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Upgrades Underway to Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source

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Argonne National Laboratories’ Advanced Photon Source (APS) has begun its long-scheduled comprehensive upgrade. The process will see the electron storage ring at the heart of the facility removed and replaced with a state-of-the-art storage ring that will grant the synchrotron a 500-fold boost in brightness.

The APS has been operating for 28 years, with the electron storage ring powering its x-ray beams built and installed in the 1990s. “Like any machine, the APS needs to be upgraded to keep pace with advances in technology,” said Jim Kerby, project director for the APS Upgrade (APS-U) in an email to Photonics Media.

Construction on the APS-U began April 17 and is expected to be completed within 12 months. The project represents an $815 million investment from the Department of Energy.
The Advanced Photon Source is undergoing a comprehensive upgrade that will result in X-ray beams that are up to 500 times brighter than the current facility can create. Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory/JJ Starr.
The Advanced Photon Source is undergoing a comprehensive upgrade that will result in x-ray beams that are up to 500 times brighter than the facility can currently create. Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory/JJ Starr.

“While user operations ended April 17, the APS Upgrade team has been working on the project for years. We have been constructing the new storage ring in an offsite facility for more than two years,” Kerby said.

The researchers completed construction of a new building to house two new experiment stations in June 2022. They’ve been building several of those new experiment stations for months. “That said, the project shifted to a new phase on April 17, and the concentrated work of removing the old storage ring, installing the new one, and building out the experiment stations is underway,” Kerby said.

The most time-consuming aspect of the upgrade is likely in the past. The previous three or more years have seen the Argonne team working with an extensive network of industrial partners who have built the components that will come together over the next year to complete the upgrade. Plans for the upgrade have been in the works for more than 10 years.

“Going forward, the next year is dominated by the removal of the current machine and replacement and testing of the new storage ring,” Kerby said. “Beyond that, after commissioning, researchers using the APS will spend years exploring all branches in science in ways we can’t imagine now — just like they have for the past nearly three decades with the original APS.”

The new storage ring is made up of 1321 powerful electromagnets, thousands of power supply units, and a thin, but lengthy vacuum system that connects everything. It will need 32 miles of power cable, eight miles of diagnostic cable, and 20 miles of optical fiber. It will be assembled in sections at an offsite location near the Argonne campus and then transported to the existing APS facility. Altogether, the storage ring will be about two-thirds of a mile around and will weigh about six million pounds.

“The desire for the upgrade basically comes from the incredible performance increase — the range of experiments the facility will be capable of — that will be delivered to the scientific community,” Kerby told Photonics Media. “The track record of what light sources have discovered, and the breadth of technologies created with the knowledge gained through those discoveries, drives the desire for the APS Upgrade. It will be an incredible facility for decades to come.”

Argonne has a series of first-experiments workshops planned for the summer of 2023, during which researchers will discuss their plans for first pursuits once the upgrade is completed.

“Scientists use the APS to pursue a myriad of experiments across many scientific disciplines, from materials science to chemistry to biology, and that will continue on the upgraded APS,” Kerby said.

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2023
light source
The generic term applied to all sources of visible radiation from burning matter to ionized vapors and lasers, regardless of the degree of excitation.
A device that uses superconducting magnets to bend or accelerate charged particles. It can be used to etch very fine high-density patterns on integrated circuits.
electron storage ring
An advanced magnetic device used in x-ray lithography to beam x-rays onto the surface of silicon wafers used for semiconductor circuits.
BusinessArgonne National LaboratoryUnited StatesNational Acceleratorlight sourceadvance photon sourcex-raylaserssynchrotronFacilityupgradeAPSAPS-Uelectron storage ringreplacementIndustry News

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