GeoSoilEnviroCARS, The University of Chicago The University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture Environmental Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Welcome to X26A
Information For Users

Beamline Information
Contact Information
Configuration Info
Beamline Status
Software Manual
Software Downloads
Recent News

Beamtime Schedules
APS Sector 13

X26A Science
Science Highlights
Required Acknowledgement

External Links
NSLS WebSite
BNL WebSite
BNL Visitor's Guide
There are a number of issues that must be addressed before your arrival at the beamline for your experiment. This is basically a small checklist to make sure you're aware of them all. If these issues are not taken care of promptly when you first are assigned your beamtime you may not be allowed to run when you arrive!! These are NSLS and DOE requirements and the best thing is to look at the NSLS Guidence for New Users and for Returning Users. Much more eloquent (and concise) than I could write.

How do I get Beamtime?:
So you want to come to X26A and do an experiment. Fantastic! X26A is operated as a User Facility within a User Facility.The CARS mission is to operate National Synchrotron Resources available to the scientific community as National Facilities. While only 25% of the available beamtime is made available to the "General User" community, we do make the remaining 75% available generally to researchers whose science falls under the topics we are funded to support.

As is true for about two thirds of the beamlines at the NSLS, X26A is operated by a Participating Research Team or PRT. Team members cooperate in the design, funding, fabrication, operation, and utilization of a specific beamline and in exchange are allowed to allocate 75% of the beamtime available on behalf of the team and their collaborators. For us, that's the key point to bear in accessing PRT time there is an assumption that we are collaborating with you on your project. The PRT members for X26A are the University of Chicago's Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS), The University of Kentucky's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and Brookhaven Lab's Department of Environmental Sciences (ELS). The General User Program (25% of the beamtime on X26A) is a peer-reviewed proposal system for administering the beam time that is not allocated to the PRTs for their exclusive use.

To apply for General User access on X26A go to the NSLS Website to get information on how to become a general user (and yes, it's free). Be forewarned that X26A is highly subscribed and competition for access can be fierce, particularly for short cycles. All proposals for General User access go through the NSLS PASS system. You can also inquire with us to see if collaborative access to the PRT beamtime allocation is available. To do this contact us directly and if we agree that your project fits in with our research emphasis in the earth and environmental sciences, then we may agree to give you access to PRT time as a collaborator.

OK You Have Beam Time! What You Need to Do Now:
OK, as always, it's most helpful if you can let us know ahead of time what your run requirements are. More specifically what energy range are you interested in working at (any white beam runs must be OK'd with me well before your arrival), do you require any special analytical resources (for example if youíll require wet lab space), will you be bringing additional equipment, etc.? If you're not sure please ask. If I don't know these things beforehand you'll lose more time in initial setup than you would otherwise. Also please (PLEASE) remember that there are a number of issues that must be arranged by YOU before your arrival, some of these are described in the "Information for Users" section and include Experimental Safety Approval Forms, Foreign National's Approval, Gate Access, Radiation Safety Training upon your arrival, and on site housing. 

As usual, unless otherwise noted on our web page (for example if your run begins at noon it will say so on our schedule) assume we'll begin your run (including set-up time unless other arrangements are made) at 9am. Also assume that you can run until the 7am fill the next morning. This is true unless it says otherwise on the webpage.  For example if your run ends at noon it will say so on our schedule, i.e. after your name it may say 'Studies (noon)'. All your equipment must be gone by 9am that morning if there is another user scheduled. If there's any confusion about this let me know.

Safety Approval Forms:
Before your experiment begins it is required that you have a current and active safety approval form (SAF). It is YOUR responsibility to do this and YOUR responsibility to ensure it has been approved by the NSLS Safety Coordinator before your experiment is scheduled to begin. I can't emphasize enough how important this is and that you not leave this until the last moment. If you're submitting a new General User Proposal, then submission of a new SAF is included as part of that process in PASS. Those with pre-existing proposals or PRT collaborators must also submit SAF's though PASS, but only the safety information is required.

In order for you to have access to beam your SAF must specifically describe the experiment you will be doing for the beamtime scheduled. This must include all current samples, hazards, chemicals, equipment you will be bringing, and list whom will be here to do the experiment. It must not be expired (please check beforehand, they expire after only one year). If you leave this until the last minute I'll almost guarantee you will not get approval. Experiments involving radioactive materials, human bodily materials, and biohazards need additional time to clear, so these should be submitted even earlier. Handling and shipping of radioactive materials must be coordinated through the Safety staff and shipped to Safeguards and Security (631-344-5233). DO NOT ship these directly to the NSLS. Analysis of human bodily materials typically requires an Institutional Review Board (IRB) exemption (contact Darcy Mallon, IRB/RDRC Secretary at ext. 3362).

I do try to check the SAF database when I schedule you for beamtime and try to let you know when your SAF is about to expire. But often this proves to be impractical due to scheduling constraints. Again, the most important point in insuring that you will not be delayed (or even worse turned away) is to take it upon yourselves to verify that your SAF is current and valid. Assume it will take at least 2 weeks to get your SAF approved, so it's best to apply for a new SAF as soon as possible.

BNL Gate Security and Foreign Nationals:
BNL has stringent policies about access to the lab in order to comply with DOE regulations. There are particular issues with access to the site for those of you that are foreign nationals. Please be aware that current BNL policy requires that new visitors and visitors with expired badges register for gate access at least 7 days before your arrival at BNL. All the necessary information can be viewed and accessed at BNL's Guest Portal Website. Make sure you fill out the forms and bring proper documentation with you. Foreign Nationals that wish to come on site at BNL are required to receive approval for their visit prior to arrival. For citizens from non-sensitive countries this typically takes 30 days, however Iíd recommend that citizens from "sensitive" nations should submit their forms at least 90 days in advance. Please note that this includes US residents of foreign nationality. Users who canít meet this deadline should contact the Users' Center during normal office hours at (631) 344-3333 at least two days prior to arrival at BNL.

NSLS User Training:
If you will be using an NSLS beamline in an experiment, then you will need training. Aaahh, it's the way of the world. But luckily the NSLS and BNL online training system is pretty straight-forward and simple to use. Most of the training you need you should be able to do on-line prior to your arrival. This can all be accesed from the NSLS Training Website. They'll have links there to the training modules you'll need and links to see your training status.

General User Program:
I find it useful to go over some specific issues related to General User access. Often there is some confusion about how the program works, deadlines, etc. General Users are scientists interested in using existing NSLS facilities for experimental programs. At X26A, 25% of our beamtime is dedicated to General User experiments. This beamtime is allocated through a peer-reviewed proposal system. Proposals are rated by the Proposal Study Panels (PSP) three times a year. All General User beamline and beam time allocations for X26A are made by the NSLS Allocation Panel (AP).

    Proposals are submitted through the on-line "Proposal Allocation Safety and Scheduling" system or PASS. Proposals are generally active for a two-year period and beam time may be requested in each of the six cycles within that two-year period. Please note, however, that the submission of a proposal is not an automatic request for beam time. The user will receive written notification of receipt of the proposal. After the initial proposal is submitted, beam time requests must be submitted in each subsequent cycle. LET ME REPEAT THAT! After the initial proposal is submitted, beam time requests must be submitted in each subsequent cycle. That means that you WILL NOT automatically receive beam time in upcoming cycles unless YOU REQUEST IT. This happens all the time and if you donít put in the request thereís not much I can do. We typically turn general users away because of the high demand for beamtime at X26A, so if you donít put in the request itís unlikely weíll have spare time for you. OK? So hereís the deadlines for beamtime requests:


September 30

January 31

May 31


January - April

May - August

September - December

Where to Stay, Where to Eat, How to Get Here, etc., etc:
All this information is accessible at BNL's Visitors Guide.

What do I do when I Get There?:
First thing you'll need to do is get to the Guest User Visitors (GUV) bcenter in building 400 (the guard at the gate will give you directions if you haven't been here before) if you're a first time visitor or if your badge has expired. The staff at the GUV center will confirm your information, take your photo, and issue you a badge that will give you access to the experimental floor. They'll also verify that your training is complete or give you training there if needed. Your training allows you to do work on the experimental floor. Returning users with valid badges and training can go directly to the beamline. Radiation badges (thermoluminescent dosimiters or TLD's) are no longer issued to users, but you can request one at User Administration if you feel you'd like to have one or have a declared pregnancy.

The NSLS is, more or less, just a big circle and the beamlines are numbered sequentially. Whichever enterence you use to access the experimental floor, you can walk around until you see the X26A hutch. If you're timid or lost find a phone and call us at the beamline (5626) and we will come and get you. Once you're at the beamline we will verify your beamline specific training (BLOSA) or train you if required. Current BLOSA training is required before you'll be allowed to run your experiment.

NSLS End of Run Form:
The NSLS is a national Department of Energy (DOE) user facility and, as part of an annual DOE reporting process, the NSLS and other DOE facilities are required to ask users to take part in a user satisfaction survey.  So the NSLS asks all users complete a survey after completion of each experiment. The forms can be found online on the End-of-Run webpage . You don't have to include your name, but they'll ask for your email address so they can contact you for clarification.

Computer Access when you Arrive:
We have the capability for you to set up your laptops at the beamline with internet access via DHCP at the laboratory. For offsite access while here you'll need to set your internet proxy correctly. Instructions can be found at the following hyperlinkfor ITD. You'll also be asked to register your laptop on the network.

Acknowledgment Paragraph:
All publications that include work done either in whole or in part at X26A must acknowledge both the NSLS funding sources and those of the beamline. In general, the following paragraph should do the trick. Also please send a reprint of the published paper to us at the beamline for our records:

[Portions of this work were]/[This work was] performed at Beamline X26A, National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Brookhaven National Laboratory. X26A is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) - Geosciences (DE-FG02-92ER14244 to The University of Chicago - CARS). Use of the NSLS was supported by DOE under Contract No. DE-AC02-98CH10886.

Beamline X26A receives support the following organizations:

Basic Energy Sciences Geosciences Research Program NSF Division of Earth Sciences

NASA Space Sciences