This has been adapted from a Berkeley Lab press release.
COSMIC, a multipurpose X-ray instrument at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Advanced Light Source (ALS), has made headway in the scientific community since its launch less than 2 years ago, with groundbreaking contributions in fields ranging from batteries to biominerals.
COSMIC is the brightest X-ray beamline at the ALS, a synchrotron that generates intense light – from infrared to X-rays – and delivers it to dozens of beamlines to carry out a range of simultaneous science experiments. COSMIC’s name is derived from coherent scattering and microscopy, which are two overarching X-ray techniques it is designed to carry out.
Its capabilities include world-leading soft X-ray microscopy resolution below 10 nanometers (billionths of a meter), extreme chemical sensitivity, ultrafast scanning speed as well as the ability to measure nanoscale chemical changes in samples in real time, and to facilitate the exploration of samples with a combination of X-ray and electron microscopy. Soft X-rays represent a low range in X-ray energies, while hard X-rays are higher in energy. Each type can address a different range of experiments.
COSMIC is setting the stage for a long-term project to upgrade the decades-old ALS. The effort, known as the ALS Upgrade (ALS-U), will replace most of the existing accelerator components with state-of-the-art technology, ensuring capabilities that will enable world-leading soft X-ray science for years to come. The upgrade will also further enhance COSMIC’s ability to capture nanoscale details in the structure and chemistry of a broad range of samples.
The expected 100-fold increase in X-ray brightness that ALS-U will deliver will provide a similar increase in imaging speed at COSMIC, and a more than threefold improvement in imaging resolution, enabling microscopy with single-nanometer resolution. Further, the technologies being developed now at COSMIC will be deployed at other beamlines at the upgraded ALS, making possible microscopy with higher X-ray energies for many more experiments. The instrument is one of many highly specialized resources available to scientists from around the world for free through a peer-reviewed proposal process.
COSMIC contributors included members of Berkeley Lab’s CAMERA (Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications) team, which includes computer scientists, software engineers, applied mathematicians, and others; information technology experts; detector specialists; engineers; scientists at the Molecular Foundry’s National Center for Electron Microscopy; ALS scientists; and outside collaborators from the National Science Foundation’s STROBE Science and Technology Center and Stanford University.
Read the full press release.