Skip to main content

Activated Materials Laboratory

AML will assist the nuclear community in examining radioactive samples at the High-Energy X-ray Microscope (HEXM) and other beamlines at the Advanced Photon Source.

The Activated Materials Laboratory (AML) is a new radiological facility located at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), adjacent to the high-energy x-ray microscopy (HEXM) beamline in the long beamline building (LBB) constructed under the APS-upgrade (APS-U) project. The design, construction and operation of the AML is funded by the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF).

The AML was developed to facilitate the safe conduct of experiments on activated materials at the APS. It provides improved sample accessibility and flexible operation, minimizes the cycle time between samples, enhances scientific productivity, and enables the expansion of in situ testing capabilities. The AML consists of a dedicated lab space meeting Argonne’s ALARA requirement, and a number of scientific instruments (expanding) dedicated for nuclear materials research. 

AML at a Glance

  • A radiological facility providing encapsulated radioactive samples for characterization at the APS beamlines
  • Handling nuclear materials and fuels in solid form, dose rate < 100 mrem at 30 cm distance
  • Two fume hoods and two gloveboxes
  • Lead-lined storage cabinet
  • Receiving/shipping samples
  • (Dis)assembling sample holder/containment
  • Testing/maintaining in-situ equipment 

The in-situ Radiated Materials (iRadMat) Module [1]

  • Held by a mobile cart when not in use
  • Tungsten- and molybdenum-lined stainless steel chamber
  • High temperature (up to 1200°C) vacuum (1×10-5 Torr level) furnace
  • X-ray/optical windows on four sides
  • Designed as an insert to the MTS model 858 load frame 
  • In-grip rotation-tension mechanism

[1] X. Zhang, et al. Review of Scientific Instruments, 88 (2017) 015111

The Compact Load Frame

  • Psylotech µTS micro test system with customized features
  • Tension, compression, fatigue tests compatible
  • Can be placed on translation and rotation stages at the beamline for 3D measurement
  • Maximum load of 5 kN
  • Room temperature, air tests only
  • Customized grips for radioactive samples

Sample Encapsulation

  • Various double-encapsulation designs approved by the APS Radioactive Sample Safety Review Committee (RSSRC)
  • Design concepts available for room temperature tests, high temperature tests, in-situ experiments, and ex-situ experiments


The Robotic Arm

  • Universal Robots UR5 model
  • Compact table-top machine that weighs 11 kg
  • Maximum payload of 5 kg
  • Maximum reach of 850 mm
  • 360-degree rotation on all wrist joints