The Advanced Light Source (ALS) welcomes researchers from universities, government labs, and industry worldwide. An overview of user opportunities and procedures for becoming a user are outlined below.
What is an ALS User?
The ALS is a third-generation synchrotron light source that provides 40 beamlines for experimental work. Samples are illuminated with x-ray, ultraviolet, or infrared light to explore the chemical and electronic properties of materials. The ALS is a US Department of Energy national user facility and is open to researchers worldwide whose research proposals are accepted following peer review.
An ALS user is a researcher who has gone through the research proposal process and been granted “beam time” (access to use the facilities at a certain beamline). Most users travel to the synchrotron with their samples to carry out their experiments, but a growing number send their samples to ALS staff and then either operate a beamline remotely to collect their data or arrange for staff to collect the data for them.
How to Become an ALS User
Prospective users will need to create an account in ALSHub, the ALS user portal. Before creating an ALSHub account and submitting a proposal, we recommend that researchers identify the beamline and facilities most appropriate for their planned experiment. We provide a number of tools and contacts to guide prospective users:
- Review the ALS Beamline Directory to learn about the research capabilities of the ALS.
- Inquire about individual beamlines by contacting the primary contact listed within each beamline link in the Beamline Directory.
- Contact the ALS User Services Group Leader for information about beamlines available to users.
- Review the ALS User Guide to learn about the administrative requirements for users.
Costs to Users
The ALS does not charge for beam time if the user’s research is nonproprietary, i.e., the results are published in the open literature. All users are responsible for the day-to-day costs of research (supplies, phone calls, technical support, etc.).
Users performing proprietary research pay a fee based on ALS usage cost. The user may then take title to any inventions made during the proprietary research program and treat as proprietary all technical data generated during the program. Proprietary research is not intended for the open literature. For additional information about proprietary research, contact the ALS User Services Group Leader.
Users from Industry
The ALS welcomes industrial users from large and small companies whose projects advance scientific knowledge, investigate the development of new products and manufacturing methods, and/or provide economic benefits and jobs to the economy. Prospective industry users can find more information here.
The ALS User Policy provides an overview of types of access, practices, and procedures for current and prospective users so they can propose and perform experiments at the ALS with all the technical, experiment, and administrative support they require for successful and efficient use of beam time. The kinds of user access (i.e., General User, RAPIDD, Approved Programs, and Participating Research Teams) are described.