Jefferson Lab’s Free-Electron Laser Joins With Others in New Research Venture

NEWPORT NEWS, VA, April 29, 2009 - The U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility will participate in a $777 million federal effort to accelerate scientific breakthroughs.

Jefferson Lab will be among nine universities and six DOE labs collaborating with the Carnegie Geophysical Institution of Washington, D.C., under an Energy Frontier Research Center award announced Monday by the White House. DOE plans to fund the center at Carnegie Geophysical Institution at a level of $3 million a year for five years.

Jefferson Lab’s unique Free-Electron Laser will be used by researchers as they study the behavior of materials relevant to novel energy production, and energy storage, distribution and utilization. The collaborators will study metals under extreme environments (nuclear power); superconductivity (power transmission and energy efficient devices); electronic and magnetic materials (energy transfer); hydrogen and hydrogen-bearing materials (energy storage); and nanophase, composite, and geological materials (novel materials). 

A total of 46 research projects were selected by DOE’s Office of Science to become Energy Frontier Research Centers. The 46 EFRCs were selected from a pool of 260 applications. The centers will be established at universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations and private firms across the nation.

The centers are supported, in part, by funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It is expected that the EFRCs will bring together groups of leading scientists to address fundamental issues in fields ranging from solar energy and electricity storage to materials sciences, biofuels, advanced nuclear systems, and carbon capture and sequestration.

Jefferson Lab is a world-leading nuclear physics research laboratory devoted to the study of the building blocks of matter – quarks and gluons. It is one of 17 Department of Energy national laboratories, and is managed and operated by Jefferson Science Associates, LLC for the DOE’s Office of Science.

The lab’s free-electron laser is the world’s most powerful, tunable free-electron laser. It uses the same superconducting radiofrequency technology that the lab uses to conduct its nuclear physics research.