Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Site of the Brookhaven National Laboratory 2010: In the foreground the National Synchrotron Light Source II , which was then under construction , the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the top right , in between several disconnected research facilities such as the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor and the High Flux Beam Reactor
(View to northwest)
Site plan of the large research facilities of the BNL. Plants marked in orange are in operation, in blue they are out of service.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory ( BNL ) is a national research center on Long Island in the US state of New York .

The laboratory was built in 1947 on the site of the former Camp Upton military base and has been continuously developed since then. The original umbrella organization of the BNL was the United States Atomic Energy Commission . Today it is operated and financed by its successor, the US Department of Energy . The laboratory employs around 3,000 permanent employees. In addition, around 4,500 guest researchers travel to the BNL every year.

Ever since it was founded, the BNL's research program has been strongly geared towards the operation and use of large-scale research facilities. In the 1950s and 1960s, several research reactors went into operation (including the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor and the High Flux Beam Reactor), in which, among other things, experiments in nuclear and materials research were carried out and radionuclides were produced for biological and medical research. During the same period, two proton accelerators for elementary particle physics (the Cosmotron and the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron ) were put into operation. In the 1970s the National Synchrotron Light Source was added, providing intense X-rays for a wide range of research areas and used by both BNL scientists and a growing group of external research groups; In the 1990s, beam lines for the infrared spectral range were also installed. After the shutdown of these facilities, the BNL now operates two major research facilities of international importance: the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) for heavy ion and elementary particle physics and the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) as a source of synchrotron radiation for a variety of research areas.

A total of seven Nobel Prizes were awarded for discoveries directly related to the Brookhaven National Laboratory. These include the first observation of the J / ψ meson ( Physics Nobel Prize 1976), the discovery of the muon neutrino (Physics Nobel Prize 1988), the detection of cosmic neutrinos (Physics Nobel Prize 2002) and the elucidation of the structure and Function of the ribosome ( Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009). Today, the research portfolio of the BNL ranges from basic research in physics, chemistry and biosciences to application-oriented issues in energy and environmental research.


Location of the BNL in New York State.

The BNL is located in the east of Long Island , about 100 kilometers as the crow flies from the center of New York City . The BNL Complex covers a total of 21.3 square kilometers and is surrounded by the western foothills of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens, a wooded area covering approximately 425 square kilometers. The Interstate 495 from New York City runs two kilometers south of the BNL. Another three kilometers south is Brookhaven Airport, which is operated by Brookhaven County . Seven kilometers east of the laboratory is the exclusively privately used Calverton Executive Airpark. In addition, the laboratory is connected to the rail network through the New York and Atlantic Railway, founded in 1997 . The nearest cities are Patchogue, about 18 kilometers southwest and Riverhead about 19 kilometers east .


Foundation and early years

Conception and financing

The initiative to establish a national laboratory in the northeastern United States originally came from the physics Nobel Prize winner Isidor Isaac Rabi . Rabi was a professor at Columbia University in New York City in the 1930s . In the war years 1940-1945 he worked at the Radiation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and took part in the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapons . In 1945 he returned to Columbia University. Many of his former colleagues had since left university and taken positions at other institutions in the United States. These included the Nobel Prize winners Enrico Fermi and Harold Urey , who had also worked on the Manhattan Project, but were then poached by the University of Chicago . Together with his colleague Norman Ramsey (who later also received the Nobel Prize in Physics), Rabi initially planned to build a research reactor at Columbia University in order to increase the attractiveness of the site for outstanding physicists. Since the resources required for this exceeded the capacity of Columbia University, nine universities established the Initiatory University Group (IUG) in March 1946 at the instigation of Rabi and Ramsey, which was to plan and initiate the establishment of a new laboratory on the east coast . The IUG's first chairman was Lee DuBridge , who headed the MIT Radiation Laboratory during World War II . To finance the laboratory, the IUG made an application to General Leslie Groves , the military director of the Manhattan Project, who at the time was still working as coordinator of the US nuclear weapons program. General Groves gave the IUG a funding commitment in March 1946. On January 1, 1947, the laboratory was established as a national laboratory under the name Brookhaven National Laboratory and, alongside the Argonne National Laboratory and the Clinton National Laboratory, was placed under the supervision of the newly created Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the forerunner of today's Department of Energy . The temporary consortium of the nine founding universities was formally registered in New York State in 1947 under the name Associated Universities Incorporated (AUI for short).

Camp Upton

Panorama of Camp Upton from 1919.

There were a total of 17 suggestions for the location of the new laboratory, with most of them being US military bases . A committee led by Norman Ramsey was appointed to make the decision. The decisive criteria were the accessibility of the laboratory within one hour from the next train station, sufficient space for the large research facilities and a weak settlement of the surrounding area in order to minimize radiation damage within the population in the event of a reactor accident . The commission identified the already obsolete Camp Upton Army Base on Long Island near New York City as the only place that met all of these criteria. Camp Upton was completed in 1917 and served as a training camp for recruits from the US armed forces during World War I , who were briefed by French and British officers who had arrived. After the end of the First World War, the camp was closed for the time being, but reactivated with the entry of the United States into the Second World War. During the war, Camp Upton served as a hospital and prisoner of war camp , among other things , before it was completely closed in 1946. Based on the recommendation of the Ramsey Committee, the area of ​​Camp Upton was transferred to the AEC by the United States War Department on March 21, 1947 .

Research program

Following the initiative of Rabi and Ramsey, the BNL's initial research focus was on nuclear research. Due to the military importance of this branch of research, strict security reviews of all newly hired scientists initially made it difficult to recruit scientific staff. Additional complications arose from the confidentiality of research results required by the AEC. After lengthy negotiations between the AUI and the AEC, a compromise was reached on these matters: All research results should be publicly available, with the exception of some findings from nuclear physics, which had to be approved by the AEC before publication. People without a security certificate should have access to all buildings, except the reactor and the library where secret documents were kept. With these regulations, the BNL scientists, under the leadership of the first director Philip Morse, were able to achieve their goal of creating a university-like working atmosphere. The recruitment of scientists then progressed more rapidly, and by mid-1948 the BNL already had 1,500 employees.

Surname Period Life dates
Philip M. Morse 1947-1948 1903-1985
Leland J. Haworth 1948-1961 1904-1979
Maurice Goldhaber 1961-1973 1911-2011
George H. Vineyard 1973-1981 1920-1987
Nicholas P. Samios 1982-1997 * 1932
Lyle Schwartz (interim) 1997
Peter Bond (interim) 1997-1998
John H. Marburger 1998-2001 1941-2011
Peter Paul (interim) 2001-2003 1932-2017
Praveen Chaudhari 2003-2006 1937-2010
Samuel H. Aronson 2006–2012 * 1942
Doon Gibbs since 2012 * 1954

After the complete expansion in 1948, the BNL had six departments: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Engineering and Instrumentation. While the latter two departments dealt almost exclusively with the construction and operation of the research reactors and particle accelerators, the research program of the other departments concentrated mainly on nuclear physics , nuclear chemistry and radiation chemistry , often with the help of large research institutions. The biomedical research was initially relatively few resources. The plans of the first head of the medical department, William Sunderman , to set up a teaching hospital in the laboratory were not realized and Sunderman left the laboratory in 1948. The biology department also had great difficulties in starting a research program. In the course of the same year, however, the laboratory was able to hire Donald Van Slyke , a prominent scientist at Rockefeller University , first as a consultant, then as deputy head of the department. Van Slyke initiated a number of new research projects, in particular the application of radionuclides in biomedical research.

Major historical research institutions

Research reactors

In front the High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR), in the background the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR).
Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR)
The BGRR was the first research reactor commissioned in the USA after World War II and the first major research facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The design was developed by a team of BNL physicists and engineers led by Lyle B. Borst . The reactor consisted of 11 ft (about 3.94 m) long fuel from natural uranium that of a graphite - Moderator were surrounded in the form of a cube with edge length 25 ft (about 7.6 m). The reactor was cooled by air which was sucked in through a gap in the center of the graphite block and sucked out through the fuel channel. The maximum output was 32 MW, in normal operation the output was 20 MW. A total of 61 beam holes were made on two sides of the reactor, which provided neutrons for a variety of experiments in various research areas. Construction of the reactor began on August 11, 1947 and commissioning took place on August 22, 1950. The reactor was shut down in 1969. The dismantling began in 1999 and was completed in 2012.
The Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor (BMRR) around 1960.
Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor (BMRR)
Like the BGRR, the BMRR was a graphite-moderated natural uranium reactor and the first research reactor that was specifically built for medical applications. The output in normal operation was 3 MW. The main areas of application were the production of short-lived radionuclides and boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). The reactor was in operation from 1959 to 2000.
High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR)
The HFBR was designed by a BNL team led by Joseph Hendrie with the aim of significantly increasing the neutron flux compared to the BGRR. Construction began in the fall of 1961 and the reactor went into operation on October 31, 1965. The 53 cm high, 48 cm wide reactor core consisted of 28 fuel elements made of highly enriched uranium with a total weight of 9.8 kg. Moderation and cooling took place with heavy water . The reactor core as well as cooling and control devices were located in a steel tank. The reactor building with all measuring devices was a hemisphere with a diameter of 53.6 m.
The reactor was initially operated with an output of 40 MW, until the heat exchangers were modernized in 1982 and the output increased to 60 MW. The thermal neutron flux was at a maximum about 30 cm from the center of the core. The openings of a total of nine horizontal nozzles were placed there. Eight of these beam tubes were designed for thermal neutrons and were aligned tangentially to the center of the core, so that the flow of fast neutrons and thus the beam background for the experiments carried out there were minimized. Another beam tube delivered high-energy neutrons for nuclear physics experiments through its radial alignment. A total of 15 measuring instruments were attached to the beam pipes, which were mainly used for nuclear and solid-state physics experiments. A cold moderator made of 1.4 l hydrogen , which went into operation in 1980, was also attached to one of the tangential jet pipes . In addition to the horizontal radiant tubes, there were seven vertical tubes with irradiation devices.
In April 1989 the reactor was shut down due to an extensive safety check and started up again in May 1991 with a reduced output of 30 MW. During a routine investigation in 1996, a small amount of tritium was found in the groundwater near the reactor building, which was attributed to a leak in the spent fuel pool. This incident initially led to a further shutdown and in 1999 to the final shutdown of the HFBR.

Particle accelerator

The Cosmotron's storage ring at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The Cosmotron was a proton accelerator commissioned in 1951 with a diameter of 23 meters, which was originally designed to simulate some of the properties of cosmic rays . In 1952 it reached a proton energy of 1 GeV , making it the first accelerator to exceed this energy threshold. It reached its full power with 3.3 GeV in January 1953 and was at that time the accelerator with the world's highest proton energy. In 1966, operations at the Cosmotron were discontinued in favor of the more modern and more powerful Alternating Gradient Synchrotron , which had been commissioned six years earlier.
The area of ​​the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.
Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS)
The AGS is based on the principle of changing magnetic field gradients, through which the size and thus also the costs of the electromagnets in the storage ring could be limited. The proton accelerator was put into operation in 1960 and at the end of July 1960 reached its predicted proton energy of 33 GeV. The AGS has a diameter of 843 ft (approx. 257 m) and accelerates not only protons but also heavy ions . In addition to the AGS, the AGS accelerator complex also includes a tandem Van De Graaff accelerator consisting of two 15 MeV electrostatic accelerators, a booster, a synchrotron completed in 1991, and the Brookhaven Linear Accelerator (LINAC for short), a 1971 in 200 MeV linear accelerator in operation . The AGS has been integrated into the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider as a pre-accelerator since 2000.

National Synchrotron Light Source

The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) consisted of two electron storage rings : the so-called vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) ring with around 20 beam lines and a ring for generating hard X-rays (X-ray ring) with around 60 beam lines. The circumference of the VUV ring was 51 m, that of the X-Ray ring 170 m. The VUV ring and the X-Ray ring were commissioned in 1982 and 1984, respectively, and construction was completed in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Construction costs were approximately $ 160 million.

Aerial view of the National Synchrotron Light Source.

The electrons were brought to an energy of 120 MeV in a linear accelerator , then accelerated to 750 MeV in a booster and then fed into the VUV or X-Ray ring, where they are reduced to their final energy of 750 MeV or 2, 5-GeV were accelerated. To focus the electron beam in the storage rings and to maximize the radiation intensity , the BNL physicists Renate Chasman and George Kenneth Green designed a regular arrangement of dipole and quadrupole magnets , which is now known as the “ Chasman Green Lattice ” or “Double Bend Achromat (DBA ) Lattice "is known and used in many synchrotron sources. Because of this design, the NSLS has long been the most intense synchrotron X-ray source in the world. The wavelength of the synchrotron radiation ranged from 0.1 to 30 Å .

The beamlines were operated either by BNL scientists (“Facility Beamlines”) or by external institutions (“Participating Research Teams”), who made 50 or 25 percent of the beam time available to external users via an application system. The measuring methods practiced at the NSLS were very diverse and ranged from X-ray absorption spectroscopy to high-resolution crystallography . Over 2000 scientists visited the facility annually.

In 2014 the NSLS was switched off and replaced by the more powerful NSLS-II.

Historical research priorities and research results

Solid state research

Magnetic neutron scattering
At the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor, Harry Palevsky and Donald Hughes observed for the first time inelastic magnetic neutron scattering from ferromagnets . Léon van Hove , then a visiting scientist at the BNL, then developed a formalism that establishes a connection between the cross-section of magnetic neutron scattering and the spin-spin correlation functions. The van-Hove formalism is now an integral part of solid-state research with neutrons.
Crystallography with neutrons
In the 1960s, a working group led by Walter Hamilton used a neutron diffractometer on the High Flux Beam Reactor to determine the structure of a large number of solids, including many complex molecular crystals . For this purpose, Hamilton developed mathematical methods for analyzing crystallographic data, some of which are still in use today.
Soft lattice vibrations
In 1970, Gen Shirane and co-workers discovered low-energy (“soft”) lattice vibrations in the vicinity of ferroelectric phase transitions through measurements on a neutron three-axis spectrometer . This phenomenon, for the discovery of which Shirane received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 1973 , is an important element in the theoretical understanding of ferroelectricity and other structural phase transitions.
One and two dimensional magnetism
In the 1970s, Robert Birgeneau (then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ) and colleagues showed that theories about the structure and dynamics of one- and two-dimensional magnets can be precisely checked by neutron experiments on complex metal oxides and organometallic compounds. For this and similar work, Birgeneau was awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in 1987.
Magnetism in high temperature superconductors
Shortly after Georg Bednorz and Karl A. Müller discovered high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxides , Birgeneau, Shirane and BNL physicist John Tranquada discovered unusual magnetic order phenomena and stimuli in these materials through neutron scattering experiments at the HFBR. Motivated by these discoveries, models were developed according to which high-temperature superconductivity is caused by a magnetic mechanism.
Resonant magnetic X-ray scattering
In experiments at the NSLS, the BNL physicist Doon Gibbs (BNL Director from 2012) discovered the resonant scattering of synchrotron X-rays on magnetically ordered holmium . For this discovery and for theoretical work to explain this phenomenon, he received the APSUO Arthur H. Compton Award in 2003 together with the BNL physicists Martin Blume and Dennis McWhan and Kazumichi Namikawa ( University of Tokyo ) .

Nuclear and elementary particle physics

Neutron cross sections
In the 1950s, a working group headed by Donald J. Hughes developed various neutron-optical components as well as the method of neutron time-of-flight spectrometry for measuring the energy-dependent absorption and scattering cross-sections of neutrons and compiled these in detailed tables, both in the core - as well as in solid state physics gained great importance.
Weak interaction parity violation
In 1956, Tsung-Dao Lee ( Columbia University ) and Chen Ning Yang (then a physicist at the BNL) hypothesized, based on experimental observations at the Cosmotron accelerator, that the parity quantum number is not retained in the case of particle decays that are mediated by the weak interaction . This hypothesis was later confirmed by the Wu experiment . For their theoretical work, Lee and Yang were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957 .
Helicity of neutrinos
In a study of the decay of metastable atomic nuclei (known today as the “ Goldhaber experiment ”), a working group led by Maurice Goldhaber first demonstrated the helicity of neutrinos in 1957 . They described neutrinos as “left-handed”, so the helicity is negative.
CP violation
In 1964, James Cronin and Val L. Fitch (then both at Princeton University ) carried out experiments on the decay of kaons at the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron and discovered a violation of the CP symmetry, which contains a fundamental asymmetry between matter and antimatter . For this discovery they received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1980.
Discovery of the muon neutrino
The elementary particles of the Standard Model. In the bottom line is the muon neutrino, which was discovered at the AGS. In the top line the charm quark , part of the J / ψ meson also discovered at the AGS.
Shortly after the AGS was put into operation, Leon Lederman , Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger (then at Columbia University) and their colleagues there discovered the muon neutrino in 1962 when they observed the decay of high-energy pions into muons and neutrinos. The muon neutrino was the first elementary particle of its kind to be observed experimentally after the electron neutrino, which was already known from the beta decay of atomic nuclei. Its discovery established the classification of leptons into "generations", which today is an essential part of the Standard Model . Lederman, Schwartz and Steinberger received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this in 1988.
Solar and cosmic neutrinos
Raymond Davis Jr. (from 1948 to 1984 scientist at the BNL) developed methods for the detection of neutrinos at the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor, which he later used in an underground neutrino detector in the Homestake gold mine. There he carried out measurements of the flow of the (“solar”) neutrinos emitted by the sun, and in 1968 he determined for the first time that it was significantly lower than predicted by models of energy generation in the sun. These investigations established the so-called solar neutrino problem, which was only solved much later by the discovery of neutrino oscillations. Davis received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on solar neutrinos.
Discovery of the J / ψ particle
In an experiment with high-energy proton beams at the AGS, a research group led by Samuel CC Ting (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) discovered a new long-lived meson they named "J" in 1974. Since the same meson was observed at almost the same time by Burton Richter and colleagues at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and called "ψ", it is now called "J / ψ". A little later, the J / ψ turned out to be a bound state of a charm and an anti-charm quark, and its discovery thus confirmed theoretical predictions of these elementary particles. Just two years after the discovery, Ting and Richter received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this.
Quark-Gluon Plasma
Inside view of the STAR detector at RHIC. Experiments carried out there provided evidence of the quark-gluon plasma.
From collisions of high-energy gold ions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, the operators of four different detectors received numerous indications of the formation of a theoretically predicted state of matter in which quarks and gluons are not subject to
confinement as in atomic nuclei . These notes were first summarized in 2005.

Biology and medicine

Parkinson's disease treatment
In 1968, developed George Cotzias (scientists at BNL Medical Center) and his staff, the dopamine - isomer L-dopa and implement it successfully for the treatment of Parkinson's disease one. L-Dopa is still considered one of the most effective Parkinson 's drugs today .
Structure of ion channels
The elucidation of the atomic structure of ion channels enabled a detailed mechanistic understanding of ion transport through cell membranes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Roderick MacKinnon ( Rockefeller University ) and colleagues received high-resolution X-ray structural data of closed and open K + ion channels, some of them at the NSLS. For this MacKinnon was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2003 (together with Peter Agre , Johns Hopkins University ).
Structure of ribosomes
The elucidation of the structure of the 30S and 50S subunits of ribosomes was partly or almost completely based on crystallographic data obtained at the NSLS. For this achievement, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK) and Thomas A. Steitz ( Yale University ) together with Ada E. Yonath ( Weizmann Institute ) received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009.


Technetium 99m generator
The first technetium 99m generator at the BNL (without radiation
shielding ) in 1958. The illustration shows the elution of 99m Tc from the generator, which contains the mother nuclide 99 Mo.
In the course of experiments on the production of radioisotopes at the BGRR, the BNL physicist Walter Tucker and colleagues developed a process for generating the short-lived isotope 99m Tc , which is used for medical imaging, from long-lived 99 Mo , which is transported over longer distances and to hospitals can be delivered. The Technetium 99m generator is still widely used today.
The "Tennis For Two" oscilloscope.
Tennis for Two
In 1958, William Higinbotham , then head of the instrumentation department at BNL, developed the computer game Tennis for Two , which is considered to be the first video game. The game was played on an oscilloscope connected to an analog computer . The oscilloscope screen showed a side view of a tennis court with a net. The players could hit a ball (point of light with trace) over the net by turning a button and pressing a button. The video game Pong represents a further development of this game concept.
MagLev technology
In 1968, BNL scientists Gordon Danby and James Powell patented a maglev technology known today as "MagLev" , in which static (preferably superconducting) magnets are mounted on the vehicle and controlled by currents in the rails. For this invention, Danby and Powell received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in 2000 .
Nobel prizes for research results achieved at the BNL
year Nobel Prize Winner subject area Reason for awarding the prize Role of the BNL
1957 Tsung-Dao Lee & Chen Ning Yang physics "For her fundamental research on the laws of so-called parity , which led to important discoveries about elementary particles " Yang was employed at the BNL in 1957, together with Lee he interpreted experiments carried out in their work at the BNL.
1976 Samuel Chao Chung Ting & Burton Judges physics “For their leading achievements in the discovery of a new type of heavy elementary particle”, the J / ψ meson The key experiment was carried out in 1974 at the BNL's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.
1980 James W. Cronin & Val L. Fitch physics "For the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K mesons ", the CP violation The key experiment was carried out in 1963 at the BNL's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.
1988 Leon Lederman , Melvin Schwartz & Jack Steinberger physics "For the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino" The key experiment was carried out in 1962 at the BNL's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.
2002 Raymond Davis Jr. & Masatoshi Koshiba ; Riccardo Giacconi physics "For groundbreaking work in astrophysics, especially for the detection of cosmic neutrinos" Davis Jr., who shared the Nobel Prize with Koshiba for this very discovery, was employed by the BNL at the time. Giacconi, on the other hand, received the Nobel Prize for a separate finding.
2003 Roderick MacKinnon ; Peter Agre chemistry "For the discovery of the water channels in cell membranes " MacKinnon, who was visiting researcher at the BNL at the time, received the Nobel Prize for this very discovery. Agre, on the other hand, received the Nobel Prize for a separate finding.
2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan , Thomas A. Steitz & Ada E. Yonath chemistry "For the studies of the structure and function of the ribosome" Ramakrishnan and Steitz carried out important experiments at the NSLS of the BNL.


The laboratory is one of ten major US government-run laboratories and is overseen and almost entirely funded by the United States Department of Energy . The budget of the BNL in 2017 was around 582 million US dollars (around 521 million euros). The laboratory is run by a director and two deputy directors who are responsible for research and administration of the laboratory. Acting Director Doon Gibbs was appointed Interim Director in December 2012 and Laboratory Director in 2013.

The laboratory employs around 3,000 permanent employees. Every year around 4500 users visit the laboratory's large research facilities. The laboratory is divided into a total of eight directorates, each headed by an Associate Laboratory Director (ALD). The directorates are subdivided into departments (departments or divisions for larger or smaller organizational units); the department heads report to the respective ALD. In the research departments, the lowest organizational level consists of research groups, usually with a senior scientist as group leader. Another element of the organization are staff units that are directly assigned to the laboratory director. These include the planning office, the legal department, internal auditing and counter-espionage.

Directorates of the BNL
Directorate ALD Departments / Divisions / Offices
Computational Science Initiative Kerstin Kleese van Dam Computer Science and Mathematics, Computing for National Security, Scientific Data and Computing Center, Center for Data-Driven Discovery, Computational Science Laboratory
Nuclear and Particle Physics Berndt Mueller Colliders & Accelerators (including NASA Space Radiation Laboratory), Physics, Instrumentation, Superconducting Magnets
Energy and Photon Sciences James Misewich Chemistry, Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Sciences, Sustainable Energy Technologies
Environment, Biology, Nuclear Science & Nonproliferation Martin Schoonen Biology, Environmental and Climate Sciences, Nonproliferation and National Security
Business services George Clark Budget, Fiscal Services, Procurement and Property Management, Information Technology
Facilities & Operations Tom Daniels Laboratory Protection, Modernization Project, Production, Energy and Utilities
Environment, Safety & Health Steven Coleman Environmental Protection, Radiological Control, Safety and Health Services
Human Resources Robert Lincoln Guest, User and Visitor Center, Diversity and International Services, Benefits, Labor Relations, Talent Management, Compensation and HRIS, Occupational Medicine

Large research institutions

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider

The two rings of the RHIC double storage ring.

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is the world's first particle accelerator that can store, accelerate and collide spin-polarized protons. At the RHIC, heavy ions and spin-polarized protons circulate through a double storage ring (consisting of two independent storage rings running in parallel) that is around 3834 meters in circumference and is hexagonal in shape. There, with the aid of 1740 superconducting from titanium - niobium -made alloys dipole magnet the field strength of 3.45 Tesla deflected particles stored or focused.

The AGS complex as a pre-accelerator of the RHIC.

In experiments on quark-gluon plasma , ions of high mass are accelerated to 99.995 percent of the speed of light by three pre-accelerators (the Electron Beam Ion Source Accelerator, a booster and the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron) and then fed into one of the RHIC storage rings. The ions then move in opposite directions in the two RHIC storage rings and can collide at a point of intersection. The center of gravity energy in gold-gold collisions is currently 200 GeV. The resulting high energy heats the nuclei to a temperature of up to 4 trillion Kelvin , which means that conditions immediately after the Big Bang can be simulated. From the nature of the decay one can get new knowledge about these conditions. When the heavy ions collide, the quarks and gluons are released from the strong bond in the protons and can move freely through the extremely hot colliding atomic nuclei . This creates the quark-gluon plasma, which is still being researched intensively at RHIC today. The extremely high temperature and density matter created during such collisions only lasts for about 10 −22 seconds. RHIC was the first and for a long time the only accelerator on which the quark-gluon plasma could be observed. However, such measurements are now also possible at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN research center .

For the experiments with spin-polarized protons, the unpolarized proton primary beam picks up spin-polarized electrons when passing through an optically pumped Rb gas cell. The spin polarization of the electrons is transferred to the protons through the hyperfine interaction , and the electrons are removed again when they pass through a Na gas cell. The spin-polarized protons are first pre-accelerated in the LINAC and then - similar to the heavy ions - accelerated to their final energy in the booster and in the AGS. The experiments are intended to determine the contributions of quark and gluon spins and their orbital movement to the total spin of the proton. The center of mass energy in proton-proton collisions is currently 200 GeV.

Before RHIC went into operation, there were fears that the high collision energies could lead to the formation of black holes , which, however, were initially refuted by Nobel laureate in physics, Frank Wilczek , and then by a committee convened by the then BNL director John Marburger. One of the arguments put forward is based on the fact that the moon has been constantly hit by cosmic rays since its formation , which have a much higher energy than the heavy ions in RHIC, without a black hole having formed.

Electron Ion Collider

In January 2020, the Department of Energy announced that the Electron Ion Collider (EIC) would be built at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In the EIC, electrons and ions from separate accelerators are to be brought together to form high-energy collisions. Current plans include using one of the two RHIC storage rings to accelerate the ions.

National Synchrotron Light Source II

Aerial photo of the electron storage ring of the NSLS-II.

Planning for a new synchrotron to replace and further develop the NSLS that was shut down in 2014 began in 2005. Construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) began four years later and was completed in 2015. The electron energy in the storage ring is 3.0 GeV. The construction of the NSLS-II is based on a DBA Lattice, like the NSLS. The circumference of the ring is, however, almost five times larger at 792 meters. The energy of the emitted photons ranges from approx. 0.1 to 300 keV. By using optimized wigglers and undulators , synchrotron radiation is generated with a flux density of over 10 15 photons per second times square meter in all spectral ranges , i.e. the flux density is approx. 10,000 times higher than that of the NSLS and comparable to other synchrotrons of the third generation, such as for example PETRA-III at the DESY research center in Hamburg and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble . A spatial resolution of approx. 1 nm, a spectral resolution of 0.1 meV and the measurement sensitivity of a single atom were specified as the performance goals of the NSLS-II. The cost to build the facility was approximately $ 912 million.

The system currently has a total of 28 beam lines, and another beam line is under construction. A total of 58 active beam lines are targeted at the end of construction. Access for external users is granted via an application system. In 2018, 1,300 scientists carried out experiments at the NSLS-II.

Center for Functional Nanomaterials

The building of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

The CFN was founded in 2009 and is currently one of five Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers that are centrally funded by the Department of Energy and conduct research and development in the nanosciences . Research at CFN focuses on catalysis , fuel cells and photovoltaics . The CFN provides several research facilities for external scientists. These include clean rooms for nanostructuring processes on a total area of ​​approx. 500 m², synthesis laboratories for organic and inorganic nanomaterials , spectrometers for X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy , electron and tunnel microscopes , and a computer infrastructure for the numerical calculation of material properties. The approval of measurement and computing time at these facilities is made through an application system. In 2018, 581 scientists used the CFN.

Scientific Data and Computing Center

The high-performance data center at the BNL originally goes back to the "RHIC & ATLAS Computing Facility" (RACF), which was founded in 1997 to support experiments at RHIC and the ATLAS detector of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN . Data from particle collisions were stored in the RACF computers, analyzed and then distributed to the members of the respective detector consortia for further analysis. The computer infrastructure was continuously expanded in the following years, and the fields of application were expanded to include biology, medicine, materials and energy research and climate modeling. In particular, the “New York Blue / L” supercomputer went into operation in 2007 and the “New York Blue / P” in 2009, both of which belong to the Blue Gene series from IBM . A “Blue Gene Q” class computer was added in 2011, and the older “New York Blue” computers were switched off in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Current research program

The current focal points of the research departments are strongly aligned with the large research institutions at the BNL. In high-energy and astrophysics, BNL scientists also coordinate several large experiments at external research centers. In addition to the large research facilities, the research departments have extensive molecular biological laboratories as well as material synthesis and characterization facilities.

The BNL has defined the following strategic research priorities:

QCD matter

Theoretically predicted phase diagram of the quark-gluon plasma as a function of the chemical potential of the quarks on the x-axis and the temperature on the y-axis. CFL stands for the Color-Flavor-Locked-Phase.

One focus of basic research at the BNL is the physics of quarks and gluons , which is described by quantum chromodynamics (QCD). By analyzing data from high-energy collisions of heavy ions at RHIC, BNL scientists gain information about the hydrodynamic properties of the quark-gluon plasma and its phase diagram , including the phase transition to normal matter in analogy to the early universe. In other current research work, anti- nucleons and their interactions are investigated at the BNL .

Physics of the Universe

This topic includes the major astrophysical projects in which BNL physicists are involved, in particular the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope for imaging the entire visible southern sky and the BOSS collaboration ( Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey) for determining the distribution of dark energy in the universe . Furthermore, the BNL participation in the Daya Bay experiment on neutrino oscillations and the ATLAS detector at the LHC to investigate the Higgs boson are assigned to this research focus.

Research with photons

The development of photon-based methods for the elucidation of material structures is a cross-departmental research focus of the BNL. For this purpose, a number of BNL research groups operate beam lines at the NSLS-II. The research spectrum ranges from investigations into protein structure in the biosciences to imaging methods for electronic materials and components in solid-state research. In addition, time-resolved and spatially resolved methods for in-situ investigations are being developed in energy and environmental research .

Climate, environmental and life sciences

A diverse, strongly interdisciplinary research focus of the BNL aims to understand the interplay between climate change , the earth's ecosystems and possible initiatives for sustainable energy supply, as well as to develop strategies to curb global warming and to adapt to climatic changes. To this end, BNL researchers collect quantitative data on greenhouse gas emissions, optimize climate models and develop new biofuels .

Energy security

The main goals of this research focus are new methods of generating, transporting, storing and using energy. The research activities in this field range from basic research on chemical energy conversion, catalysis and superconductivity to the integration of renewable energies into the power grid.

Web links

Commons : Brookhaven National Laboratory  - Album containing pictures, videos and audio files

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Coordinates: 40 ° 52 '24 "  N , 72 ° 52' 19.4"  W.

This article was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 26, 2019 in this version .