Stimulus Funds Help Cornell’s Synchrotron Research and Energy Recovery Linac Stay the Course

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The National Science Foundation is continuing its support of Cornell's world-renowned synchrotron X-ray research facility, thanks in part to federal stimulus funding. Nearly $19 million allocated this year through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will support research at Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory, including the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) and ongoing efforts to plan and build a new x-ray source based on a technology called an Energy Recovery Linac (ERL).

Without the funding for the current year, work on these activities could not have continued. Ultimately, these federal funds have helped preserve somewhere between 150 and 200 jobs.

The National Science Foundation is continuing its support of Cornell's world-renowned synchrotron X-ray research facility, thanks in part to federal stimulus funding.

Nearly $19 million allocated this year through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will support research at Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory, including the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS), the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) and ongoing efforts to plan and build a new x-ray source based on a technology called an Energy Recovery Linac (ERL).

"The National Science Foundation has been very supportive, and part of what has made continuing our work possible was federal stimulus money," said Sol Gruner, CHESS director and Cornell professor of physics. "Without the funding for the current year, work on these activities could not have continued. Ultimately, these federal funds have helped preserve somewhere between 150 and 200 jobs."

About $5.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding will go to research and development for the ERL from February 2009 to March 2010. Cornell scientists working on the $400 million project hope to complete a conceptual design proposal for the full ERL in 2010. A key component of the new accelerator, a prototype electron beam injector, has been operating since July 2008.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding also includes $7.2 million for CHESS, the synchrotron X-ray facility that attracts users from all over the world, and $6.5 million to support CESR, Cornell's electron-positron storage ring that provides the X-rays for CHESS.

Those funds are part of National Science Foundation's renewal of the CHESS and CESR grants that are typically awarded every five years. Cornell officials are hopeful that the facilities will be fully renewed through 2014.

So far, Cornell has received more than 90 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants, totaling about $76 million.

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Blaine Friedlander

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