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Prospective Users Print

The Advanced Light Source (ALS) welcomes researchers from universities, government labs, and industry who are interested in performing experiments at the general sciences and structural biology beamlines open to users. An overview of user opportunities, and the procedures to become a user, are outlined below:


What is an ALS User?

The ALS is a third generation synchrotron light source, providing over 35 beamlines, where samples may be illuminated with x-ray, ultraviolet or infrared light to explore the structure and electronic properties of materials. The ALS operates as a national user facility, and is open to researchers worldwide to submit proposals for research.

An ALS user is a researcher who has been granted access to use the facilities provided. Many users travel to the synchrotron with their samples to carry out their experiments, but a growing number send their samples to ALS staff and then either operate a beamline remotely to collect their data, or arrange for staff to collect the data for them.


Research Facilities Available to Users

Before submitting a General User Proposal, it is recommended that the interested research group determines the best facility for their planned experiment. We provide a number of tools and contacts to help you:

  • Review the ALS Beamlines Directory to learn about research capabilities of the ALS.
  • Inquire about individual beamlines by contacting the beamline scientist or local contact listed in the individual ALS Beamlines Directory .
  • Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or the  User Office for general information about beamlines available to General Users


Costs to Users

Nonproprietary Research

The ALS does not charge for beam time if the user's research is nonproprietary, i.e., the results are published in the open literature. All users are responsible for the day-to-day costs of research (supplies, phone calls, technical support, etc.).

Proprietary Research
Users performing proprietary research pay a fee based on cost recovery for ALS usage. The user may then take title to any inventions made during the proprietary research program, and treat as proprietary all technical data generated during the program. Proprietary research is not intended for the open literature. For additional information about proprietary research, contact the ALS User Services Group Leader.


Users from Industry

Users from industrial companies are welcome to do both nonproprietary and proprietary research at the ALS. Proposals for non-proprietary industrial research should be submitted in the same way as all other proposals and will be reviewed and allocated beam time by the same mechanism.

We recognize that a different mechanism may be required for proprietary research where the scientific goal and sufficient details of the work will not be made available to enable the proposal reviewers to fairly score the proposal. Access to the facility for proprietary work is thus made by special arrangement. Please contact the beamline scientist (see the ALS Beamlines Directory), the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Read stories about Industry at the ALS.


User Policy

The ALS User Policy provides an overview of current practices and procedures for current and potential users so that they can propose and perform experiments at the ALS  with all the technical, experiment, and administrative support they require for successful and efficient use of beam time. The kinds of access for users, i.e., General Users, Approved Programs, and Participating Research Teams, are described.