Sam Barber, a research scientist from the BELLA Center at ATAP, has been honored with the 2023 Berkeley Lab Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in the category of Early-Career Scientific Achievement.

The award was presented “For leadership and technical contributions that paved the way for robust laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs) and for pioneering their applications as high-brightness injectors and free-electron laser drivers, resulting in demonstration of coherent gain in an LPA-driven FEL.”

Sam Barber was awarded the 2023 Director’s Award for Exceptional Early Scientific Career Achievement. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

Barber’s work is focused on developing next-generation light sources using laser-plasma accelerators. His Department of Energy Early Career Research Program project, “Extending the reach of light source facilities with precision laser plasma injectors,” aims to provide a blueprint for integrating LPA-driven light sources into existing and future light source facilities. The work could provide the scientific community with the tools to advance research in areas such as biotechnology and quantum materials science.

Asmita Patel was awarded the 2023 Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in IDEA-Mentoring. (Credit Berkeley Lab)

Asmita Patel, ATAP Deputy Division Director for Operations, and colleagues from the Mentoring@LBNL Team were awarded the Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in IDEA – Mentorship. The award recognized their efforts “For building the critical foundations of a complex mentoring ecosystem that fulfills different employee needs around mentorship while also modeling the value of team science and cross-lab collaboration over three years.”

The WarpX team was honored with the Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Scientific category. It was awarded “For an innovative accelerator modeling development code, WarpX, which pushed forward the state of the art via algorithmic innovation and high-performance computing at exascale—achievements made in the Berkeley Lab tradition of team science.”

The team comprised several researchers from the Accelerator Modeling Program at ATAP, including Jean-Luc Vay, Axel Huebl, Remi Lehe, Olga Shapoval, Arianna Formenti, Marco Garten, Ryan Sandberg, and Edoardo Zoni, as well as colleagues from other divisions.

WarpX enables computational explorations of key physics questions in the transport and acceleration of particle beams in long chains of plasma channels. This could yield significant savings in designing and characterizing plasma-based colliders before they are built. Using exascale modeling to validate these devices could also lead to broader applications, such as sterilizing food or toxic waste, implanting ions in semiconductors, treating cancer, advancing fusion research, and developing new drugs.

“Our congratulations to all the winners of this year’s awards,” said ATAP Director Cameron Geddess. “The ATAP awards this year recognize and honor outstanding contributions to advancing the Lab’s scientific mission, pioneering transformative new techniques, an ethos of team science, and a work culture that fosters and advances inclusivity and diversity.”

The 2023 Director’s Achievement Awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. PT on November 8, 2023, in the Building 50 Auditorium at Berkeley Lab, followed by a reception in Building 67.