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

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.



Graph showing various green, blue and pink spikes to denote X-ray diffraction peaks, arranged to show the way sesquioxides evolve as they cool.

Research with Impact:

Rare-earth (RE) sesquioxides have several properties that could be harnessed for a variety of different applications, from biomedical to electronic technology. Researchers used the Advanced Photon Source to investigate how the structures of two different RE sesquioxides changed as they cooled from a melted state. 

An illustration showing several red circles with one blue circle, signifying a phase transition as recorded by the X-TEC method.

Research with Impact:

A group of physicists and computer scientists has developed a machine learning strategy that can extract charge density wave (CDW) – an ordered modulation of electrons – and intra-unit-cell (IUC) parameters from high volumes of X-ray diffraction data at multiple temperatures. The team's approach, called X-TEC (X-ray diffraction temperature clustering), exploits the fundamental role that temperature plays in both long-range and short-range structural correlations. 

Image of a single particle of synthetic soil, shaped like a white trapezoid covered in red circles. The red circles represent liquid metal particles, the white represents starch and other minerals.

Research with Impact:

The characteristics of soil affect not just plants but the microbes that live in soil, like those that break down nitrogen. Changing the properties of soil will impact the soil's microbial population, and could allow us to intentionally influence microbe behavior. Researchers have synthesized a soil-inspired material and quantified its features. They demonstrate that the new material could be advantageous to humans in a wide range of applications. 

Node Distortions in Metal−Organic Frameworks Cause Them to Shrink When Heated

Research with Impact:

Researchers have developed a new mechanism to understand and tune the negative thermal expansion in metal-organic frameworks. These results provide scientists a new pathway for controlling negative thermal expansion in these frameworks and should ultimately lead to new thermal materials that are tailored to particular temperature environments.

Nanoparticles impact how high-frequency sound propagates through ice

Research with Impact:

Scientists have demonstrated that sparse concentrations of nanoparticles can impact the flow of heat energy through solid materials. While this early work was based around a simple ice model, it paves the way for research towards more advanced, complex and efficient thermal insulation materials.

Building organic electrochemical transistors in a new direction

Research with Impact:

Organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) can allow the blending of electronics and biology in applications including flexible biosensors and other forms of wearable electronics. But OECTs still face some hurdles before becoming as versatile as their more traditional silicon counterparts. A research group led by Northwestern University has developed a new type of complementary logic OECT that addresses these issues by using a unique vertical architecture.

Revealing heterogeneous protein folding dynamics

Research with Impact:

To better understand the structural folding dynamics of a certain protein on microsecond-time scales, researchers probed this unfolding pathway with time-resolved X-ray solution scattering, using the resources of the Advanced Photon Source. The results indicate the formation of an intermediate phase on the time scale of 1 microsecond, which undergoes complete unfolding within 5 microseconds.

In a collaborative project that used the resources of the Advanced Photon Source, researchers focused on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, makes functional viral proteins from two large polyproteins that are encoded by its viral RNA genome.

Research with Impact:

In a collaborative project that used the resources of the Advanced Photon Source, researchers focused on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, makes functional viral proteins from two large polyproteins that are encoded by its viral RNA genome. Gaining insights into the process through which viral proteases cleave polyproteins into functional protein pieces is crucial for understanding the SARS-CoV-2 infection cycle.

Advanced Photon Source Research with Positive Impacts on Our Health

Using Protein Structural Information to Understand the Mechanism of an Essential Enzyme for Fighting Tuberculosis:  Antibiotic resistance is a global problem that many scientists are racing to solve. Researchers using the APS gained important insights into understanding the structure and mechanism of a critical enzyme involved in protein synthesis in tuberculosis, work that will form the basis of structure-based drug design efforts aimed at exploiting the unique features of this enzyme in developing new pharmaceuticals.


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.