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  • New Light Source More than 70 Percent Complete
May 2012
UPTON, N.Y., May 3, 2012 — Construction of the $912 million National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory is more than 70 percent complete, the facility announced. When operational in 2015, the new light source will allow unprecedented research in energy, materials and medicine.

Brookhaven Lab celebrated two major construction milestones: the completion of the massive ring building and the commissioning of the light source’s linear accelerator. The project is currently on schedule and on budget.

“With the ring building complete, we are moving quickly to install the accelerator and start bringing in components for the experimental stations,” said Steve Dierker, NSLS-II project director and associate laboratory director for photon sciences.

Torcon Inc., the general contractor for the ring building, began work in April 2009 under a $170 million contract, the largest single contract in the NSLS-II construction project. About 90 percent of the funds went to subcontractors and suppliers on Long Island and in the region to give the economic benefits to New York state.

An aerial view of the NSLS-II construction site. (Image: BNL)

The NSLS-II is expected to create more than 1250 construction jobs, most from local labor unions, as well as 450 scientific, engineering and support jobs.

The ring building was built in five sections, the first completed in March 2011 and the last in February 2012, when Brookhaven Lab took official occupancy. The Lab has begun installing equipment and components for the facility’s accelerator and experimental stations.

When completed, the accelerator will consist of three sections: a linear accelerator, or linac, where electrons are generated and accelerated to 200 million electron volts; a booster, which takes electrons from the linac and speeds them up to 3 billion electron volts; and a storage ring, where the electrons circulate to create synchrotron light in the form of x-rays. These x-rays are directed to experimental stations around the ring, where they will probe the structure and function of solar cells, cellular proteins and others.

The linac was installed in February, and commissioning began in late March. Workers will bring the linac to its designed operational parameters in a safe way during this phase.

Once complete, NSLS-II will provide new tools that will allow scientists to see materials at the nanometer scale — a capability not available at any other light source in the world. Researchers will be able to focus on some of the most important scientific challenges, including molecular electronics, high-temperature superconductors, and the development of novel materials for clean, affordable energy production.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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