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

A series of wavy colored patterns denoting fluid flow patterns.

Research with Impact:

Enamel, the hard outer coating of teeth, plays a critical role in protecting the underlying tooth structure from mechanical damage and decay. Researchers have employed a fluid mechanics method to characterize the microstructure of tooth enamel, paving the way for potential advancements in the development of ceramic materials.


A series of images showing a graphic representation and a table of data from this research into graphite anodes.

Research with Impact:

Using a specially designed electrolyte, a team of researchers has showed that it’s possible to achieve long-cycling graphite anode lithium-ion batteries with an ether-based solvent. Their findings could lead to batteries with high energy retention able to operate under extreme conditions.

Illustration of red dots surrounding larger multicolored dots next to a blue shape with various polygons along its surface, all underwater with oxygen bubbles rising from the blue shape.

Research with Impact:

Splitting water using renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen is seen by many as essential for achieving net-zero carbon emissions. A group of scientists has recently demonstrated a new type of low-cost catalyst that could slash the cost and boost the efficiency of green hydrogen production through water splitting.


Graphic showing a drawn representation of the X-ray setup for this experiment and various plots of data.

Research with Impact:

Additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing, has become an essential tool of manufacturing. The most prominent method for the creation of large-scale metallic parts is directed energy deposition (DED), in which lasers or other energy sources are used to melt a powder stream or wire feedstock to deposit the material layer by layer on the build platform. A team of scientists used hard X-ray techniques and multi-physics modeling to penetrate the process of a little-studied wire-laser DED technique.

A diagram showing two red shapes connected by gray ladders representing cytoplasm and gray shapes on the top and bottom representing different bacteria as they connect to the membrane-embedded apparatus

Research with Impact:

Many disease-causing bacteria secrete toxins that directly target human cells while others target the helpful symbiotic bacteria that protect the human body. A recent study determined the three-dimensional structure of a particular toxin, offering insights into combating the deleterious effects of thousands of similar toxins found in many disease-causing bacteria.

A series of diagrams of shapes representing the HIV glycoprotein, showing the steps between the closed and open states.

Research with Impact:

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has a remarkable ability to evade our immune system. Efforts to understand the structural basis for this immune evasion have been challenged by the envelope glycoprotein’s (ENV) poor solubility and instability that have made it difficult to purify and crystallize. Research from a team at Duke University and the University of Chicago has provided new findings on the microsecond dynamics of the ENV structure that could jumpstart the next round of vaccine development.

An image of a plant, X-ray structures of proteins and charts of molecules showcase the new protein discovered by researchers.

Research with Impact:

Scientists have identified a plant protein with an unexpected mechanism for producing a class of molecules that have therapeutic potential in various diseases, including cancer. Once better understood with further research, it might be possible to harness the chemical processes of the protein to bioengineer new medicines.

Two sets of colored graphics, one showing a singe peptide and the second showing two interleaved peptides.

Research with Impact:

Rippled β-sheet structures may be useful tools for the creation of improved biomaterials, such as more stable hydrogels for drug delivery, and may have therapeutic uses in understanding or perhaps treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes. Recent research has extended our understanding of rippled β sheet structures at the atomic level.

Three schematics that show with increasing detail triangles forming star shapes and 3D patterns followed by a blue graph with a red spot denoting electron energy.

Research with Impact:

Quantum materials are increasingly being explored for their exotic properties. One phenomenon called an electronic flat band can occur in quantum materials with just the right geometric structure. These bands enhance electron-electron interactions that produce unusual and technologically important behavior. 

Illustrations of structures of proteins captured by X-rays.

Research with Impact:

Scientists have long wondered how the initial chemical reactions of life began and why some reactions, like that for DNA polymerization, persisted while others did not. Recent work conducted at the APS found some answers to these questions that improve our understanding of the origins of life.

Advanced Photon Source Research with Positive Impacts on Our Health

Solving the Structure of BRCA2 Protein Complex Important in DNA Repair:  The initials BRCA2 may be best known for a gene associated with many cases of breast cancer, and the protein encoded by the BRCA2 gene is critical to repairing breaks in DNA. Researchers used the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source to determine the structure of a complex of two proteins that allows repairs to happen efficiently in cells undergoing cell-splitting, called meiosis. Their results have major implications for cancer and infertility.


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 this year.

Conferences, Workshops, Meetings

Jul 31 2024

10:00 a.m.Hybrid: 402/AUD and Virtual

Aug 19 2024 to Aug 23 2024

Aug 25 2024 to Aug 30 2024

Aug 26 2024 to Aug 30 2024

Seminars, Training, Schools, Etc