This award will provide operational support for GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS), a national multi-user facility for frontier research in the earth sciences using synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory. GSECARS provides earth scientists with access to the high-brilliance hard x-rays from this third-generation synchrotron light source. All principal synchrotron-based analytical techniques in demand by earth scientists are being brought to bear on earth science problems: (1) high-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and spectroscopy using the diamond anvil cell; (2) high-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and imaging using the large-volume press; (3) powder, single crystal and interface diffraction; (4) inelastic x-ray scattering; (5) x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy; (6) x-ray fluorescence microprobe analysis; and (7) microtomography. Research at GSECARS has resulted in over 800 publications in the APS database (360 since 2006), including PhD and Masters theses.
The research conducted at GSECARS will continue to advance our knowledge of the composition, structure and properties of earth materials, the processes that produce them and the processes they control. The unique capabilities of the APS and GSECARS will continue to allow groundbreaking experiments to be conducted in research areas relevant to the NSF-Earth Sciences program including (1) high pressure mineral physics and chemistry, (2) non-crystalline and nano-crystalline materials at high pressure, (3) igneous petrology, (4) hydrothermal fluid chemistry, (5) mineral-water interface reactions, (6) biogeochemistry, (7) flow dynamics of fluids and solids, and (8) cosmochemical studies of extraterrestrial materials.
The research enabled by the GSECARS facility has broad impacts for society because it addresses quality-of-life issues such as carbon sequestration, environmental remediation, properties of nano-materials, and earthquake generation. The primary mission of GSECARS is to continue to provide a research environment where users receive expert assistance in planning and conducting experiments and in analyzing data. This collaborative mode of operation, which allows the facility to be accessible to students and synchrotron radiation novices, relies on our staff of highly qualified beamline scientists and technical personnel. GSECARS develops advanced hardware and software that benefits many accelerator facilities worldwide. GSECARS is the world's foremost synchrotron-based facility dedicated to serving the needs of the earth sciences community.