientists. Rémi Lehe of the Accelerator Modeling Program led the instructional team for “Optimization and Machine Learning for Accelerators,” together with Auralee Edelen, Christopher Mayes and Ryan Roussel, all of SLAC, and Adi Hanuka of EikonTX. Will Waldron, an Engineering Division staff member long associated with ATAP projects and programs, taught in “Pulsed Power Engineering” along with Craig Burkhart and Tony Beukers of SLAC, and David Anderson, Chris Pappas and Jared Walden of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Both were two-week courses.
ATAP’s involvement with USPAS goes back to the early days of the school. Beginning with the symposium-style programs of the 1980s and including the Joint International Particle Accelerator School, more than 80 people who were, had been, or would become employees of ATAP and its predecessor organizations have taught at USPAS, for a total of more than 100 courses and lectures. Many of these courses are team-taught with colleagues from other institutions, building lasting connections throughout the accelerator community.
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
Jianhui Bin, Lieselotte Obst-Huebl, Jian-Hua Mao, Kei Nakamura (LBNL); Laura D. Geulig (now at LMU Munich); Hang Chang, Qing Ji, Li He (LBNL); Jared De Chant (now at Michigan State University); Zachary Kober, Anthony J. Gonsalves, Stepan Bulanov, Susan E. Celniker, Carl B. Schroeder, Cameron G.R. Geddes, Eric Esarey, Blake A. Simmons, Thomas Schenkel, Eleanor A. Blakely (LBNL); Sven Steinke (now at Marvel Gusion GmbH); Antoine M. Snijders (LBNL), “A new platform for ultra-high dose rate radiobiological research using the BELLA PW laser proton beamline,” Nature Scientific Reports 12, 1484 (27 January 2022), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-05181-3
Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology Program
Emanuele Albertinale, Léo Balembois, Eric Billaud, Vishal Ranjan, Daniel Flanigan (CEA Saclay); Thomas Schenkel (LBNL); Daniel Estève, Denis Vion, Patrice Bertet & Emmanuel Flurin (CEA Saclay), “Detecting spins by their fluorescence with a microwave photon counter,” Nature 600, 434–438 (15 December 2021), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04076-z
Accelerator Modeling Program
J. Qiang, “X-ray FEL linear accelerator design via start-to-end global optimization,” Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research A 1027, 166294 (11 March 2022, available online 17 January 2022), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2021.166294
Invited talk without publication venue
Axel Huebl, “openPMD – Scientific, Community Meta-Data Standard,” LPA Online Workshop on Control Systems and Machine Learning, Working Group 5, “Big data storage, handling and access,” January 26, 2022, slides at
Rémi Lehe, lead instructor, “Optimization and Machine Learning for Accelerators,” Online Winter 2022 Session, January 24-February 4, 2022.
Will Waldron, instructor, “Pulsed Power Engineering,” Online Winter 2022 Session, January 24-February 4, 2022.
SAFETY: THE BOTTOM LINE
“Retirement Planning” for Chemicals
Maintaining the momentum of Safety Week, which had a theme of chemical hygiene and stewardship, let’s review our work and storage areas and ask ourselves two important questions:
•How old is that chemical?
•Do I really need it?
Chemicals (and their containers) can degrade with time, becoming more hazardous — and less useful. Most chemicals have some hazards, and removing unneeded or expired chemicals from your work area for proper disposal reduces the hazard to you and your coworkers.
These chemical stewardship tips are adapted from Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area:
- Limit the container size. Rather than purchasing a large container that will never get completely used up, consider purchasing a smaller size container instead.
- Procure and use the minimum amount of material required for the experiment. Don’t stockpile chemicals.
- Some chemicals are time-sensitive or have a maximum shelf life. Procure only the quantity needed within this time period.
- Borrow what you need from a colleague in your group or use the Chemical Management System (CMS) to assist you in finding a source of the chemical at Berkeley Lab.
- Identify and use safer chemical alternatives. Consider less toxic or reactive chemical alternatives when possible.
- Conduct periodic cleanouts to minimize accumulation unwanted chemicals, secondary containers, and samples.
For assistance with proper chemical disposal, contact our Hazardous Waste Generator Assistant, Chan Ho Yi, 510-486-5886.
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