Newswise — More than 400 researchers from numerous disciplines will convene at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory today for the annual users’ meeting for the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM).

The APS and CNM, both DOE Office of Science User Facilities, annually attract more than 5,000 and 500 scientific users, respectively, from nearly all U.S. states and dozens of other countries.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Driving Discovery,” with an emphasis on the momentum in the scientific community made possible by the breadth and scale of experiments done at the APS and the CNM.

"Each experiment and paper, no matter the end result, adds to our collective understanding of matter and advances our mission, articulated by the Department of Energy, to drive first-class science that can make a difference in people’s lives."

APS reaches milestone for 20,000 peer-reviewed publications
This year saw the publication of the 20,000th peer-reviewed journal article based at least in part on experiments done at the APS since it opened in 1996.

The APS provides ultra-bright, high-energy X-ray beams to allow scientists to collect data in unprecedented detail – the beams are one billion times more powerful than the X-rays at a doctor’s office. These beams are generated by electrons moving at nearly the speed of light around the synchrotron, a ring the size of a professional baseball stadium.

“Included in those 20,000 journal articles were studies that led to two Nobel Prizes for Science, as well as thousands of discoveries to advance our understanding of enhanced materials, diseases and even the cosmos,” said Stephen Streiffer, director of the APS and Associate Laboratory Director for Argonne’s Photon Sciences Directorate.

Research done at the APS to characterize the behavior of proteins that cause diseases and potential therapies has resulted in numerous drugs in public use, including Abbott Labs’ Kaletra, one of the first HIV drugs.

In another study done in part at the APS, researchers found that Mars may have had more water than previously thought.

“Each experiment and paper, no matter the end result, adds to our collective understanding of matter and advances our mission, articulated by the Department of Energy, to drive first-class science that can make a difference in people’s lives,” Streiffer said.

CNM researchers take interdisciplinary approach to discovery nanoscience
At the CNM, dedicated Argonne researchers and users from outside facilities focus on nanoscience and nanotechnology that addresses important challenges, particularly in energy, information, materials and the environment.

Researchers at the CNM employ an array of one-of-a-kind capabilities to study matter at the nanoscale, whose dimensions range from a few atoms to a few hundred atoms across.

Unique capabilities at CNM include a premier clean room with advanced lithography and deposition capabilities, expansive synthesis and nanofabrication resources, a hard X-ray nanoprobe at the APS, and myriad scanning probes, including low-temperature and ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopes.

“Nanoscale technology has so much promise to provide new products and materials that will revolutionize how we live, from better personal electronics to more effective applications for national defense,” said Supratik Guha, director of the CNM and Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology Division.

“As nanotechnology becomes better understood by a wide variety of scientific disciplines, we are seeing requests for proposals from not just materials scientists, but also bio-engineering and medical researchers,” said Guha, who is also a professor at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

The four-day users’ meeting at Argonne will include workshops and poster sessions to discuss results of scientific discovery; a “speed science slam” in which researchers have just four minutes to describe their projects; short courses; and a symposium on drug discovery.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.