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Overview

The nation’s six synchrotron light sources, five neutron sources, and high-field magnet lab are uniquely valuable resources that contribute to the development of new products and processes, create jobs, enhance the skill level of the U.S. scientific community, and increase U.S. competitiveness. Because of the high cost of building and operating these facilities, 1 only a limited number can be funded, and they must be made widely available. They have been located predominately at universities or federal laboratories and made available to users nationally and internationally to conduct experiments.

Each facility consists of a core that generates the desired photons, neutrons, or high magnetic fields, together with a surrounding array of experimental units that enable users to apply these commodities in their research. Typically, funding for construction and operation of the facility core comes from a single agency (the steward), while support for the experimental units and the visiting scientists can come from the steward or other government agencies or private sources (the partners). The facilities represent a large and continuing investment of the nation’s

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Government funding agencies initially referred to these facilities as “materials facilities” or “major materials research facilities” because many early users were from the materials science community. However, in recent years the user community has broadened enormously to include biologists, chemists, and environmental scientists. Not only have these more recent users made significant scientific and technological discoveries, but their successes are also fueling an unprecedented expansion of activities at these facilities. It is thus more appropriate to call these facilities “multidisciplinary user facilities” or just “user facilities,” and the latter is the term used in this report.



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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields 1 Overview The nation’s six synchrotron light sources, five neutron sources, and high-field magnet lab are uniquely valuable resources that contribute to the development of new products and processes, create jobs, enhance the skill level of the U.S. scientific community, and increase U.S. competitiveness. Because of the high cost of building and operating these facilities, 1 only a limited number can be funded, and they must be made widely available. They have been located predominately at universities or federal laboratories and made available to users nationally and internationally to conduct experiments. Each facility consists of a core that generates the desired photons, neutrons, or high magnetic fields, together with a surrounding array of experimental units that enable users to apply these commodities in their research. Typically, funding for construction and operation of the facility core comes from a single agency (the steward), while support for the experimental units and the visiting scientists can come from the steward or other government agencies or private sources (the partners). The facilities represent a large and continuing investment of the nation’s 1   Government funding agencies initially referred to these facilities as “materials facilities” or “major materials research facilities” because many early users were from the materials science community. However, in recent years the user community has broadened enormously to include biologists, chemists, and environmental scientists. Not only have these more recent users made significant scientific and technological discoveries, but their successes are also fueling an unprecedented expansion of activities at these facilities. It is thus more appropriate to call these facilities “multidisciplinary user facilities” or just “user facilities,” and the latter is the term used in this report.

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields resources, from which their ultimate owners—the public—expect maximum returns in terms of scientific and technological achievements. These facilities have achieved phenomenal success (BESAC, 1997, 1998; NSF, 1988) and have contributed to the evolution of ever more advanced scientific capabilities. These capabilities in turn have attracted a larger and more diverse scientific user community. This same success and growth have created stresses in the system that threaten to make current management and funding methods untenable in the future. Several key issues are addressed in this study. Adequacy of funding. In the last decade, growth in the numbers of both facilities and users has strained the budgets of funding agencies. While ad hoc methods have provided additional operating funds for the facilities, the funding agencies still struggle to upgrade and run the facilities while maintaining support for their traditional mission area research programs at efficient levels. Stability of funding. Currently a single steward has the responsibility for funding and maintaining each core facility. Because of the broadening of the user communities, there is pressure to expand the sources of core funding. However, history has demonstrated that if core operations and maintenance become dependent on dispersed funding, the entire facility operation may be threatened by the reduction or withdrawal of support by a single component (see Chapter 3 section, “Dispersed Funding and Management Model”). Adequacy of instrumentation. Sufficient funding for the development, provision, maintenance, and upgrading of experimental instrumentation has seldom been available from the steward agencies. As a result, partnerships have been formed with outside groups to provide expertise and financing for experimental units at most of the synchrotron facilities. A lack of such partnerships at neutron facilities, combined with inadequate funding, has contributed in part to gross inadequacies in experimental instrumentation. Changing user demographics. The user communities of synchrotron, neutron, and high-magnetic-field facilities have increased significantly in recent years; the growth in the number of users from the biological community of synchrotron facilities is particularly notable. Many new users need more training and support from the facility than did their predecessors, and this further strains facility operating budgets. In addition, changes in the user demographics of a facility may lead to a mismatch between the mission of the primary funding agency and the scientific aims of the user community being served. Legal concerns. Facility users must sign agreements that are not transferable from one facility to another and that are considered by many to be unnecessarily complicated. In addition, the unresolved question of whether researchers can retain full intellectual property rights to research conducted at the facilities is a concern to many users, especially at DOE facilities.

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields This study was initiated to explore strategies that steward and partner agencies can use to address these challenges.2 TYPES OF MAJOR USER FACILITIES COVERED IN THIS STUDY Synchrotron Radiation Facilities Synchrotron radiation is created when charged particles, traveling at relativistic speeds, are deflected by a magnetic field. This radiation is unique by virtue of its high intensity, brightness, stability, and broad energy range, extending from the far infrared to the x-ray region. The radiation is continuous in wavelength and is polarized and pulsed, with the exact characteristics depending on the generating device. Historically, synchrotron facilities descended from particle accelerators that were developed for high-energy physics research. Gradually, other researchers, initially in materials science, realized that the photons produced by the particle accelerators could provide unique probes of the structure and properties of condensed-phase matter. Accordingly, “parasitic” instruments were attached to many of the accelerators to use these photons for research.3 These parasitic research activities were so successful that a second generation of accelerators and storage rings was dedicated to the production of synchrotron radiation for research (Clery, 1997). The most important of these facilities have come on line since 1980, and, unlike the neutron sources discussed below, most have operated as user facilities from the outset.4 The U.S. synchrotron user facility inventory includes five dedicated user facilities and one parasitic facility.5 Neutron Source Facilities Neutron beams can be generated either by nuclear reactors (continuous beams) or by accelerator-based devices called spallation sources (pulsed beams). Like synchrotron light sources, spallation neutron sources depend on the particle accelerator technology developed initially by the high-energy physics community. A spallation neutron source consists of an accelerator that shoots packets of 2   The formal charge to the committee can be found in Appendix B. 3   “Parasitic” use entailed use of a byproduct of a facility that is operated for other purposes. 4   Presentation to committee by Martin Blume, American Physical Society, September 14, 1998. 5   DOE is the steward of four synchrotron facilities (NSLS, SSRL, ALS, and APS) and NSF is the steward for two (SRC and CHESS). CHESS, at Cornell University, is parasitic to CESR, the Cornell Electron-positron Storage Ring. Other synchrotrons in the United States, such as SURF at NIST, CAMD at Louisiana State University, and the Duke University FEL, are not included in the scope of this study, as they do not currently serve significant scientific user communities outside their home institution. For definitions of acronyms, see Appendix E.

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields high-energy protons at heavy metal targets. The burst of neutrons that each proton-metal collision produces can be moderated so that its energy range is appropriate for condensed-phase matter research and then formed into a useful beam. Historically, neutron facilities descended from neutron reactors that were first constructed in the early 1940s as part of the U.S. atomic energy program. These reactors were used initially to demonstrate the feasibility of chain reactions and to generate fissile materials for military purposes. Subsequently, several small reactors were built to produce radioisotopes by neutron activation, to study engineering issues related to the production of atomic energy, and, almost as an afterthought, to produce beams of low-energy neutrons for other research purposes. Pioneering experiments using neutrons, initially in materials science, demonstrated the value of neutron beams as probes of the properties of matter. The reactors built subsequently, in the 1960s, had neutron beam research as an important activity from the outset, although they did not open their doors fully to the outside community as user facilities until the 1970s. The U.S. facility inventory includes three reactor-based neutron sources and two spallation sources.6 High-Magnetic-Field Facilities Magnetic field research has always been conducted at dedicated facilities because the importance of the responses of matter to magnetic fields has been obvious for more than two centuries. Magnetic field strength is a thermodynamic variable—similar to temperature and pressure—that affects the properties of matter; the stronger the fields, the greater the effect. High-magnetic-field facilities enable researchers to examine the response of matter to very strong magnetic fields. At present, magnets that generate fields greater than about 15 T are so costly to build and operate that they require significant federal support; lower field magnets, below about 15 T, do not need to be located in major facilities and thus are outside the scope of this study. A high-magnetic-field laboratory, the Francis Bitter Laboratory, was established at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960 with the support of the U.S. Air Force. Its mission was to design, construct, and operate both super-conducting and resistive electromagnets that generate high magnetic fields for research. In 1973 responsibility for management and funding of this facility was transferred to NSF. In 1990, following an open competition, the NSF established the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) in Florida at a new facility built and operated by a consortium made up of Florida State University (Tallahassee), the University of Florida (Gainesville), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The NHMFL also has a pulsed facility located in New Mexico at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 6   DOE is the steward for two reactor sources (HFBR and HFIR) and DOC-NIST is the steward for one (CNR). DOE is also the steward for the two spallation sources (IPNS and LANSCE).

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields USERS OF THE FACILITIES The typical facility user is a member of a small research group based in an academic institution, a national laboratory, a for-profit corporation, the facility itself, or a similar foreign institution that is supported by individual investigator grants from agencies like NSF, NIH, and DOE, or by corporate funds. The user generally visits the facility a few times a year to collect data that cannot be obtained using ordinary laboratory equipment. The users have varying levels of experience with the technologies at these facilities. Some have been involved in instrument development and need little training or educational support. Others have only a modest understanding of the instrumentation and require extensive support from the facility. The number of inexperienced users is growing, and the implications of this trend are discussed in Chapter 2. The user facilities attract talented scientists from around the world; each year some 10% to 20% of users of U.S. facilities are from foreign countries.7 In turn, significant numbers of U.S. scientists travel abroad to use foreign facilities,8 some of which provide capabilities that are either not available at U.S. facilities or are oversubscribed. This reciprocity of access to user facilities is essential for keeping both the instrumentation and U.S. scientific inquiry vital and state of the art. MAGNITUDE OF THE USER FACILITY ENTERPRISE The user facility enterprise is large, whether measured by the numbers of scientists involved, the cost of the facilities, or the size of the annual operating budgets. In 1998, about 7,000 scientists (see Table 1.1) used the major facilities in the United States, and when those who collaborate with users are included, the size of the community swells to several times that. The number of users is increasing due to recognition of the benefits that facility use offers to increasing numbers of scientific fields and to recent additions of new advanced capabilities at the facilities (see Chapter 2). The magnitude of the U.S. investment in the neutron, photon, and high-magnetic-field sources of the major user facilities, the sources of funding of the facilities, and the ongoing operating and maintenance expenses are presented in Table 1.2. As the table shows, replacing the core portion of the existing user facilities would cost over $5 billion. The annual operating costs of the cores of 7   Data provided to the committee by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Department of Energy, on November 5, 1998; Sol Gruner, CHESS, May 5, 1999; and James Taylor, SRC, May 17, 1999. 8   For example, U.S. scientists accounted for roughly 5% of the researchers at the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL) from 1995 to 1998, and the collaborations to which they contributed used roughly 15% of the beam time. Presentation to the committee from Alan Leadbetter, ILL, November 16, 1998.

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields these facilities are almost $300 million. Table 1.2 does not include the magnitude of the investment in or the operating and maintenance costs of the instruments installed at the facilities. TABLE 1.1 Numbers of Users at U.S. Multidisciplinary User Facilities in 1998 Type of Facility Users in 1998 DOE-operated synchrotrons 4,536 (NSLS, APS, ALS, SSRL) NSF-operated synchrotrons 817 (CHESS, SRC) DOE-operated neutron sources 371a(IPNS, HFIR, HFBR, LANSCE) NIST-operated neutron source 850 (CNR) National High Magnetic Field Laboratory 293 TOTAL 6,867 NOTE: The term “users” counts on-site researchers who conduct experiments at facilities. An individual is counted as one user (per facility annually) regardless of number of visits in a year. aIn 1997 there were 810 users of DOE neutron sources. The decrease from 1997 reflects temporary, upgrade-associated shutdowns at LANSCE and HFIR, the shutdown of HFBR, and a change in the definition of a “user” at HFIR. SOURCE: Information supplied to the committee by Jack Rush, NISTCNR, on May 4, 1999; Sol M. Gruner, CHESS, on May 5, 1999; JanetPatten, NHMFL, on May 10, 1999; James W. Taylor, SRC, on May 17,1999; and DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, on June 10, 1999. FUNDING SOURCES FOR THE USER FACILITIES The funds that support user facilities can be divided into funding for the cores and funding for the experimental units. The federal government has been and remains the source of most of the core funds, but state governments have made significant contributions to NHMFL and SRC, among others. Funding for the experimental units comes from remarkably heterogeneous sources. Core Facility Funding Because of its historical responsibility for atomic energy, the Department of Energy supports most of the nation’s synchrotron light sources and neutron sources. DOE responsibility for most of the facilities has been assigned to the Office of Basic Energy Sciences; responsibility for LANSCE is shared between DOE’s defense program and basic energy sciences. Other user facilities are supported by the Department of Commerce and NSF. The Department of Commerce sponsors a reactor-based neutron user facility and a small synchrotron at NIST.9 NSF sponsors two synchrotron light sources and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. 9   The NIST synchrotron is not a multidisciplinary user facility and thus is not considered further in this report.

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields TABLE 1.2 Financial Information for U.S. Multidisciplinary User Facilities for 1998 (in 1998 dollars) Facility Funding Agency Estimated Replacement Cost ($ millions) Annual Operations ($ millions) Synchrotron ALS DOE 236 30.7 APS DOE 1,242 82.4 CHESS NSF 192 3.9a,b NSLS DOE 86 31.0 SSRL DOE 210 21.7 SRC NSF 35 4.0b Neutron HFIR DOE 800 33.8 HFBR DOE 750 23.0 IPNS DOE 160 11.2 LANSCE DOE 1,000 6.6c NIST CNR DOC 500 7.2 Magnet NHMFL NSF 142 24.2d TOTAL 5,353 279.7 aDoes not include costs to operate CESR, which supplies synchrotron radiation for CHESS at an annual operating budget of $8.6 million. bIncludes state and/or institutional cost sharing. cLANSCE operations are listed for the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center only. The replacement cost is listed for the LANSCE facility, which includes nonscattering activities. dIncludes state and/or institutional cost sharing of $13.5 million. SOURCE: Replacement costs information provided by the facilities.DOE facility operation costs data provided by DOE-BES, June 11, 1999.Operating costs for CHESS provided by Donald Bilderback, CHESS, March4, 1999; for SRC by James Taylor, SRC, March 29, 1999; for NHMFLby James Ferner, March 4, 1999; and for NIST CNR by J. Michael Rowe,January 8, 1999. Experimental Unit Funding At neutron and photon facilities, a diverse group supports the research instrumentation and support staff of the experimental units. On the research floor of a single facility, there could be hardware purchased by several divisions of both DOE and NSF, by several NIH institutes and divisions, by nonprofit organizations such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and by for-profit corporations. The widely varied user research projects are similarly supported by diverse sources. The funding system for experimental instrumentation depends on the facility type. In synchrotron facilities funding is in large measure the result of decisions taken in the 1980s, when DOE constructed three new synchrotron light sources

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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields (ALS, NSLS, and SSRL). To be able to use these new facilities more rapidly than could be internally supported, outside scientists organized into participating research teams (PRTs)10 were invited to develop some of the instrumentation. PRTs served two purposes: (1) they provided a mechanism for recruiting the talent needed to design and construct the instrumentation required to bring the facilities online quickly and (2) they provided a mechanism for raising funds to build and operate that instrumentation. In exchange for their contributions to the facilities, the PRTs were granted 75% of the available time on their beamlines. The PRT system has not been used for neutron facilities until recently; instrumentation has been provided by the facility. Limitations in facilities’ budgets have impeded the development and construction of instrumentation necessary to optimize the neutron sources. However, neutron facilities now appear to be moving toward a system similar to that in place in the synchrotron light sources: for example, the current upgrade at LANSCE will involve instrument construction through spectrometer development teams. The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory funding for instrumentation is predominantly provided by NSF and the state of Florida. DOE funded the preexisting pulsed field facilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the NHMFL. ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT Chapter 2 provides a detailed discussion of the U.S. synchrotron, neutron, and high-magnetic-field user facilities, emphasizing trends in their scientific applications and user communities. The stresses faced by the facilities and their supporting agencies due to the changing needs of the user community and the management changes that may be required to meet these needs in the future are also discussed. Chapter 3 traces the evolution of user facility management models in the United States, describes the current status of facility operation and funding, and compares them with models in user facilities in other countries. The strengths and weaknesses of the current stewardship models, either simple stewardship or steward-partner, are also discussed. 10   At various institutions these groups may go by other names, such as collaborative access team (CAT), instrument development team (IDT), or spectrometer development team (SDT), but their purpose and function are similar.