Advanced Light Source Upgrade Project Achieves Major Milestone

The Advanced Light Source (ALS), a scientific user facility at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has received federal approval for the budget, schedule, and technical scope for a major upgrade project that will boost the brightness of its X-ray beams at least a hundredfold.

In addition to brighter X-ray beams, the ALS Upgrade (ALS-U) project will enable the ALS to deliver light with a more ordered “coherent” structure – like evenly spaced ripples in a pond – that will better reveal nanoscale (billionths of a meter) details in complex chemical reactions and in new materials.

“For nearly three decades, the ALS has developed innovative X-ray tools and used these to support a world-renowned portfolio of user science and collaboration,” said ALS Director Steve Kevan. “The ALS upgrade will allow us to vastly sharpen our tools and to accelerate that work for several more decades as we learn to design chemical, material, and biological systems that will solve the pressing energy and environmental challenges we face.”

This latest approval by DOE, known as Critical Decision 2 or CD-2, marks the completion of the preliminary design stage of the project. It also authorizes a $590 million budget and funding profile for the project, and outlines the scope and schedule.

“I am proud of the talented engineers, scientists, technicians, and support staff who helped the Lab achieve CD-2 approval for the Advanced Light Source Upgrade project during these challenging times. This upgrade will make it possible for Berkeley Lab to continue its leadership in soft X-ray research for another 30 years – but none of that could happen without the ALS-U team’s hard work and continued commitment to the Lab mission,” said Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell.

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