Director’s Corner

ATAP strives to be a partner of choice for the most challenging accelerator-based facilities, and indeed, partnering and teamwork are common themes among the articles featured this month. The latest of many examples is the electron gun for LCLS-II at SLAC, a major project being built at SLAC with the help of several laboratories. The gun provided its first beam in May, a milestone event in the commissioning of the injection system. (Here at Berkeley Lab, APEX is serving as the basis for HiRES, a facility for ultrafast electron diffraction, and we are planning a follow-on research program called APEX-II.)

Another highly collaborative project is a multi-institutional revisitation of “cold fusion.” The privately funded effort is described in a recent Nature Perspective article, and a journal article is in the refereeing process. The privately funded, interdisciplinary research team came together in 2015 to revisit old experiments and hunt for anomalies in low-energy nuclear reactions that could point toward a new source of energy.

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While they did not discover a limitless source of energy, the team’s work has opened interesting research prospects in low-energy fusion — an example of the unexpected benefits of combining questing minds and rigorous science.

A theorist with ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center played a key role in an international collaboration that may have found a new way to produce gamma rays: by colliding intense, high-powered laser light with a high-energy electron beam.

Two projects involving ATAP were featured in the ARPA-e Energy Innovation Summit: a partnership with Cornell University to develop miniaturized and inexpensive accelerators using MEMS technology, and an application of our neutron-source technology to study carbon in soil. And an extremely collaborative project to which we contributed in our recent past, the Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment, has achieved a key result.

ATAP also builds and contributes to Berkeley Lab’s own key strengths, and one of the prime examples, the Advanced Light Source, has started a program of facility tours for LBNL employees. I encourage you to sign up for this expertly guided inside look at one of the most important and successful user facilities in the Office of Science portfolio, and to learn what ATAP is doing to prepare it for another generation at the state of the art with the ALS Upgrade.

All of these are team efforts in which some of the best minds from across the world come together at a place that they know will foster their success. In recent years, students of organization and management have shown what we intuitively knew to be true: that diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes the collective effort demonstrably stronger. IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability) is a Directorate-level priority here at Berkeley Lab, and I endorse it wholeheartedly. Read on to learn more about how we can all build better teams by emphasizing the “all.”


—System is among Berkeley Lab’s LCLS-II contributions

LCLS-II First Beam

Image of the first beam of photoelectrons for a next-generation LCLS-II X-ray laser housed at SLAC. Berkeley Lab designed and built the electron gun supplying the laser’s electrons. Photo courtesy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

This press release was adapted by Glenn Roberts, Jr., of Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications from a story by Manuel Gnida published by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

A new electron gun, designed and built at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to supply electrons for a next-gen X-ray laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, has fired its first electrons. The X-ray laser is part of the LCLS-II project, which is an upgrade of SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser.

Located at the front end of LCLS-II, the gun is part of the injector that ultimately drive the production of powerful X-ray beams at a pulse rate 8,000 times faster than the typical 120 pulses per second of the original LCLS X-ray free-electron laser.

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Photo - Berkeley Lab Mechanical Engineers Joe Wallig, left, and Brian Reynolds work on the final assembly of the LCLS-II injector gun in a specially designed clean room at Berkeley Lab in August. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Berkeley Lab Mechanical Engineers Joe Wallig, left, and Brian Reynolds work on the final assembly of the LCLS-II injector gun in a specially designed clean room at Berkeley Lab in August. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

The successful production of electrons on Wednesday was the culmination of 15 months of work, during which teams have installed and tested parts of the injector at SLAC, building on design and testing work at Berkeley Lab.

“This is a critical milestone for the LCLS-II project, and for the Berkeley Lab team that designed and built the gun and low-energy beam transport for the project,” said John Corlett, who serves as Berkeley Lab’s interim project management officer and has also served as the senior team lead for Berkeley Lab’s contributions to the LCLS-II project.

Building a Better Electron Gun

—Glenn Roberts, Jr.
APEX gun

The successful test of the LCLS-II electron gun marks the culmination of an R&D effort spanning more than a decade at Berkeley Lab.
   The gun’s design was conceived in 2006 by John W. Staples, a retired Berkeley Lab physicist, and Fernando Sannibale, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division. Soon after, work began on a prototype electron gun known as Advanced Photoinjector EXperiment that would later become the prototype for the LCLS-II electron gun.
   The development of the APEX prototype gun was led by Sannibale, who now serves as deputy for accelerator operations for Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS). The ALS generates light from accelerated electrons.
   Staples, who remains an affiliate scientist at Berkeley Lab and is now assisting with conceptual work on a next-generation electron gun proposed by Sannibale and known as APEX-2, credited former engineering efforts by Berkeley Lab’s Russell “Russ” Wells, now retired, and Steve Virostek on the APEX and the LCLS-II electron guns and related instrumentation.
   Sannibale said, “Ten years after we began work on this concept at Berkeley Lab, it is very satisfying for us all to see the rapid progress that is being made in commissioning this important LCLS-II component.”
   Virostek, a senior engineer at Berkeley Lab who led the LCLS-II gun’s construction, credited the efforts of a multidisciplinary team that included engineers, physicists, technicians, mechanical designers, and fabrication shop personnel, among others, in bringing the gun from the drawing board to its testing phase.
Read More …

SLAC accelerator physicist Feng Zhou, who is in charge of LCLS-II injector commissioning, said the latest milestone in producing electrons “shows the complex injector system is working and that allows us to begin the crucial task of optimizing its performance.” He added, “The injector is a very critical system because the quality of the electron beam it creates has a huge effect on the quality of X-rays that will ultimately come out of LCLS-II.”

The injector was delivered from Berkeley Lab to SLAC on Jan. 22, 2018 (see related article). During assembly, the injector underwent a rigorous cleaning process at Berkeley Lab to minimize the possible contaminants — tiny traces of dust and other particulates could affect the electron gun’s performance. Since delivering the hardware systems to SLAC, the Berkeley Lab team has had continuing involvement in preparing for the startup of the injector.

Making X-rays with electrons

X-ray lasers use pulsed beams of electrons to generate their X-ray light. These beams gain tremendous energy in massive linear particle accelerators and then give some of that energy off in the form of extremely bright X-ray flashes when they fly through special magnets known as undulators.

The injector’s role is to produce an electron beam with high intensity, a small cross-section and minimal divergence, the right pulse rate, and other properties required to achieve the best possible X-ray laser performance.

The electrons fired by the injector come from the electron gun. It consists of a hollow metal cavity where flashes of laser light hit a photocathode that responds by releasing electrons. The cavity is filled with a radiofrequency (RF) field that boosts the energy of the freed electrons and accelerates them in bunches toward the gun’s exit.

Magnets and another RF cavity inside the injector squeeze the electrons into smaller, shorter bunches, and an accelerator section, to be installed over the next few months, will increase the energy of the bunches to allow them to enter the main stretch of the X-ray laser’s linear accelerator. Spanning almost a kilometer in length, this superconducting accelerator will increase the speed of the electron bunches to almost the speed of light.

Berkeley Lab researchers are also responsible for overseeing the production and delivery of the undulators, developing the low-level RF controls, and performing troubleshooting for hardware and related systems for the LCLS-II project. The team is also looking forward to participating in the physics studies and optimization of the electron beam for the upgrade project, Corlett said.

The production of “soft X-ray” or lower-energy X-ray laser undulators for the LCLS-II project is now complete, and production of “hard X-ray” or higher-energy X-ray laser undulators is expected to be completed later this year, he added.

Photo - A copper cone structure inside the injector gun's central cavity. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

A copper cone structure inside the injector gun’s central cavity. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

The million-pulse challenge

The most delicate injector component is the electron gun, and for LCLS-II the technical demands are bigger than ever, said John Schmerge, deputy director of SLAC’s Accelerator Directorate.

“The first generation of LCLS produced 120 X-ray flashes per second, which means the injector laser and RF power only had to operate at that rate,” he said. “LCLS-II, on the other hand, will also have the capability of firing up to a million times per second, so the RF power needs to be switched on all the time and the laser has to work at the much higher rate.”

This creates major challenges.

First, the continuous RF field produces a lot of heat inside the cavity. Operating at 80 kilowatts – the equivalent of about 80 microwave ovens continuously operating at 1,000 watts – this heat, if unchecked, could damage the electron gun and degrade its performance. To handle the large amount of power, the LCLS-II gun is equipped with a water cooling system.

“The LCLS-II project got a flying start, profiting from Berkeley Lab’s experience designing and running this unique electron source,” said SLAC’s John Galayda, who until recently led the LCLS-II project. “It continues to be a great collaboration that is crucial in building the next-generation X-ray laser.”

Another challenge is the laser system, said Sasha Gilevich, SLAC engineer in charge of the LCLS-II injector laser. “To produce electrons efficiently, we want to shine ultraviolet light onto the photocathode, but there is no commercial laser system capable of providing UV pulses with the unique properties required by LCLS-II at the rate of a million pulses per second,” she said. “Instead, we send the light of an infrared laser through an optical system containing non-linear crystals that convert it into ultraviolet light. But because of the heat generated in the crystals, doing this conversion at such a high pulse rate is very demanding, and we’re still in the process of optimizing our system for the best performance.”

Crane lowering LCLS-II electron gun.

A crane lowers the LCLS-II electron gun into the X-ray laser’s accelerator tunnel at SLAC. (Dawn Harmer/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

New electron source, new challenges

LCLS-II’s unique capabilities will also rely on a high-efficiency photocathode to produce the initial electron burst. It consists of a flat disc — merely tens of nanometers thick and a centimeter in diameter — of a semiconductor mounted on a metal support. This allows the electrons to be produced about 1,000 times more efficiently than with the copper cathode used previously.

But the advance comes with a trade-off, said SLAC accelerator physicist Theodore Vecchione: “While the copper cathode lasted for years, the new one is not nearly as robust and may last only a few weeks.” That’s why Vecchione has been tasked with setting up a facility at the lab to fabricate a stockpile of cathodes, which cannot be simply purchased off the shelf, and to make sure the LCLS-II cathode can be replaced whenever needed.

Now that the injector has generated its first electrons, the commissioning team will spend the next few months optimizing the properties of the electron beam and automating the injector controls.

However, it won’t be until next year, when LCLS-II’s superconducting linear accelerator has been installed, that they will be able to test the full injector, including the short accelerator section that will boost the electron energy to 100 million electronvolts, and get it ready to do its job of generating some of the most powerful X-rays the world has ever seen.

LCLS is a DOE Office of Science user facility.

To explore further:


— Researchers didn’t find a new source of fusion energy, but they do see value in pursuing unexplored paths in fusion research

After an article by Glenn Roberts, Jr., Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications

A multidisciplinary research team came together in 2015 to revisit old experiments and hunt for anomalies in low-energy nuclear reactions that could point toward a new source of energy. While they did not discover a limitless source of energy, their work — detailed in a May 27 Perspective article in the journal Nature — does open a new channel for fusion research.

Berkeley Lab was invited to join this study group in 2016 based on its researchers’ decades of expertise in fusion R&D, particle accelerators, and nuclear diagnostics.

The pulsed plasma setup being used to study light ion fusion processes at relatively low energies. Photo by Marilyn Chung, Berkeley Lab.

A high-profile controversy surrounding a low-temperature, high-energy-gain benchtop “cold fusion” experiment in 1989 had excited the world. But the validity of the claims was quickly dismissed because other teams were unable to verify or replicate the reported results.

Other reports of energy yields from low-temperature nuclear processes have cropped up sporadically, but none have been reliably repeated or withstood scientific review.

This new effort, spearheaded and funded by Google Research, assembled a group of about 30 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and staff scientists from Berkeley Lab, MIT, the University of Maryland and the University of British Columbia. The object was to identify the boundaries for observing any unexpected thermal or nuclear effects related to low-energy nuclear processes.

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Participants agreed to keep a low profile during the course of their investigations, and to subject their work to rigorous internal peer review.

“We have been developing accelerators to make nifty neutron generators for over 10 years,” said Thomas Schenkel, interim director of the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Schenkel serves as the Berkeley Lab lead in this collaboration.

Neutrons are uncharged particles found in atomic nuclei, and these compact generators are essentially tabletop fusion machines — they use small particle accelerators to drive particle beams that are directed at targets to produce neutrons, via a simple fusion process, for a variety of applications.

Creating and studying fusion processes in a laboratory setting without the need for superhot temperatures is not such an exotic feat, noted Schenkel, adding, “It’s relatively easy to make some fusion reactions.” But in order to achieve a net energy gain, the fusion fuel has to be kept hot enough and dense enough for long enough. Achieving these conditions has proven difficult, and there is steady progress towards this goal internationally with a series of approaches (such as fusion test reactors called tokamaks).

The New York Times, in a December 30, 1956, article titled “Cold Fusion of Hydrogen Atoms,” detailed a historic experiment led by renowned Berkeley Lab experimental physicist Luis W. Alvarez, in which scientists discovered a low-temperature fusion process (sidebar).

Berkeley Lab’s First ‘Cold Fusion’ Experiment

A 1956 New York Times article highlighted how electron-like particles with a large mass, called mu mesons (now known as muons), could facilitate the fusing together of a hydrogen nucleus with a heavier hydrogen nucleus (deuterium) to make a helium nucleus, and in this process releasing energy.
   “This fusion can take place at any temperature,” the article stated. The research results, later published in the journal Physical Review, explain how a muon can pull together and confine nuclei as if they were “in a small box.”
   Berkeley Lab physicist Luis W. Alvarez later said that his research team had at first believed that they had discovered a viable source of fusion energy in the muon-aided fusion process.

Luis Alvarez

Luis Alvarez, 1956 discoverer of a muon-catalyzed cold fusion reaction

“We had a short but exhilarating experience when we thought we had solved all of the fuel problems of mankind for the rest of time,” Alvarez said in his 1968 Nobel Prize acceptance lecture. He received the prize for numerous particle discoveries benefiting from a bubble-chamber particle detector that he helped to develop and had used in the muon-facilitated fusion experiments.
   “While everyone else had been trying to solve this problem by heating hydrogen plasmas to millions of degrees, we had apparently stumbled on the solution, involving very low temperatures instead,” Alvarez had recalled.
   His team’s excitement was soon dampened when researchers learned that the muons could only participate in a limited number of these fusion reactions before decaying away, and the energy it took to produce the muons used in the experiments was too high to make this process useful as an energy source.

While that effort did not yield any revolutionary breakthroughs in fusion energy either, Schenkel noted that this experiment and others that have followed highlight how there is a lot of unexplored territory in low-energy fusion R&D.

Before the latest fusion collaboration materialized, Schenkel had pursued a scientific proposal to explore low-energy fusion reactions that occur in space.

“I am genuinely fascinated by low-energy fusion reactions in stars,” he said. “There are a lot of known unknowns.” Fusion processes occur in the sun at temperatures of 10 to 20 million degrees Celsius, though there is not a lot of data in that temperature and energy range from laboratory experiments.

For the fusion collaboration, Berkeley Lab’s efforts, were focused on replicating unexpected results reported from previous research. In that experiment, researchers claimed to have seen an unexpected spike that could not be explained by conventional physics in a form of hydrogen known as tritium.

Schenkel and his team developed a vacuum chamber for creating a plasma — a hot, gaslike form of matter made up of charged particles — in a specific low-energy range.

In these experiments, a wire target composed of palladium and surrounded by a stainless steel cage was placed inside a vacuum chamber filled with deuterium gas (deuterium is a form of hydrogen). An intense electrical pulse is used to strike a plasma and to accelerate charged deuterium nuclei (called ions) into the target, making a metal-hydrogen mixture. This work targeted a relatively low-energy regime, from about 1,000 to 10,000 electronvolts; 1 electronvolt (1 eV) is a unit of energy relating to a single electron accelerated by 1 volt. A particle energy of 1,000 eV corresponds to a temperature of about 10 million degrees Celsius.

So far, Berkeley Lab researchers have confirmed that the interactions of the low-energy plasma and wire target achieve fusion, based on the detection of neutrons, but they did not observe a tritium spike. Therefore the anomalous tritium results of the predecessor experiment have not yet been confirmed.

Even so, Schenkel said, the results obtained are not consistent with prevailing theory, as was the case with some previous measurements. These early results are detailed in a study that has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Schenkel noted that the prevailing theory, which works well for high-energy fusion reactions, does not account well at all for measurements of fusion reactions occurring at energies below about 4,000 eV.

Further development of detectors and techniques to access even lower-energy regimes could yield new data that could inform new theory and modeling efforts.

“There is interesting science here,” he said. “Scaling to lower energies can answer questions about rates and mechanisms that will inform our understanding of fusion at these energies in highly loaded metal hydrides.”

Schenkel added, “Are we going to develop up a new fusion-energy source? Probably not. Although that is, of course, the grand challenge and dream of fusion research. We can get data in this area with a ‘benchtop’ experiment at low cost. We often expect basic science to impact future technologies and most of the time we simply don’t know how it will play out.”

There is now ongoing research at Berkeley Lab, in collaboration with members of the team that Google brought together, that is focused on ways to increase the hydrogen content in the metal targets to see whether that impacts the results. “We would like to understand how the unusual condition of sponging up lots of hydrogen into the atomic lattice of the palladium and then bombarding it with hydrogen ions may lead to changes in fusion rates,” for example, Schenkel said.

“It has been a positive and exciting experience,” he added. “We shouldn’t shy away from looking into areas that may have been written off, not frivolously, but with new ideas and a recognition that there are things we don’t know and that we should be curious about, like: Why are observed fusion rates at low energy in metal-hydrogen more than 100 times higher than expected from established theory? There is significant discovery potential in this area.”

The Berkeley Lab members of the team working on the fusion experiments included (left to right) Thomas Schenkel, Qing Ji, Tak Katayanagi, Will Waldron, Peter Seidl and Arun Persaud. Jean-Luc Vay (not shown) contributed with plasma modeling and simulations. Photo by Marilyn Chung, Berkeley Lab.

To Learn More…
Read the University of British Columbia press release on the research.

In addition to the Perspective article referred to earlier, the May 27 issue of Nature has an editorial entitled, “A Google programme failed to detect cold fusion — but is still a success.”

National Geographic published a brief article on the program May 29.

Work at Berkeley Lab was funded by Google LLC under CRADAs (Cooperative Research and Development Agreements) FP00004841, FP00007074, and FP00008139 between Google LLC and Berkeley Lab. Berkeley Lab operates under U.S. Department of Energy contract DE-AC02-05CH11231. The views and conclusions of authors expressed in the Nature Perspective do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. or Canadian governments, or any agencies thereof.


Study Points to Laser-Electron Collider As Potential Gamma-Ray Source

An international team of researchers, including Stepan Bulanov, a theorist with ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center, has calculated that collisions between powerful lasers and high-energy electron beams could provide an attractive new way to generate gamma rays. Their results were published July 17 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The study was prompted by the accessibility of today’s petawatt-class laser systems (including BELLA) and the near-future prospects for multi-PW facilities, at least five of which are being planned worldwide. Such facilities, the study found, can create laser fields strong enough to interact with high-energy electron beams and convert the electrons into multi-GeV photons (gamma rays). In order to favor the emission of high-energy photons and minimize their decay into electron-positron pairs, which is very probable in the fields of high intensity lasers, the fields must not only be sufficiently strong, but also well localized. The photons emitted could have energies of more than half the electron-beam energy, and more than 18% of the electrons would be converted into photons.

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Conceptual diagram of laser-electron collider as source of GeV photons

Conceptual visualization of the setup, where high-energy electrons (blue) are injected along the axis of an intense dipole wave. In this field, the electrons will emit large amounts of high-energy photons (yellow). The polarization of the field shown here is that of an electric dipole, with a poloidal electric field (red) and a toroidal magnetic field (green).

The electron beam could be provided by either a conventional accelerator or a laser-plasma accelerator such as BELLA. Among the findings of the study was that the optimum power for the scattering laser would be around 0.4 PW, with higher powers actually being detrimental to the goal of producing high-energy photons. This suggests that a future laser of the 10-PW class might be able to provide the scattering beam while also driving a laser-plasma accelerator to provide the electron beam.

Uses of these concentrated gamma-ray beams include nuclear and quark-gluon physics and astrophysics. Gamma ray beams are already available to researchers, but this new concept offers potential advantages. The combination of photon energy and intense concentration would be unique, and would exceed parameters available from Compton backscattering sources. The output would also be free of the neutrons and other heavy particles that come from bremsstrahlung sources. Polarization could be among the other beam attributes useful to researchers.

The study was conducted by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden; Japan’s Kansai Photon Science Institute; and the ELI-Beamlines Project in Europe’s Extreme Light Infrastructure, as well as Berkeley Lab.

To learn more…

New laser physics achieves energy at astronomical levels,” news release, Carolina Svensson, University of Gothenburg.

Laser-Particle Collider for Multi-GeV Photon Production,” J. Magnusson, A. Gonoskov, M. Marklund, T. Zh. Esirkepov, J.K. Koga, K. Kondo, M. Kando, S.V. Bulanov, G. Korn, and S.S. Bulanov, Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 254801 (17 June 2019).


ATAP Researchers Teach Two Courses at USPAS

The summer session at US Particle Accelerator School (USPAS) in Albuquerque featured multiple ATAP instructors. Research scientist Tianhuan Luo and postdoctoral scholar Dan Wang of the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation (BACI) Program were on the instructional team for the course Accelerator Physics. Will Waldron of the Engineering Division was among the instructors for Induction Accelerators. Both were two-week courses eligible for graduate credit through the academic sponsor of this session, the University of New Mexico.

LBNL's Dan Wang,  Tianhuan Luo teach at USPAS
Left: ATAP postdoc Dan Wang (in white top) and Brookhaven National Lab’s Yichao Jing (standing, in black sweater) assist students Wei Liu (blue-striped shirt) and He Zhao (black shirt), both of Brookhaven, in the computer lab. Right: ATAP staff member Tianhuan Luo (standing), Jing, and S.Y. Lee of Indiana University (in white jacket) discuss a problem. Team teaching is the norm at USPAS and builds lasting connections throughout the DOE research complex and the accelerator community.

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 60 people who were, had been, or would become employees of ATAP and its predecessor organizations have taught at USPAS, for a total of some 100 courses and lectures. Many of these courses are team-taught with colleagues from other institutions, building lasting connections throughout the accelerator community.

The Winter 2020 session in San Diego will have 10 ATAP and Engineering staff members (plus two Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers who had worked closely with us in the Heavy Ion Fusion Virtual National Laboratory) co-teaching four courses. ATAP’s BACI, Fusion Science & Ion Beam Technology, Accelerator Modeling, and Superconducting Magnet Programs will all be represented.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Central “IDEA” Of Our Laboratory

Leading the way for a team that includes us all: left to right, Lady Idos, Kelly Perce, and Janie Pinteris staff the DEI Office in the Laboratory Directorate.

Berkeley Lab, birthplace and exemplar of “team science,” is taking DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) one step further by adding accountability — that is, we’re all responsible for making DEI work. IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Acccountability) will help us build better-performing teams and enhance collaboration. With everyone’s actively engaged help in introducing and implementing the key concepts that support IDEA, we can make DEI integral to how we work.

Putting IDEA into effect helps us to:
• Advance innovation and new discoveries
• Harness the power of our collective contributions
• Unlock our teams’ fullest potential
• Produce operational excellence and high-performing teams

This is invisible text inserted to make the layout work.

“Essentially IDEA lives at the heart of true collaboration and teamwork, which is really important for us as the home of team science. We want IDEA to become second nature to us.”
—Lady Idos, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

It’s more than just the right thing to do: studies have established that work groups with diverse perspectives, on which everyone feels like part of the team and all are treated equitably, perform better.

To Learn More…
Visit the Lab’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website for a wide variety of resources, including a series of videos like this one.

Get an Insider’s Look at the Advanced Light Source

The Advanced Light Source, one of the Laboratory’s flagship facilities, is now offering guided tours for employees. For an investment of an hour or so, it’s a unique opportunity to learn about the wide variety of ALS user science and the machine that makes it possible. Bring your camera!

The tours are informative for everyone, and especially interesting for ATAP staff. The ALS was designed by the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, as ATAP was previously known, and the Engineering Division, and remained a part of AFRD during initial operation before becoming a Laboratory Division in its own right. Both ATAP and Engineering have remained deeply involved with the ALS, and are now helping to design the ALS Upgrade, which will keep the machine at the forefront of synchrotron-light facilities for decades to come.

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Currently these tours are offered at least once a month and are limited to 25 people per tour. Most tours are one hour long. (On a maintenance day or during the longer planned shutdowns, the tour might be 75 minutes long and include the linear accelerator and the main storage ring — places that can’t be visited while the ALS is operating).

Advance registration is required.

Know Before You Go

Attire: For safety reasons anyone on the ALS experimental floor must wear long pants (or equivalent) and closed-toed shoes. We recommend comfortable walking shoes.

Tour duration: Because visitors on the experimental floor (and in the accelerator areas when available) must be escorted, latecomers cannot be accommodated once the group has left the ALS lobby, and everyone must stay with the group for the duration.

The tour will go over the booster and through the yoke of the 184” cyclotron. This requires going up and down a flight of stairs and past a magnetic field that may exceed 5 gauss. Alternate itineraries can be devised if a group includes someone for whom these might be issues. The advance-registration form includes a space for mentioning this.

Tour dates that are currently available, and a link to the advance registration form, can be found at the ALS Tours website.

Preparing to Say Goodbye to Windows 7

Illustration symbolizing fadeout of Windows 7Microsoft has announced that support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. Beyond that date, they will no longer provide security patches.

After that, the next time a critical security flaw in Windows 7 is discovered, Berkeley Lab will have to block network access by Windows 7 machines, much as they did several years ago when support for Windows XP ended.

IT Division User Support recommends budgeting the time and money for a planned transition to Windows 10 that will be completed by February 20. If your Windows 7 computer is in good shape and still serves your needs, they can perform upgrades. If it’s time to retire an obsolescing computer, they can help in selecting and deploying a new one.

Visit their Windows 7 End of Life page for more information on the various options, or an application for temporary exceptions if you cannot switch to Windows 7 in this timeframe (say, if you have a mission need for software that does not have a Windows 7 version).


Highlights of other recent and relevant ATAP-related news, in case you missed it…

MEMS Accelerator, ROOTS Among Projects Showcased at ARPA-e Summit

L-r: Thomas Schenkel, Amit Lal (Cornell Univ.), and Qing Ji in front of their poster at the 2019 ARPA-e Summit

Left to right, Thomas Schenkel, Amit Lal of Cornell University, and Qing Ji presented a poster about MEMS accelerator technology at the 2019 ARPA-e Summit.

DOE’s ARPA-e Energy Innovation Summit, an annual convocation of projects supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, featured two LBNL efforts in which ATAP plays a key role.

The MEMS Accelerator project uses micro-electro-mechanical systems technology to build a miniaturized multi-beam accelerator with items and techniques familiar from the electronics industry, including silicon wafers and printed-circuit board. The effort, in which we partner with Cornell University, received follow-on support earlier this year.

Also featured was a Berkeley Lab project in ARPA-e’s ROOTS (Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration) program. It uses ATAP neutron-generator technology to peer into the “rhizosphere,” the hidden world of plant roots and soil, to measure the amount and distribution of carbon.

Before Integrative Genomics, A Legendary Accelerator:
A Look Back at the Bevalac

Bevatron with some shielding blocks removedBerkeley Lab’s new Integrative Genomics Building stands on the site of its flagship research facility of a previous era, the Bevatron. Designed in 1949, the proton synchrotron was then at the cutting edge of high-energy physics with its beam energy of 6.5 GeV (giga-electronvolts, abbreviated in those days as billion electronvolts or BeV, hence the name). The Bevatron first made its mark as the site of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the antiproton and went on to the discovery of “strange” particles, nuclear antimatter, and subatomic resonance states.

Though it was inevitably eclipsed at the energy frontier by newer strong-focusing synchrotrons elsewhere, a series of ingenious upgrades kept the machine scientifically vibrant for decades, including the use of the nearby SuperHILAC heavy-ion linac as an injector, forming the Bevalac. Pioneering work in heavy-ion nuclear science, as well as biomedical research and heavy-ion therapy, was performed there until 1993.

In the run-up to the June 19, 2019 IGB ribbon-cutting, Berkeley Lab Strategic Communications remembered this remarkable facility with a photo story about the Bevatron and interviewed professor emeritus Herbert Steiner, who had participated in the antiproton discovery as a grad student, as part of their “Three Questions For…” series.

MICE Marks Measurement Milestone: First Particle-By-Particle Emittance Measurement

Beam cooling will likely play a major role in any future muon collider/neutrino factory for high energy physics. The Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE), a highly collaborative effort headquartered at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, has made the first particle-by-particle transverse-emittance measurement on the MICE muon beam. The results were published in the March 2019 issue of European Physical Journal C.

Berkeley Lab spectrometer solenoid undergoing training, the iterative break-in process for a superconducting magnet, at private-sector partner Wang NMR in Livermore, CA.

This measurement is an important step toward a demonstration of ionization cooling of the muon beam, one of the possible enabling technologies for a muon collider or neutrino factory.

The MICE cooling channel relies on superconducting spectrometer solenoids designed, built, and delivered, in an effort that ran through fiscal year 2016, by ATAP’s Center for Beam Physics (now known as the Berkeley Accelerator Controls and Instrumentation or BACI Program) and the Engineering Division.

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heatstress_768x691ySummer’s here! How to beat the heat — and what to do if the heat starts beating you
Summer in Berkeley can mean pleasant or even cold and foggy days interrupted suddenly by a heat wave. These rapid changes of temperature make it difficult for our bodies to adjust, so the hot days can more easily cause heat stress. If your work area is not air conditioned, or you need to do physical work or walk up hills between buildings on hot days, be aware of these issues. Summer brings family vacations as well — often to parts of the country with heat we’re unaccustomed to — and strenuous outdoor recreation and do-it-yourself activities. Here’s how to prevent, recognize, and respond to heat stress.

Mild Heat Stress

Mild heat stress discomfort is a signal to take action to reduce the stress before it becomes worse. Drink plenty of water, take a break from vigorous activity, and use fans or move to a cooler area if possible. If you experience mild heat stress discomfort frequently in your work area, contact Julie Zhu (the EH&S Health and Safety Representative for ATAP and the LBNL Heat Stress Subject Matter Expert) at 510-486-6871 (Office) or 510-309-4886 (Mobile) to request a hazard evaluation and advice.

More-Severe Conditions: Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

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Without the correct response, heat stress can progress to the more severe heat exhaustion and even heatstroke, which are life-threatening, 911-grade emergencies. Learn these warning signs and watch for them in yourself and those around you when the temperature starts climbing.

Heat distress symptoms table

Other heat-related symptoms can include:

  • Heat cramp—a muscle cramp caused by loss of body salts and fluid during sweating.
  • Heat rash—a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. May appear on the neck, upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases.

What To Do

If you observe the possible onset of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, you may save a life by taking action immediately:

  • 911 for emergency medical assistance.
  • Take steps to cool the victim (apply damp, cool towels or ice packs).
  • Stay with the victim until help arrives.

To Learn More…

For further information, see EH&S Manual Chapter 40 at or ask your Supervisor about taking the LBNL First Aid course, EHS0116.

The July 2016 issue of the DOE’s Operating Experience Summary has detailed information on planning and conducting work in hot weather, including quantitative information about acclimatization, hydration, and the effects of clothing (more on clothing selection here).

The National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health have useful tips on protecting against heat-related illness, including the tips in the poster shown at left.

The California Department of Industrial Relations has extensive resources on heat-related illness as well.

Julie Zhu, extension 6871 or by e-mail, is is the LBNL EH&S contact for expertise on the subject.