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

APS Upgrade Update: Transforming the science of the future

Upgrade Update Illustration

February 2023

There’s no question that 2023 will be the biggest year yet for the Advanced Photon Source (APS) Upgrade Project, Photon Sciences Directorate, and the laboratory.  We now have fewer than 60 days before user operations end and the APS shuts down for a year. (You may have noticed the countdown clock on the APS website.) And that’s when we get to work removing the electron storage ring at the heart of the facility and replacing it with the state-of-the-art multi-bend achromat our teams have been planning, designing and assembling for years.

When we’re done with the installation and the commissioning period next year, the APS will re-emerge as a world-leading hard X-ray facility. After several run periods where the beam current is incrementally ramped up to a full 200mA, safely, the X-ray beams will be up to 500 times brighter, and much more coherent, which will enable research we can only dream of now. There are certainly some areas we expect to see breakthroughs: better batteries, stronger roads and bridges, more efficient solar panels. But we know you – our users – will impress us with the innovations you use the upgraded APS to make.

You’re going to hear a lot this year about the future capabilities of the APS after the upgrade. You’re also going to hear a lot about how the upgraded APS will work together with Argonne’s new supercomputer, Aurora, which will come online this year at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). Aurora will be Argonne’s first exascale machine, capable of performing two billion billion calculations a second.

While both the upgraded APS and Aurora will be extraordinary machines on their own, the combination of their capabilities will transform science here at Argonne. In fact, that’s how we’re referring to the combination of these two powerhouses: the transformation of Argonne. We’ve recently launched a website with that title, and there you’ll find all kinds of information about how the upgraded APS and Aurora will work together.

In addition to this in-depth story that lays out the connections between the two machines, you can watch this playlist of videos in which Argonne and University of Chicago scientists talk about the scientific advancements they’re hoping to achieve. It’ll be a whole new era here at Argonne, and I hope you’ll be part of it.

As for the APS Upgrade itself, the plan remains to end user operations on April 17, after one last run that started up at the end of January. We held the most recent of our Q&A sessions for users in December, and will hold another in April, just after the end of user operations, as part of the APS/CNM Users Meeting.  Of course we will keep these monthly updates coming throughout the installation period, and we are always here to answer your questions. Email us at

As always, the best way to keep track of the project is to visit the APS Upgrade web page. One of the features of the page is the People of the APS Upgrade profile series, which tells the story of the project through the eyes of the people making it happen. Recent profiles have shone a spotlight on safety systems interlocks engineer Anne Boron and environment, safety and health lead Tiffany Freedman. Stay tuned for more.

That’s it for this month. Until next time, be safe and well.

Jim Kerby

Director, APS Upgrade Project

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