The ALS is an excellent incubator of new scientific techniques and instrumentation. Many of the technical advances that make the ALS a world-class soft x-ray facility are developed at the ALS itself. The optical components in use at the ALS—mirrors and lenses optimized for x-ray wavelengths—require incredibly high-precision surfaces and patterns (often formed through extreme ultraviolet lithography at the ALS) and must undergo rigorous calibration and testing provided by beamlines and equipment from the ALS’s Optical Metrology Lab and Berkeley Lab’s Center for X-Ray Optics.
New and/or continuously improved experimental techniques are also a crucial element of a thriving scientific facility. At the ALS, examples of such “technique” highlights include developments in lensless imaging, soft x-ray tomography, high-throughput protein analysis, and high-power coherent terahertz radiation.