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

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.

A microscopy image of gray fibers inerweaved with one another next to a graph showing results of X-ray observations depicted in blue, pink, green and yellow lines.

Research with Impact:

Three-dimensional carbon superstructures are useful in a wide variety of applications, including batteries, catalysis and gas storage. Now scientists have come up with an easy and inexpensive way to make one- and two-dimensional versions of the same material.  


Four cloud-shaped illustrations showing the antigen bound to four different, smaller cloud-like shapes representing antibodies, colored in green, orange, pink and blue.

Research with Impact:

An international research team dedicated to eliminating malaria used the Advanced Photon Source to study monoclonal antibodies bound to antigen peptides. They discovered that one of the four binding modes leads to inhibitory antibody activity. 

A graph showing data points on a sloping line, an illustration of two diamonds with a sample of material between them, and an image taken at the APS beamline of a sample under pressure.

Research with Impact:

A team of investigators explored the phase diagram of iron oxide up to the pressures it would encounter at Earth’s core-mantle boundary for the first time. Their goal was to discover whether ultralow-velocity zones beneath the surface could be enriched with iron oxide, accounting for their effect on seismic waves. 

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

Jun 26 2024

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

Jul 31 2024

Aug 19 2024 to Aug 23 2024

Aug 25 2024 to Aug 30 2024

Aug 26 2024 to Aug 30 2024