The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Groupings of blue, red and green/gray dots joined by red lines in a crystalline structure, with a graph showing absorption data.

Research with Impact:

Scientists using the Advanced Photon Source have demonstrated a new synthesis method that allows them to create materials they couldn’t synthesize before, and discovered that some of those materials have desirable electronic and optical properties.

Graph showing varying shades of red lines that indicate crystalline materials present in a sample.

Research with Impact:

Thermoelectric materials, which convert heat into energy, are challenging to design because of the unusual set of interrelated properties required for high efficiency. Researchers have synthesized two new types of zinc-antimony compounds within a narrow temperature range. The findings emphasize the potential of these two new compounds in thermoelectrics.

A honeycomb-like diagram showing colored dots that represent trace bits of copper.

Research with Impact:

Transformation of carbon dioxide into useful industrial chemicals is now more affordable and tunable. The trick is to break the carbon-oxygen bonds in a chemical process called reduction reaction, which leaves the carbon with one or more unpaired electrons that are then available to react with other atoms. A team of researchers using the Advanced Photon Source investigated just how the amount of trace copper correlates to the balance of products produced in both CO and CO2 reduction reaction.

Diagram showing the seA gray graph shows the gasoline flow as imaged by the APS X-ray beam.

Research with Impact:

Maximizing the energy we extract from each gallon of oil is a powerful way to conserve energy and lower our society’s carbon footprint. Scientists have used the Advanced Photon Source to directly characterize the ultrafast cavitation dynamics of high vapor pressure fuels, to help make those fuels more energy-efficient. 

Drawn diagram shows proteins delivering ligands to the nucleus of an atom.

Research with Impact:

Using the Advanced Photon Source, a team of researchers has uncovered an interaction between two molecules that may repress fat-burning under high-fat diet. The research may open the door for small molecule drugs that can help fight obesity and other metabolic conditions without unwanted side effects.

Diagrams showing the experimental setup at the Advanced Photon Source and blue graphs showing X-ray coherent diffraction imaging data.

Research with Impact:

One of the most powerful and versatile imaging techniques developed in recent years for materials and biological science is X-ray coherent diffraction imaging. However, reconstructing three-dimensional surface or interfacial structures has proved daunting. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, working with collaborators from DESY in Germany, took inspiration from a classic physics experiment to develop a new technique for obtaining precise 3D structural information in only a single view.


Two graphs showing a folded protein structure (made of curled blue, green and red strips) on the left and an unfolded structure on the right.

Research with Impact:

Despite their benefits, not everyone has good access to vaccines. The requirements for refrigerated storage and distribution add significant costs to immunization programs and make the delivery of vaccinations to some communities challenging. Vaccination programs would benefit from a simple, cheap platform that keeps the proteins in vaccines stable without refrigeration. A group of scientists using the Advanced Photon Source tackled this problem. 

A drawing showing pulses from a laser pump and an X-ray probe converging on a cylinder which represents a sample of material. Two multicolored graphs of measurements are arrayed near the sample, showing the data generated by the X-ray experiments.

Research with Impact:

Scientists who work on the production of renewable energy want to understand the photochemical processes involved in the photocatalytic production of hydrogen or the conversion of carbon dioxide into various hydrocarbons. Researchers using the Advanced Photon Source have developed a technique to gather data at sufficiently short intervals to understand how the chemical process is evolving.

A series of graphs showing absorption rate, intensity and oxidation states of catalysts.

Research with Impact:

Producing alcohol from captured carbon emissions could help fight climate change and aid the burgeoning renewable carbon economy. Using the Advanced Photon Source, a group of scientists have shown that adding barium oxide to catalysts can significantly increase the production of alcohol over unwanted byproducts. 

A graph showing red arrows indicating photon energy and multicolored vertical lines showing changes in oxidation and nickel redox features.

Research with Impact:

Perovskite-type minerals are environmentally friendly and fairly efficient catalysts, but to improve the rate for widespread use, scientists need to understand which characteristics most influence the catalyst's efficiency. Researchers have demonstrated that the transformation of the catalyst surface under electrolysis conditions drives the increase in oxygen evolution reaction activity.



Advanced Photon Source Research with Positive Impacts on Our Health

Making Better Drugs by Controlling Membrane Mechanics:  Cellular membranes are the body's wall of defense against invaders, with the tricky task of blocking the bad guys while letting beneficial molecules come and go. Measurements obtained at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source paint a detailed picture of how a potential membrane-targeting treatment protects cells from pathogens, providing insights that could bolster the next generation of pharmaceutical defenses.


The Advanced Photon Source is undergoing a comprehensive upgrade to replace its original electron storage ring with a new, state-of-the-art accelerator. This will increase the brightness of APS X-ray beams by up to 500 times, and new beamlines will be constructed to take advantage of these improved capabilities. The facility will be closed for operations during this time.

Visit the APS Upgrade webpage for information about the project’s progress and future science at the facility. We look forward to completing the project and welcoming our users back to the APS next year.