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Lehigh announces National Synchrotron Light Source II (Brookhaven National Lab) collaboration

Cutting-edge materials and biomedical research facility explores broad-based interaction with new Lehigh University interdisciplinary research institute

Lehigh University

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IMAGE: Dr. Juergen Thieme, Science Coordinator for the Imaging and Microscopy Program in the Photon Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory, addresses Lehigh University faculty, professional, postdoctoral, and student researchers about BNL's... view more 

Credit: Mary Anne Lynch, Lehigh University

On the heels of a first-of-its-kind 'team-forming' workshop between Lehigh University and the National Synchrotron Light Source program (NSLS-II), the University today unveiled a plan for long term collaboration in pursuit of joint initiatives between the two institutions.

The announcement is part of the University's broader, $150 million effort to launch Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRIs) that coordinate and catalyze crucial research endeavors where Lehigh's research community can make lasting contributions in key areas of societal interest.

Last week, one of these new IRIs--the Institute for Functional Materials and Devices (I-FMD)--hosted a workshop to kick off its relationship with NSLS-II, a key national resource within the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), a multipurpose research institution funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

"Lehigh's new IRIs are designed to foster and enhance collaboration among researchers at Lehigh and our colleagues from academia, government labs, and industry concerns that address similar issues," says Himanshu Jain, Lehigh's Diamond Distinguished Chair and Professor of Materials Science and I-FMD director. "We're proud to have presented our colleagues at NSLS-II to Lehigh researchers in a one-day workshop to nucleate a partnership that serves as a model for promoting and enhancing collaboration between university communities and national laboratories."

NSLS-II is the most advanced synchrotron in the world, enabling the study of material properties and functions with nanoscale resolution and exquisite sensitivity through X-ray imaging and high-resolution energy analysis. Such synchrotron-based techniques provide among the most advanced, sometimes unique, tools for basic and applied physical, chemical and biological characterization of hard and soft materials and devices.

During the workshop's morning session, a panel of NSLS-II scientists presented to more than 60 Lehigh faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. Leading beamline scientists introduced the capabilities of NSLS-II, along with illustrative examples of physical, chemical and biological experiments feasible there. Presentations by select Lehigh research teams provided user perspective on synchrotron-supported research and led to a dynamic conversation about enhancing collaboration among research universities and national laboratories in general.

Later in the afternoon, focused project teams got down to business, formulating plans for joint proposals and follow-on interaction, including a group 'field trip' to the Long Island, New York research facility in the near future.

"We intended this workshop to be the starting point for a closer interaction of Lehigh and our facility NSLS-II at Brookhaven," said Juergen Thieme, Science Coordinator for the Imaging and Microscopy Program in the Photon Division at Brookhaven. "The response to our presentations and the excitement in the one-on-one discussions about possible experiments showed us that there is great potential for NSLS-II being able to contribute crucially to the research performed at Lehigh. I am really looking forward to a closer collaboration between our two institutions."

According to Jain, I-FMD researchers are eager to return the favor.

"Some of the NSLS-II beamlines, which produce x-rays up to 10,000 times brighter than the previous generation, are still under development," he says. "Thus, there is an opportunity for our Institute to not only enhance the outcome of our own projects, but also to engage with our colleagues at Brookhaven to help shape our community's research tools."

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For more about I-FMD or any of Lehigh's new Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, visit http://www.lehigh.edu/iri. For more about NSLS-II, visit https://www.bnl.gov/ps/.

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