Over the past year, a process involving ALS and ALS-U staff, the ALS user community, and external advisory committees has been ongoing to select the insertion-device beamlines that will be built and upgraded within the scope of the ALS-U Project. These beamlines will join existing ALS beamlines to form the full complement of capabilities that will be available at the upgraded ALS in several years. I am delighted to inform you that the selection process is now complete and to announce the result.
The ALS-U Project will build two new beamlines:
- a soft x-ray beamline in Sector 10, dubbed “FLEXON,” whose high-brightness coherent flux and multiple complementary techniques will probe the roles of multiscale heterogeneity in quantum materials; and
- a tender x-ray beamline in Sector 8, whose coherent scattering and scanning spectromicroscopy capabilities will address challenges at the frontiers of diverse scientific areas, ranging from soft condensed matter and biomaterials to energy science and Earth and environmental sciences.
The project will also upgrade two existing soft x-ray beamlines in Sector 7:
- COSMIC (7.0.1), which will leverage the full brightness and coherence of the upgraded ALS to perform zone-plate-based microscopy, ptychography, and 3D tomography with an up to hundred-fold increase in measurement speed and an improvement in spatial resolution down to 1 nm; and
- MAESTRO (7.0.2), which will take full advantage of the improved coherence of the upgraded ALS to improve the angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) collection efficiency by more than an order of magnitude, enabling much better spatial resolution, faster measurements, and more comprehensive data sets for materials discovery.
These beamlines, described in more detail in this document, were selected from among a number of strong proposals put forward by teams of ALS scientists, leveraging critical input from the user community. Several advisory committees provided feedback that informed the outcome, most notably an ad hoc committee of external experts who thoughtfully evaluated the proposals for scientific importance, relevance of ALS-U characteristics and potential world leadership, technical feasibility and fit to project resources, and strength of the relevant user community and expected productivity.
The selection of these beamlines is a key milestone for the ALS-U Project. The instruments will enable the project to meet the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences mission need by providing the advanced capabilities necessary to observe and understand materials and material phenomena in real time as they emerge and evolve. Throughout the ALS-U Project and beyond, the ALS will continue to innovate with new and upgraded experimental systems, many of which will benefit from ALS-U characteristics. The input and advice from the ALS-U beamline selection process will inform ALS strategic planning and future projects.
I want to thank Andreas Scholl, who chaired the ALS-U beamline selection working group, for running an excellent, inclusive process that has reached a great conclusion. And I want to thank ALS staff who helped drive this process, the many users who contributed in workshops, meetings, and casual conversations, and the ad hoc committee that provided excellent and timely advice throughout.
We look forward to presenting these beamlines in more detail to our user community in an upcoming online forum, which will also provide the opportunity to answer your questions. I invite you to join us on Monday, February 25, from 10–11 a.m. PT. Details on how to access the online forum and the agenda with speakers will be announced by email and posted on this webpage. I also welcome your questions and comments in advance of the event via the electronic form linked to below.