The University Record, March 28, 1994

Clarke co-directs project at Argonne photon facility

By Jane R. Elgass

The U-M, Howard University and AT&T Bell Laboratories have created a collaborative team to conduct research at the $467 million Advanced Photon Source (APS) facility at Argonne National Laboratory.

Physics Prof. Roy Clarke, who is director of the U-M’s Applied Physics Program, will co-direct the project with Ronald Pindak of AT&T Bell Labs and Walter Lowe of Howard University.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a $9.2 million grant to Howard for this collaborative research over the next four years.

The University of Michigan/Howard University/AT&T Bell Laboratories Collaborative Access Team (MHATT-CAT) was formed in 1989 to construct and operate an experimental sector at the APS, a giant synchrotron storage facility at Argonne National Laboratory. The APS, which will be the world’s brightest X-ray source when it is commissioned in 1995, will accommodate up to 32 CATs, each responsible for the operation of experimental facilities within their own sector.

MHATT-CAT’s sector will consist of two 60-meter beamlines instrumented for X-ray scattering studies and spectroscopy. The experimental facilities will be available to researchers from the three partner institutions and, for part of the time, to general users who will have to submit research proposals for access.

“A broad range of research in science and technology will be performed at the MHATT-CAT sector,” Clarke explains, “ranging from basic studies of protein dynamics to the behavior of solid state lasers under actual operating conditions. These studies,” he adds, “are made possible by the unusual pulsed characteristics of X-ray radiation emitted from a synchrotron source.”

Clarke also notes that the facilities “offer our students access to the most advanced research equipment for structural studies. A very important part of the project is to establish high-speed communications that link participating institutions and the facility at the Advanced Photon Source, so that our students, particularly our undergraduate researchers, can participate actively in the research while attending classes on their respective campuses. Our industrial partner, AT&T Bell Labs, will contribute its ‘virtual reality’ technology to this effort.”

The facility will provide researchers the capability to perform materials research experiments that were previously impossible. Its giant accelerator, two-thirds of a mile in circumference, will enable researchers to carry out time-resolved studies and evaluations of materials under real dynamic conditions.

Vice President for Research Homer A. Neal says that the U-M “is delighted to participate with Howard University and Bell Labs in this cutting-edge advanced materials research. This project stands as an example of outstanding

inter-institutional collaboration, bringing together, as it does, top researchers from universities and industry, prepared to forge ahead in a dynamic and exciting area of study. The implications for both basic and applied research are excellent,” Neal adds.

Walter P. Lowe, principal investigator for the grant at Howard University, notes that the “interdisciplinary industry-university approach has many notable advantages. We expect our portion of the work at the Advanced Photon Source facility to draw together researchers from a very wide community of institutions that have an interest in research using time-resolved X-ray techniques.”

Other U-M participants in the MHATT-CAT are James Allen, professor of physics; Meigan Aronson, assistant professor of physics; Michael Bretz, professor of physics; Karen Coulter, research engineer; Steven Dierker, associate professor of physics; John Gland, professor of chemistry, of chemical engineering and of applied physics; and James Penner-Hahn, associate professor of chemistry.