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The BELLA laser during construction. The BELLA laser during construction.
In the foreground, units of the front end stretch and amplify short, relatively weak laser pulses before further amplification in the long central chamber. Amplification is done by titanium sapphire crystals boosted by a dozen pump lasers. At the far end of the hall the now highly energetic stretched pulse is compressed before being directed to BELLA's electron-beam accelerator component.
Rendering of a Canted Cosine-Theta (CCT) dipole magnet. Canted Cosine-Theta (CCT) magnet windings
This computer-aided-design image shows the major parts of a CCT dipole, including two superimposed coils with opposite skew. CCT, a 1969 concept by Meyer and Flasck at Michigan, has received renewed interest as a way to achieve a pure cosine-theta field of high quality, along with intrinsic stress management, when using brittle high-field superconductors to make accelerator magnets.
Electron gun for the Advanced Photoinjector Experiment (APEX) Where the future of X-rays begins
We are collaborating with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Fermilab, Jefferson Laboratory, Argonne Laboratory, and Cornell University in the LCLS-II project based at SLAC. LCLS-II will be a superconducting linac-based x-ray free electron laser: a source of ultrashort pulses of coherent light. One of LBNL's key contributions will be the injector source, based on APEX, the Advanced Photo-Injector Experiment, shown here. APEX develops the extraordinarily demanding high-brightness electron gun technology that will be needed by this and other next-generation light sources.
9-cm BELLA plasma channel BELLA plasma channel
A 9 cm-long capillary discharge waveguide used in BELLA experiments to generate multi-GeV electron beams. The plasma plume has been made more prominent with the use of HDR photography. BELLA has accelerated electrons to 4.2 GeV, a record for laser-plasma accelerators.
Advanced Light Source: the same on the outside, much enhanced within Advanced Light Source
Designed and built under AFRD leadership, this Department of Energy user facility was one of the first of the highly optimized "third generation" of synchrotron radiation sources when it was commissioned some 20 years ago. A long series of AFRD-led improvements have kept its performance at the forefront. A major brightness upgrade and the introduction of "Top-off" injection are the latest upgrades that deliver photon beams of better quality and variety for the users.
High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering source High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering source
Dual HiPIMS magnetron. HiPIMS offers highly adherent coatings with desirable microstructures—attractive qualities for many applications, including niobium coatings for superconducting acceleration cavities.
Radiofrequency quadrupole accelerator for IMP Lanzhou Radiofrequency quadrupole accelerator for IMP Lanzhou
This LBNL-designed radiofrequency quadrupole linear accelerator, or RFQ, is being commissioned at the Institute of Modern Physics, Lanzhou, PRC. The 10-milliampere, continuous-wave RFQ is a key part of a system they are developing to transmute reactor waste into shorter-lived forms. The design work takes advantage of longtime LBNL leadership in RFQs, and this effort is already yielding spinoff benefits for a "proton driver" at Fermilab, centerpiece of a proposed facility for high-energy and nuclear-physics research.
Particle accelerators have come a long way since Ernest Orlando Lawrence invented the cyclotron and founded the laboratory that now bears his name. Today, accelerators are vital to answering a wide range of questions, from "What is the underlying structure of matter?" to "How do you quickly check a cargo container for explosives?" or "Where can we get electricity without fossil fuels?" In ATAP we design and build these tools for discovery and application; the benefits touch a great many other aspects of science and technology.

This progress has been made possible by "big science," which was Lawrence's trademark way of doing things and one of his most enduring inventions. Big science is not necessarily a matter of size — many of our efforts are quite modest in budget and staffing. The heart of it is interdisciplinary teamwork focused on the needs of science and the nation.

Our mission is to push the frontiers of accelerator and laser science and technology, and develop the next generation particle and light beams, as powerful tools for multi-scale science to serve the nation's needs. We carry out this mission with a deep commitment to training future researchers, and hold ourselves to the highest scientific, safety, and diversity standards.

Toward accomplishment of this mission, we have these broad goals, many of which take advantage of core strengths of more than one of our research programs and benefit multiple applications:

  • Exquisite x-ray beams from synchrotrons and free-electron lasers. This involves our ongoing accelerator-physics support for LBNL's Advanced Light Source; participation in the LCLS-II collaboration; and looking toward a diffraction-limited ultimate development of the ALS.
  • Developing compact ultrahigh-gradient, lower-cost high-energy accelerators, principally through the BELLA Center's laser plasma accelerators and preliminary exploration of the shape that a next step, "k-BELLA" or "BELLA II," might take.
  • Higher-field and lower-cost superconducting magnets, a field in which our Superconducting Magnet Program is among the world's leading R&D groups.
  • Electron, ion, neutron, and gamma-ray beams as powerful tools for probing matter. The Advanced Photoinjector Experiment (APEX), BELLA Center, and many Fusion Science and Ion Beam Technology efforts all play into this effort, which we expect to have diverse payoff for both discovery science and national security.
  • High-average- and -peak-power ultrafast laser technology for accelerators and radiation generation, a new initiative that takes advantage of BELLA Center expertise in particular, and comes at an exciting time in laser technology and applications.
  • High performance modeling, control, and diagnostic systems. The Center for Beam Physics, BELLA, and the ALS Accelerator Physics team are prominently involved.

On this site you can learn about our research programs and find links to colleagues and collaborators from around the world. We thank you for sharing our interest, and welcome you to explore this site and the larger world of accelerators and their uses.