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

News Feed - APS/User News

Facing a global pandemic, the Department of Energy’s national laboratories are mobilizing on a national scale in ways similar to their origins in the Manhattan Project and launching the National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory.
After a national search, Stephen Streiffer has been named Argonne National Laboratory Deputy Director for Science and Technology, effective July 1, 2020. Streiffer is currently Director of the Advanced Photon Source and Argonne Associate Laboratory Director for the Photon Sciences Directorate, which encompasses the APS and the APS Upgrade Project.
The Exemplary Student Research Program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, now in its ninth year, welcomed 137 students and 23 teachers from 17 diverse Chicagoland high schools for the 2019–2020 school year. It is one of the few elite programs in the world to provide high school students with the opportunity to conduct research using advanced light sources and microscopy.
The Industrial Macromolecular Crystallography Association (IMCA), which operates the IMCA-CAT facility at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source , announced that Janssen Research & Development, LLC, has joined IMCA, an association of pharmaceutical companies that leverages the power of high-energy X- rays to accelerate structural biology research for drug discovery.
The Chemistry of Life Processes Institute at Northwestern University, the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, and several leading research universities will join forces to launch a first-ever national hub for interdisciplinary, metallomics research and innovation, the Resource for Quantitative Elemental Mapping for the Life Sciences (QE-Map).
When the crisis represented by COVID-19 became apparent, the world’s x-ray light sources, including the user facilities funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, were quick to begin hosting essential studies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, in the quest to develop medical therapeutics to combat the disease. The DOE's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, the groups who operate x-ray facilities there, and the researchers who use those facilities were among the first to divert experimental resources to these critical investigations.
An antibody recovered from a survivor of the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s has revealed a potential vulnerability of the new coronavirus at the root of COVID-19, according to a study carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source.
Work has been ongoing at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) during minimum safe operations. APS people are on site to support continued research into the virus that causes COVID-19, keep the APS running and operational, and continue to prepare for the APS Upgrade. "Even with so few people on site, we've taken every precaution to ensure that each of our employees is able to perform their jobs safely," said APS Director Stephen Streiffer.  
Critical information about the novel coronavirus, obtained by a team of University of Minnesota scientists conducting research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source, has laid the groundwork for designing drugs to block the virus from attaching itself to, and infecting, human cells.
Glenbard East High School students have persevered through these challenging times and have completed a poster summary of their yearlong research into the effects of growing lupines with Chinese mustard. The research team began their journey last September with background research and an application to use the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory to evaluate where and how much metal was deposited in test plants grown at Glenbard East.
Small-angle solution x-ray scattering and biochemical characterization studies at the Bio-CAT beamline 18-ID at the APS are being used to study the structure of portions of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This RNA contains the genetic instructions the virus uses to replicate itself.
The international network of X-ray Science Facilities is deeply engaged with overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. The Facilities’ role is to create and implement scientific and technological research activities and contribute solutions to the pandemic, including new drugs, therapeutic strategies, and medical equipment developments. The Facilities, with the intent to further coordinate and strengthen their support of scientific research and solutions to the pandemic, assembled for a remote access video SR20 Summit on 23-24 April 2020 and adopted this Action Plan.
Getting an x-ray at the dentist or the doctor is at best a little inconvenient and at worst a little risky, as radiation exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. But researchers at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source and at Los Alamos National Laboratory may have discovered a new way to generate precise x-ray images with a lower amount of exposure.
Yang Ren has been named the recipient of the 2020 “Gopal K. Shenoy Award for Excellence in Beamline Science” at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source for creating a world-leading high-energy x-ray diffraction beamline and user program for comprehensive atomic structure studies of condensed matter.
As you may have heard by now, the construction of multiple beamlines for the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade (APS-U) Project will require a staggered installation schedule, which must start significantly ahead of the dark period.  This is due to the limited capacity of vendors for critical components such as enclosures, and the need to distribute the effort from local staff and contactors.  That means some operating X-ray Science Division (XSD) beamlines will be going off line before the start of the dark period due to the need to move some programs to accommodate feature beamlines, while other XSD beamlines will be interrupted and re-started before APS shuts down for the installation of the new multiband achromat-based storage ring. The XSD, APS, and APS-U managements have developed a draft schedule for beamline closures and program interruptions.  While the current stance of Argonne due to COVID-19 will likely affect this schedule, we would like to start communicating with the user communities as early as possible, so that they can plan for any affected research programs.
To cooperate with the extension of the stay-at-home order issued March 31 by the Governor of Illinois, Argonne is extending the site restrictions enacted with the Governor’s original order to the end of April. The Lab has ceased all on-site functions except those deemed government critical and will continue to maximize telecommuting. The APS will reman operational to support critical COVID-19 related work and for critical remote research only. 
Crucial work on the APS Upgrade (APS-U) continues as an essential component of Argonne’s limited operations following Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. That work is limited to necessary personnel and activities for fulfilling project milestones in the near term, including receiving and processing production magnets and power supplies. The current on-site focus is only on acceptance tests of equipment that had just arrived, or was in transit at the time of the Laboratory switching to minimum safe conditions. These activities were authorized only after ensuring work could be done with required social distancing, and safely. The overwhelming majority of the APS-U staff, like Argonne as a whole, is telecommuting for now.
At this moment, nothing we can say to you, and to your family, friends, and colleagues, is more important than this: be safe, be well. We care about you all. Right now on the Argonne web site you can read an excellent article by Jared Sagoff, of Argonne’s Communications and Public Affairs Division, entitled “Argonne’s researchers and facilities playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19.” It captures the remarkable breadth of scientific power that Argonne is marshalling against the coronavirus. This includes the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in its role as part of the federal COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, and the National Preparedness Analytics Center, “which is currently helping state emergency management agencies conduct rapid analyses around supply chain resilience in the context of pandemic planning.” By extension, the article reinforces again the unique capabilities and strengths of the Department of Energy’s national laboratory system.
Thousands of processors stacked over six feet high are networked together into the fastest computer in the world. Powerful X-rays produced by accelerating electrons to near the speed of light. Computer software that can model the complex spread of diseases. These are just some of the tools that we here at the Department of Energy are using to tackle the COVID-19 disease outbreak, widely referred to as the coronavirus.