Berkeley Lab’s contributions to the LCLS-II project continue at an impressive pace. Our injector-source team is working with SLAC on installation, with an early commissioning plan in the works. Meanwhile, the first two production hard-X-ray undulator modules arrived from their respective vendors, while the ninth and tenth soft-X-ray undulator modules were delivered.

We are also making key technology contributions to the High-Luminosity LHC, an upgrade of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

BELLA Center’s plans include two beamlines based on 100-TW lasers constructed last year, and April brought a milestone for one of them: the first electrons produced at HTT, the Hundred-Terawatt Thomson scattering experiment. It now begins a campaign toward the first gamma-ray photons. Meanwhile, the National Academies have released a report that calls for a US national strategy for the “second laser revolution.”

In an effort facilitated by the Cyclotron Road tech “incubator,” a private-sector firm used the Warp accelerator code in an attempt to improve thermoelectric sources, which could have a wide variety of societally impactful results.

Efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce are an active topic throughout the Laboratory. Learn what Berkeley Lab is doing to improve, with some ATAP employees working hard to contribute to this progress.

I would like to close on a note of both personal and professional importance to me as a cycling enthusiast and a proponent of safety. The Lab had three bicycle accidents in March. It is a rewarding place to ride, but one’s skills and equipment must be up to par. Please consider the April 24 “Urban Cycling 101” class and other resources mentioned below… and whether you ride or drive, be aware that the new, site-wide speed limit is 15 mph.


The SLAC-based multi-laboratory project to build LCLS-II, a next-generation free-electron laser light source, requires the collaborators to meet state-of-the-art challenges in accelerator physics and technology from end to end. We recently delivered on one of our major responsibilities in the project—the injector source—and are now helping to install it. Meanwhile we are managing production of undulators for the two FELs, one each for hard and soft X rays.

Looking Forward to a Head Start on Injector Source Commissioning

All LCLS-II Injector Source hardware and documentation has been delivered to SLAC, and major components have been installed in the linac tunnel. While installation continues on the many other components and systems required to operate the injector, LBNL physicists and engineers have contributed to planning and preparations for an early start to beam commissioning for LCLS-II.

This Early Injector Commissioning (EIC) plan involves the accelerator components of the injector that LBNL provided: the RF gun, cathode load-lock, RF buncher, low-energy beamline, and RF power amplifier and distribution systems for the gun. SLAC will provide the photocathode laser and Faraday cup. These are all “warm” components; the EIC will not include the cryogenic accelerating cryomodule that will ultimately be part of the injector system.

LCLS-II injector system installed at SLAC
Click for larger version.
RF power team of LBNL and SLAC staff and vendor representatives
Click for larger version.

Above left: The VHF gun and low-energy beamline installed in the linac tunnel at SLAC. Above right: Vendor engineers have been collaborating with LBNL and SLAC staff members to test the gun’s RF power amplifier.

A Technical Readiness Review was held on March 26, followed by a Project Readiness Review on April 6, both with LBNL participation as presenters and committee members. Before the EIC can begin commissioning, there will be one more review of EIC Readiness, held April 24-25. Successful completion and closeout of this review’s recommendations will allow the SLAC/LBNL team to start collaborative work on full operation of the installed hardware. Accelerator physics, engineering, and low-level RF controls (LLRF) experts will be engaged in the EIC over a period of about 12 months.

Undulator Production

SXR Undulators #090 and #010 Arrive
Soft X-ray (SXR) FEL beamline undulators continue through production on schedule. As of early April, 10 modules have been delivered to SLAC. There they are magnetically tuned and calibrated, then stored to await installation. Ultimately, a chain of 21 modules will make up the SXR FEL.

Two soft-X-ray free electron laser modules, numbers 9 and 10, arrive at SLAC SXR undulator modules #090 and 010 arrive at SLAC.

They came from Keller Technology Corporation in Tonawanda, New York. Keller integrates the magnetic modules, delivered from Vacuumschmelze GmbH & Co. of Hanau, Germany, into the mechanical systems. The completed units are then shipped to SLAC for tuning and calibration, followed by storage until it is time for installation in the undulator hall, planned for 2019.

First Two Production HGVPUs Delivered

The hard X-ray (HXR) FEL beamline is populated with horizontal-gap vertically polarizing undulators (HGVPUs). The first two production articles (one from each of two integration vendors) have been delivered to LBNL and SLAC.

Careful measurements of environmental stability during testing at LBNL have shown small (few-micron) distortions that have been traced to differences in thermal expansion rates in components. Mitigations for these effects are now being tested on a fully rebuilt undulator that includes flexures to allow for slight movement between components. These design changes will be validated in precision magnetic and mechanical measurements over the coming months, and modifications will then be implemented in production of the remaining 31 modules.

First Two HGVPUs Delivered

The first two production HGVPUs are delivered to LBNL (left) and SLAC from their respective integration vendors.

— Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center seeks to enhance its laser capabilities and R&D


Adapted from a news release by Glenn Roberts, Jr., LBNL Public Affairs
Image - A view of BELLA, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

A view of BELLA, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

A new study calls for the U.S. to step up its laser R&D efforts to better compete with major overseas efforts to build large, high-power laser systems, and notes progress and milestones at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center and other sites.

An investment in this “second laser revolution” promises to open up a range of applications, from machining to medicine to particle acceleration, according to the December report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which offers independent analysis to government agencies and policymakers.

“We look forward to enhancing our own laser capabilities at Berkeley Lab while working with our partners to strengthen the nation’s laser R&D efforts”
— LBNL Physical Sciences Area Director James Symons

The 280-page report, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light,” recommends increased coordination and collaboration by government labs and agencies, universities, and industry to build up U.S. laser facilities and capabilities.

It also recommends that the DOE lead the creation of a national strategy to develop and operate large-scale national laboratory-based laser projects, midscale projects that could potentially be hosted at universities, and a laser tech-transfer program connecting industry, academia, and national labs.

The committee that prepared the report visited Berkeley Lab and other Northern California national labs, including SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The committee also visited the Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines laser facility site that is underway in the Czech Republic, and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics of the University of Rochester in New York.

At the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), BELLA scientists are working to develop laser-based acceleration techniques that could lead to more compact particle accelerators for high-energy physics and drivers for high-energy light sources; also, the report notes, “laser expertise and utilization” that had been concentrated at other laboratories “is now broadening with plans for utilization of lasers at (Berkeley Lab)” and elsewhere.

BELLA has made progress in demonstrating the rapid acceleration of electrons using separate stages of laser-based acceleration by forming and heating plasmas in which a powerful wave is created for electrons to “surf” on.

“There’s a lot of work that’s been done already, and Berkeley Lab has been a key developer for the vision of where things need to go,” said Wim Leemans, director of the BELLA Center and the Lab’s Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division.

Berkeley Lab was home to a pioneering experiment in 2004 that showed laser plasma acceleration can produce relatively narrow energy spread beams — reported in the “Dream Beam” issue of the journal Nature — and in 2006 used a similar laser-driven acceleration technique to accelerate electrons to a then-record energy of 1 billion electron volts, or GeV. That achievement was followed in 2014 by a 4.2 GeV beam, using the powerful new laser that is at the heart of the BELLA Center and will be key to its ongoing campaign for 10 GeV.

In 1996, Berkeley Lab had also logged the first demonstration of X-ray pulses lasting just quadrillionths of a second with a technique known as “inverse Compton scattering,” the report notes.

“Berkeley Lab has been a key developer for the vision of where things need to go”
— ATAP Director Wim Leemans

k-BELLA: combining speed and power

“What industry is seeing is the push toward higher-average-power lasers and ultrafast lasers, and it’s starting to impact machining and industrial applications,” Leemans said. “That’s really good news for us.” In laser lingo, average power relates to how much total power the laser puts out over time, counting the pulses and the “off time” between pulses, while the peak power is that of an individual pulse.

A rapid-fire rate of high-power pulses gives a laser higher average power and can potentially be applied to a wider range of uses. The National Academies report recommends that U.S. scientific stakeholders should work to define the technical specifications in laser performance goals, such as targets for peak power, repetition rate, length of pulses, and the wavelength of laser light.

In 2012 the BELLA Center’s laser set a record by delivering a petawatt (quadrillion watts) of power packed into pulses that measured 40 quadrillionths of a second in length and came at a rate of one per second.

A new goal is to up this pulse rate to 1,000 per second, or a kilohertz, for a next-gen upgrade dubbed k-BELLA. Producing pulse rates of up to 10,000 or 100,000 per second could make this machine relevant for a new type of laser-based particle accelerator.

“There are lots of applications for a k-BELLA-style laser,” Leemans said. The vision is for k-BELLA to be a collaborative research facility that would be open to scientists from outside the Lab, he said, which also syncs with the recommendations in the report to foster a more cooperative environment for laser science and scientists. Forging and maintaining connections to other world-class laser centers is also key for the U.S. laser program, the report notes.

Another upgrade that may be useful to the U.S. laser program is the addition of a second beamline at BELLA, Leemans said. A second beamline could enable exotic collisions between a beam of light and an electron beam, or between two beams of light.

Laser-produced beams of light elements, and laser-produced low-energy electron beams, could also be pursued at BELLA to develop the biomedical basis for new types of medical treatments that better target cancers, for example. “We look forward to enhancing our own laser capabilities at Berkeley Lab while working with our partners to strengthen the nation’s laser R&D efforts,” said James Symons, associate laboratory director for physical sciences. “Higher average power lasers will be essential for all practical applications of laser plasma accelerators.”

The National Academies report was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.


The Large Hadron Collider at CERN will begin a two-and-a-half-year upgrade around 2023, during their third long scheduled shutdown (LS3), to boost the beam’s luminosity and thus the rate of particle collisions. The expertise at the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology will be key to the US contributions to the High-Luminosity LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project, an essential component of which is the design and construction of advanced and powerful focusing magnets.

Both this advanced technology and the multi-lab and international collaboration model will be among many BCMT and ATAP contributions to HL-LHC and whatever is beyond it in circular colliders for high-energy physics.

Schematic view of the layout for the interaction region magnets shows the major functional systems (and the international nature of the project). For reference, the distance from the TAXS to the end of D1 is approximately 60 m. The interaction point is about 20 m to the right of this sketch. (Figure courtesy L. Rossi, CERN.)

History and context

Major accelerators tend to be repeatedly upgraded over the years, maximizing the scientific return on the investment. Before the LHC was even completed in its present version, famed as the discovery site of the Higgs boson, scientists and engineers were planning upgrades. LBNL has had a primary role since the inception of the four-laboratory US Large Hadron Collider Accelerator Research Program (US-LARP) collaboration that helped develop and demonstrate components for these upgrades.

The latest effort will combine several improvements that add up to an order-of-magnitude increase in beam luminosity. This translates into an increase in the rate of particle collisions and thus the detail with which LHC users can explore the Standard Model of Particles and Interactions and search for new physics within the LHC’s energy reach. Hilumi-LHC made its official transition at CERN from an R&D program to a construction project in 2015, and the US arm of this effort, the High-Luminosity LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project (HL-LHC AUP), received Critical Decisions 1 (approval of the decision after considering alternatives, and of the cost range) and 3a (go-ahead for procurement of long-lead-time items) from the Department of Energy in late 2017.

The upgrade will include a set of new, unprecedentedly powerful focusing quadrupoles that will be installed just upstream of the interaction points for final focus of the beams just before collision. By focusing the beam more tightly, these quadrupoles will double the luminosity at the interaction points all by themselves, a major contribution to the factor-of-10 overall luminosity upgrade.

Focusing on the quadrupoles

A key element in HL-LHC is replacement of the existing “inner triplet magnets,” which are groups of three assemblies of superconducting quadrupole magnets (plus some corrector magnets). These assemblies are located within 23 m of the ATLAS and CMS detectors, at interaction points designated IP1 and IP5.

The existing quadrupole magnets were made with coils using niobium-titanium (NbTi) cables, the superconductor technology used in accelerators thus far. NbTi is ductile, relatively easy to work with, and familiar, with all the advantages of any mature technology. A highly mature technology, though, also tends to be near its limits, with only incremental evolutionary gains to be had. Some years ago, though, magnet designers realized that a new generation of greatly stronger magnets, revolutionary rather than evolutionary, would need different materials inherently capable of higher magnetic fields, eventually choosing niobium-three-tin (Nb3Sn). That material is brittle, compared to the ductile NbTi, and called for new magnet designs and fabrication techniques.

The new, large-aperture, low-beta superconducting quadrupole magnets (designated “MQXF”) for HL-LHC will be made with coils using Nb3Sn — its first major use in an operating accelerator.

Cross section of the existing NbTi quadrupoles MQXA and MQXB in the LHC inner triplet magnets, compared with the new, larger-aperture niobium-tin magnet  MQXF.  (Figure courtesy   G. Ambrosio, Fermilab)

Cross section of the existing NbTi quadrupoles MQXA and MQXB in the LHC inner triplet magnets, compared with the new, larger-aperture Nb3Sn magnet MQXF. (Figure courtesy G. Ambrosio, Fermilab)

The U.S. will be contributing in-kind under the auspices of the HL-LHC AUP, which is a DOE 413.3b project with a budget in excess of 200 million USD over about 7 years. The HL-LHC AUP’s main task is to fabricate, test, and deliver all the Q1 and Q3 magnets (the new Q1 and Q3 will be identical) needed by CERN. Three DOE national laboratories are involved: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which is the lead lab, along with Brookhaven National Laboratory and ourselves. We at LBNL are in charge of fabricating all the Rutherford-style cables (102 in total) and overseeing their insulation, and are responsible for the magnet structure procurement, as well as assembly of all the quadrupole magnets called “MQXFA” (23 assemblies altogether) within Q1 and Q3.

The LBNL effort is under the purview of the Berkeley Center for Magnet Technology, which brings together magnet expertise from ATAP and the Engineering Divisions and and led by Dr. Soren Prestemon, with oversight by the ATAP and Engineering Division Directors, Dr. Wim Leemans and Henrik von der Lippe, and the Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences, Dr. James Symons.

Overall project highlights

Following Congressional budget approval at the end of March 2018, Major Items and Equipment (MIE) funds are now becoming available to LBNL.

In preparation for CD-2 (approval of performance baseline), which is expected in September 2018, schedule input has been finalized and the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) has been baselined. LBNL control account managers and their deputies have completed the required training and have been exercising the monthly reporting since January 2018.

Meanwhile, the first full-length prototype magnet, MQXFAP1, has been tested at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the results were promising. The training quench behavior was similar to that of the short models (full aperture, partial length) previously tested. The prototype comfortably passed the nominal requirements, and reached 97% of the “ultimate” performance required by CERN before a short to ground developed. It will now be disassembled for diagnosis, and the next steps will be determined on the basis of the findings.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements have also been made to Building 77A here at LBNL, where cabling and magnet assembly are performed.

Cable fabrication highlights

The Cable Team has earlier this year completed the fabrication and insulation of the last cable under LARP (the predecessor R&D program of the HL-LHC AUP), and is now formally fabricating HL-LHC AUP cables. Work is proceeding well, with the team demonstrating production rate commensurate with peak production envisioned by the project.

We have been procuring spares of critical components to minimize schedule risks, and are commissioning a new cryocooler system that can handle larger volume of samples for cable electrical quality control.

Building accelerators is also a major business proposition that requires management formalisms and documentation. In quality assurance (QA), the specification has been approved, and the key documents (the Quality Plan and the Manufacture and Inspection Plan) have passed internal review and are pending CERN approval. All the cable fabrication data are regularly uploaded to the Vector system hosted at Fermilab, who will eventually transfer them to CERN’s Manufacturing and Test Folder (MTF). We have also reviewed the QA/QC and reporting improvements we required of our subcontractor for braiding insulation, and are in the process of preparing a master agreement for placing the contracts for the insulation. Cable task will be seeing the second annual cross-check activity with CERN this summer, to maintain the validation of the mechanical QC systems.

Structure fabrication and magnet assembly highlights

A milestone in 2017 was the assembly of MQXFAP1, the first long quadrupole, which provided excellent feedback for improvements to procedures, tooling, and process of subsequent magnets. In 2018, we will be disassembling MQXFAP1, which was tested to 97% of “ultimate” performance before developing a short to ground, to identify the cause of this electrical issue. The final assembly of MQXFAP2, which we had begun after the completion of a Shims and Loading Readiness Review in February, will continue after the diagnosis of MQXFAP1 in early summer. Meanwhile, a warm magnetic measurement system has been successfully commissioned and applied to the coil pack of MQXFAP2.

Yoke-shell sub-assembly Yoke-shell sub-assembly (left) and coil assembly (right) of MQXFAP2 in Building 77A at LBNL.

A major part of this task is procuring the elements of the structures. We have been working on an Advanced Acquisition Plan (AAP), which is being reviewed by the HL-LHC AUP project. Some of the larger-cost structures elements, such as the shells, yokes, pads, and master keys, will be procured under Master Agreements to accommodate the project budget profile. We have already initiated the procurement process for components of the next two magnets, MQXFA03 and MQXFA04. The associated acquisition plan was reviewed by LBNL’s Contract Review Board, a “source sought” Request for Information (RFI) resulted in excellent interested from the community, and the Request for Proposals (RFPs) were sent out in April 2018.

Outlook in the Near Future

The HL-LHC AUP will be busy in the coming half year, with a Magnet Design Criteria Review at the end of April, a Fermilab Director’s Review in July, and the CD-2/3b review at the end of September. LBNL will be playing a key role in all these events while technical progress continues.


Laser-Plasma Accelerator Starts Operation for Photon Source Development

The first electron beams were produced this month from a new facility designed to apply BELLA Center’s laser-plasma accelerator techniques to enable a compact, nearly monoenergetic source of MeV photons. The long term goal is to develop technology that can safely and quickly detect nuclear material hidden within large objects, such as shipping containers.

The April 11th results came just a month after the facility and safety systems were completed and operation was authorized. The new Hundred Terawatt Thomson (HTT) laser performed to specification and immediately demonstrated a high-quality focus on target, which enabled the rapid start of acceleration experiments. Electron acceleration was observed during the first high-power target runs.

Electron production sets the stage for the main experiments using the new system. A second laser pulse will be scattered from the electron beam (i.e., Thomson or Compton scattering) to create a next-generation source of nearly monoenergetic MeV photons, often referred to as X-rays or gamma rays.

HTT experimental staff in the control room for the first electron experiment. From left to right, Hai-En Tsai, Cameron Geddes, Tobias Ostermayr, Gabe Otero, and Theo Larrieu. One of first electron beams observed is visible on the monitor over Cameron’s shoulder. Photo courtesy Gregory Canales.

The project is funded by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D Office. The long term goal is to enable photon sources with performance now available only in building-sized research facilities, within a compact or transportable form factor for security applications on the go. (For more information, see “Compact, Precise Beam Could Aid in Nuclear Security,” ATAP News, August 2017.)

A key advantage of such a source is that both the photon energy spread and angular spread are narrow, which not only improves the signal but also reduces the radiation dose required to accomplish measurements — by more than an order of magnitude in many cases. The same properties may also benefit other fields that currently use X-ray machines, from lower-dose, higher-precision computed tomography (CT) scans in medicine, to detecting mechanical or structural weaknesses in mechanical components, to locating hidden explosives.

Accelerator Simulation Code May Improve Efficiency of Thermionic Energy Conversion

Editor’s Note: Follow the link to the full version of a story by Mary Catherine O’Connor, writer for startup incubator Cyclotron Road. The code Warp is part of the Berkeley Lab Accelerator Simulation Toolkit (BLAST), managed by ATAP’s Accelerator Modeling Program.

A recent study published in the journal Applied Physics Letters details an important finding that could advance a type of solid state power generator with broad application potential for clean energy. By using analytical software called Warp, researchers found that electron reflection may have previously been misidentified in the study of thermionic energy converters, and that a certain type of electron reflection could be leveraged to increase power generation in these devices. More…


Nuclear Science Day for Scouts, Saturday, May 5

“Be Prepared” for fun, learning: ATAP’s Dr. Qing Ji (standing) helps lead a lesson module at Nuclear Science Day for Scouts

ATAP's Dr. Qing Ji leads a module at Nuclear Science Day for Scouts

On Saturday, May 5th the Nuclear Science Division, ATAP, and the Workforce Development and Education Office are co-hosting the annual Nuclear Science Day for Scouts. The event brings as many as 180-200 Boy and Girl Scouts to the Lab as part of earning a nuclear science merit badge.

Volunteers are a key to the event, assisting with such tasks as registration in the morning, assistance with workshops, a career panel, and chaperoning groups from one activity to the next, where local experts will show them around and answer their questions. Come help build the people who will build the future!


New Organizational Structure to Improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Employee Research Groups (ERGs) organize employees at all levels who bring their perspectives on DEI to the Laboratory’s efforts. The overall goal is to fully integrate DEI into our day-to-day business practices. ATAP’s Dr. Cameron Geddes (back row, fourth from left) is among the ERG members.

With Lab Director Mike Witherell’s emphasis on diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), two new organizations have been formed to make this goal a reality.

The Senior Leadership Council (SLC), consisting of about a dozen division directors and ALDs to champion DEI efforts across the Lab. The Physical Sciences Area, the associate laboratory directorate that includes ATAP, is represented by the Director of the Engineering Division, Henrik von der Lippe.

A newly formed DEI Advisory Board (DAB), which advises the SLC on DEI-related issues that need their attention.

Each of the Laboratory’s Areas has two DAB members; the ones for the Physical Sciences Area are ATAP’s Dr. Asmita Patel and Dr. Alex Kim from the Physics Division. In addition, certain existing bodies — the four Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) convened thus far, and the Women Scientists and Engineers Council (WSEC) — each have a seat on the DAB.

This new structure succeeds the Diversity & Inclusion Council, which had one to two members per Division. Some Areas have started their own DEI councils or groups, often involving former D&I Council members.

Drs. Asmita Patel, ATAP Division Deputy, Operations, and Ina Reichel, ATAP Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator (front row, fifth and sixth from left), were among the participants in a historical scan of the Lab’s DEI story and the national and world context. The entire Physical Sciences Area that includes ATAP, Nuclear Science, Physics and Engineering Divisions was strongly represented, with Associate Laboratory Director Dr. James Symons (second row, fifth from left); Engineering Division Director Henrik von der Lippe and (second row, third from left); the Nuclear Science Division’s Tom Gallant (second row, sixth from left) and Dr. Ernst Sichtermann (back row, fourth from left); and Physics Division Director Dr. Natalie Roe (not in picture) participating. The scan was part of the launch process for the Lab’s new DEI structure..

A Plan to Turn Mechanisms Into Actions and Results Within a Year

To kick off the new emphasis, a DEI Action Planning Workshop was held on April 10 and 11. In addition to the DAB, many other Lab staff members working on DEI issues, including the old D&I Council, were invited. The goal of the workshop was to come up with several action items for improving DEI at the Lab that can be completed on a one-year time scale.

Their action plan, with details on how it was formulated, will be presented to Lab management for approval. Though each working group currently has a useful number of members, there will likely be opportunities for additional volunteers. Most groups plan to meet monthly for the length of the project to see their action items through.

To Learn More…

The Laboratory’s DEI website has more information on all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Berkeley Lab, including the Employee Resource Groups. For more about the Senior Leadership Council and the DEI Advisory Board, read the announcement of the SLC’s launch.

If you would like to volunteer for an ERG or other DEI body, please contact the ERG chair or your division’s diversity and outreach coordinator (in ATAP, that is Dr. Ina Reichel,


Workshop Distills Best Practices for Safe Students

Arun Persaud mentors student Grace Woods at one of our Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology Program’s facilities

As undergraduate summer interns join our ongoing cohort of graduate students and postdocs, let’s be ever conscious of both their immediate safety and the example we are showing.

In January, LBNL and UC-Berkeley held a joint workshop on Mentoring of Students for Safe Work Practices. The workshop brought together 20 scientific staff members and environment, health, and safety professionals from the Lab and UCB who are known as successful mentors. They shared best practices and approaches that have led to positive outcomes in both specific tactics and overall strategy to ensure student safety performance.

Three major themes emerged:
•  Engagement is key.
•  As a mentor and within peer groups, it is crucial to establish a culture of openness.
•  Safety must be integrated into all aspects of the work and research.

This investment in safety will have long-term as well as immediate benefits. Immersing students in our overall safety culture — think-plan-do behavior, working within our training and approvals, and an observant concern for each other’s best interests — will get them off to the right start on the road to becoming independent researchers and, someday, mentors to their own students.

To learn more…

•  Read an in-depth version of this article, including a number of specific best practices.
•  Refer students and new employees to this ATAP EH&S page that is oriented toward new hires.

Reminder: Physical Sciences Safety Day is Tuesday, August 21

This all-hands, all-hazards, all-day event has a mission of “Clean Labs, Clean Shops, Clean Offices,” reflecting a primary emphasis on good housekeeping and identification of hazards in common areas, offices, labs, and shops. This year the Physics and Nuclear Engineering Divisions join ATAP and Engineering in this tradition. As the day draws closer, further details and helpful information will be added to the ATAP website. Meanwhile, please mark your calendars and plan on hands-on participation in this communal investment in safe and efficient work environments.

Editor’s note: The information below is the original content of the April 2018 issue of Safety: The Bottom Line. The specific class mentioned has of course come and gone, but we encourage you to explore the links to various cycling resources and learn more about how to ride effectively, enjoyably, and safely. And the speed limit is still 15 mph (except where posted as being less than that) across the Lab site.

Helmeted bicyclist illustrates set-up and hand signal for a safe left turn on a city street
Photo courtesy Bike East Bay

Free Urban Bicycling Class
Building 66
Noon-1, April 24, 2018

As days grow longer and weather grows warmer, more people ride bicycles for recreation or the commute. Join us at a free “Urban Cycling 101” class from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Building 66 Auditorium. This classroom session, taught by certified instructors from Bike East Bay, is presented by the Molecular Foundry.

Bike East Bay also presents two-hour practical skills classes at a variety of dates and locations, including UC-Berkeley, that are a great follow-on to this hourlong classroom introduction.

Skills + Maintenance + Protective Gear + Alertness = Safety

There were three bicycle accidents at the Lab in March. Lessons learned summary (click here for more):
•  Watch your speed when descending our steep hills. (In an important new development, for cars and bikes alike the new speed limit is 15 mph — or lower where posted — across the Lab site.)
•  Check your bicycle’s brakes and general mechanical condition before riding.
•  Always wear a helmet (unconditionally required when riding on LBNL premises).

To Learn More…

Resources to help make bicycling safe and enjoyable include
•  Tuesday, April 24, Noon – 1 PM, 66 Auditorium: Urban Bicycling Workshop (described above).
•  Thursday, April 26, 11 AM – 2 PM, Cafeteria Parking Lot: Safety, Security & Sustainability Fair; includes electric-bike demonstrations.
•  Monday, April 30, Noon – 1:30 PM, outside Bldgs. 30/33: eBike Meet-up. See electric bikes, ask questions, share information.
•  Useful information and links are available at