NSLS-II Receives ENR “Best of the Best” Award

A new, cutting-edge facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) that is illuminating the path to scientific discovery has been awarded a “Best of the Best” Award from Engineering News-Record in the Higher Education/Research category. Designed by HDR, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a third-generation synchrotron light source facility, is the newest and most advanced synchrotron facility in the world. It is located in Upton, New York.

As a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility, NSLS-II offers researchers from academia, private industry, and national laboratories unique tools and techniques to study material properties. Using super-intense synchrotron light, scientists explore details at the micro and nano levels and watch, in real time, chemical and electronic processes that take place at the atomic scale. More than 4,000 researchers use the facility annually, studying biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials science, medicine and physics.

NSLS-II will benefit the U.S. economy and improve quality of life by providing state-of-the-art capabilities for x-ray imaging and high-resolution energy analysis. Work at NSLS-II will build on a foundation of important scientific discoveries that will enhance national security, advance modern medicine and produce abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies.

The facility is nearly a half-mile in circumference—large enough to encircle Yankee Stadium.

“In order to create such a large, world-leading scientific facility, many design challenges had to be overcome,” noted Martin Fallier, Brookhaven division director of photo sciences. “Among these challenges were the very precise geometry required to house the accelerator systems, the unique structural features to achieve vibrational stability and meet shielding requirements, the grouping of lab and office facilities to optimize scientific productivity, the need for an expansive, economical, efficient yet attractive building envelope and finally, the need to have all these features work in harmony while achieving and exceeding sustainability goals.”

Ahmad Soueid, senior vice president and project principal, explained that the building’s unique shape was conceived by studying the geometry of the ‘machine’ and developing a structural grid with column lines angled at three degrees apart. “This mirrors the angle of the accelerator beamline as it bends, while passing the various magnets in the storage tunnel. The geometry of the conventional facilities mirrors that of the accelerator.”

The project’s ring structure, as well as lab and office buildings, achieved LEED Gold certification. The site includes 30 acres of open green space, and cooling towers reduce central-plant cooling energy consumption by about 1.2 megawatts annually.