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Press Release | Argonne National Laboratory

World’s X-ray facilities team up to battle COVID-19

Leaders from the world’s best X-ray facilities, including Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, have developed a strategy for cooperatively combating COVID-19.

The best and brightest X-ray science facilities in the world are working together to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Numbered among them is the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory.

In April, leadership of the world’s X-ray science facilities, including APS Director Stephen Streiffer, convened for a virtual summit. Below is the action plan developed at this summit, outlining how these facilities will work together to share information about COVID-19. The APS continues to welcome research groups working to learn more about the virus that causes COVID-19 and lay the groundwork for treatments and vaccines.

COVID-19 affects all of us, and I’m proud to be working with our international colleagues as we pool our resources to combat this pandemic,” Streiffer said.

Read more on Argonne’s work to fight the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic is, more than ever, uniting scientists and the X-ray Science Facilities worldwide, in their sorrow for the loss of life and the suffering the virus has caused for the people around the world. They also express heartfelt admiration and lasting gratitude to all front-line health workers for their tireless dedication to treating the people impacted by the pandemic.

The international network of X-ray Science Facilities, composed of the X-ray Synchrotron Radiation and X-ray Free Electron Laser Facilities, is deeply engaged with overcoming the pandemic. The X-ray Science Facilities’ role is to create and implement scientific and technological research activities to effectively study, understand and contribute solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, including new drugs, therapeutic strategies and medical equipment developments.

This engagement has already started worldwide, and many X-ray Science Facilities are carrying out research focused on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and making available their instruments with rapid access and remote channels to scientists desiring to address specific COVID-19 research topics.

The X-ray Science Facilities gathered to align intents and strategies on development of alliances between universities, industry and facilitiesat their first SR9 Summit, which was held in Sendai, Japan in April 2019.

The X-ray Science Facilities, with the intent to further coordinate and strengthen their support of scientific research and solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, assembled for a remote access video SR20 Summit April 23-24. They shared their experience on facility activities in the recent weeks, and decided to develop a cooperative strategy across all facilities worldwide to work jointly to overcome the pandemic.

The X-ray Science Facilities adopted the following action plan:

  1. Share information and contribute to the coordination of efforts across all X-ray Science Facilities on scientific research addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Explore the establishment of a worldwide X-ray Science Facilities network including university and industrial users for a comprehensive mobilization of facilities
  3. Study the development of a shared IT system to accelerate the process of information distribution, favor global cooperation among facilities and enable the most rapid and effective access for scientific projects across facilities
  4. Exchange experience on remote access and sample mail-in procedures by the user community to maintain and strengthen experimental activities without user travel
  5. Coordinate efforts of the X-ray Science Facilities with those of other analytical facilities as, for example, those using neutrons, cryo-electron-microscopy, lasers and nuclear magnetic resonance


Prof. Dr. Hideo Ohno, President, TOHOKU University

Dr. Chi-Chang Kao, Director, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Prof. Paul McIntyre, Director, SSRL

Prof. Michael Dunne, Director, LCLS

Dr. Stephen Streiffer, Director, Advanced Photon Source

Dr. Stephen Kevan, Director, Advanced Light Source

Dr. John Hill, Director, NSLS-Il

Prof. Joel Brock, Director, CHESS

Prof. Andrew Peele, Director, ANSTO Australian Synchrotron

Dr. Gwo-Hui Luo, Director, NSRRC

Dr. Tetsuya Tshikawa, Director, RIKEN SPring-8 Center

Dr. Tn Soo Ko, Director, Pohang Accelerator Laboratory

Dr. Francesco Sette, Director General, ESRF

Prof. Edgar Weckert, Research Director, DESY

Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, Managing Director, European XFEL

Dr. Jean Daillant, Director, Soleil Laboratory

Dr. Andrew Harrison, CEO, Diamond Light Source Limited

Dr. Caterina Biscari, Director, ALBA

Prof. Gabriel Aeppli, Head Photon Science Division, Paul Scherrer Institut, ETH and EPFL

Dr. Ian McNulty, Director, Max IV

Prof. Jan Lüning, Scientific Director, BESSY II, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

Dr. Claudio Masciovecchio, Director FERMI Free Electron Laser

About the Advanced Photon Source

The U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most productive X-ray light source facilities. The APS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, condensed matter physics, the life and environmental sciences, and applied research. These X-rays are ideally suited for explorations of materials and biological structures; elemental distribution; chemical, magnetic, electronic states; and a wide range of technologically important engineering systems from batteries to fuel injector sprays, all of which are the foundations of our nation’s economic, technological, and physical well-being. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use the APS to produce over 2,000 publications detailing impactful discoveries, and solve more vital biological protein structures than users of any other X-ray light source research facility. APS scientists and engineers innovate technology that is at the heart of advancing accelerator and light-source operations. This includes the insertion devices that produce extreme-brightness X-rays prized by researchers, lenses that focus the X-rays down to a few nanometers, instrumentation that maximizes the way the X-rays interact with samples being studied, and software that gathers and manages the massive quantity of data resulting from discovery research at the APS.

This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.