DOE X-Ray Light Sources, Neutron Scattering, and Cryo-Electron Microscopy User Capabilities for Environmental System Science


Kenneth M. Kemner1* ([email protected]), Vincent Noël2


1Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL; 2SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA



The BER ESS program seeks to advance an integrated, robust, and scale-aware predictive understanding of terrestrial systems and their interdependent microbial, biogeochemical, ecological, hydrological, and physical processes. Structural and chemical insights at the atomic, molecular, and mesoscale levels are critical for developing multi-scale, multi-component models that can be used to predict system behavior and inform process knowledge and systems models. These insights advance the goals of the ESS program to understand the ecological and hydro-biogeochemical linkages among system components and to characterize the complex processes and controls on the structure, function, feedbacks, and dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems and watersheds.

A wide array of synchrotron-, neutron-, and electron-based techniques are available for characterizing structure, function, and interrelationships among complex molecular components that are relevant to ESS. The spatial and temporal resolutions available from neutron, photon, and electron beams enable characterization and imaging of system components and interactions among plants, microbes, water, and soil constituents (organic and mineral). Accessible scales range from subnanometer to centimeter length and time dimensions from femtoseconds to seconds and longer.

Capabilities and resources at the DOE synchrotron and neutron facilities, especially suited for ESS, provide expert guidance, user support, and training for designing experiments and measuring data. Cryo-electron microscopy and tomography are also available techniques. Free access is available for competitive proposals. Please visit the poster and peruse the informational brochures.

Funding Information

The X-ray light sources and neutron scattering facilities are constructed and operated by the DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences Scientific User Facility Division. The BER Structural Biology and Imaging User Resources at the DOE Basic Energy Science facilities and at EMSL are operated by BER.