Berkeley Lab

Director’s Corner

Cameron Geddes

Cameron Geddes

This issue of ATAP News showcases the exciting work that our researchers are doing to advance accelerator technologies and expand their range of applications, promising breakthroughs in fundamental scientific research, materials science, medicine, and many other areas.

For example, scientists and engineers from our Superconducting Magnet Program (SMP) working with colleagues from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory have demonstrated a new superconducting magnet that could enable more powerful, energy-efficient particle accelerators. These machines could advance research in high-energy physics and fusion, and enhance the capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging machines used in medical diagnosis.

Researchers at our BELLA Center have developed an innovative technique for combining fiber lasers to create laser pluses lasting only 42 femtoseconds (a millionth-billionth of a second) These ultrashort pulses—the shortest ever achieved from a fiber laser system—are needed to drive next-generation laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs), which promise to push the frontiers of science.

As particle accelerators and colliders increase in complexity and sophistication, so do the tools needed to model the accelerator and beam dynamics. Researchers from our Accelerator Modeling Program are collaborating with several other national labs as well as colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles, to develop advanced software tools that could help to extend the capabilities of existing accelerator facilities and enable the creation of new future accelerator designs like LPAs.

Using our Advanced Light Sources’ HiRES beamline, ATAP researchers have developed a new diagnostics tool that could improve the performance of ultrafast electron diffraction (UED). A powerful technique that uses beams of electrons to probe atoms and molecules, UED promises advances in fundamental scientific research and discoveries in material science, chemistry, and biology.

In a fascinating Q&A on fusion energy, SMP Research Scientist Reed Teyber and I share our vision on the path forward for fusion research, both in the wider research community and closer to home at Berkeley Lab.

And we shine a spotlight on Project Scientist Olga Shapoval and her work on mathematical models and numerical methods for modeling plasma accelerators.

As part of our education and outreach activities, Senior Scientist and deputy SMP head, Paolo Ferracin, guided students from Berkeley High School around our magnet assembly facilities, where they learned about superconducting magnets and their importance to particle accelerators and colliders.

Six researchers from the Lab taught a variety of courses at the Summer 2023 session of the US Particle Accelerator School, which took place from June 5-16, 2023, in Long Island, New York.

BELLA Center Research Scientist Lieselotte Obst-Huebl will mentor an Office of Science Graduate Student Research program scholar on an 8-month-long research project. Starting in August, the project aims to improve the models used to describe the interactions of lasers with targets.

Ina Reichel, ATAP’s Education, Outreach, & Diversity Coordinator, and Rama Kuravi from Berkeley Lab’s Engineering represented the Lab at the Oakland Unified School District’s inaugural OUSD STEM Fair at Oakland High School. The event attracted over 1,400 Oakland students.

And this July, the Lab will host the Science Accelerating Girls’ Engagement in STEM (SAGE). The one-week summer camp for public high school students (aged 14-17) provides participants with an opportunity to learn from the Lab’s Scientists and engineers about what life in STEM professions is like.

June marks the start of Pride Month—a time when we celebrate LGBTQ+ identity with love and pride, and recognize the ongoing contribution that our LGBTQ+ colleagues are making to advance and support scientific breakthroughs.

This month is also Immigrant Heritage Month, when we celebrate the contributions that immigrants and their descendants have made to our shared history and culture.

On June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth. A Federal holiday, Juneteenth commemorates a day when we celebrate the strength, resilience, and heritage of Black Americans.

In May, we celebrated Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which recognizes their contributions and influence—past, present, and future—to the history, culture, and achievements of America.

May was also Mental Health Awareness Month when we shine a spotlight on issues surrounding mental health and wellness. At our May All-to-All meeting, we learnt about the challenges of mental health in the workplace and strategies for promoting and practicing good mental health.

And to further foster a diverse and inclusive and work environment, at April’s All-to-All meeting representatives from the Lab’s Human Resources team presented an overview of how ATAP’s recruitment process incorporates best practices when recruiting new staff.