Doors open at new DOE energy research facility

Doors are now open at the Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB), a new world-class research facility at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory where scientists will work to drive breakthrough solutions to the nation's energy challenges.

Scientists at the ISB will engineer and optimize materials with the goal of developing breakthrough technologies for energy storage batteries, biofuels and solar panels.

"Energy innovation plays a direct role in the continued prosperity and security of the United States, and the ISB is at the forefront of the Department of Energy's investment in a vibrant future," said DOE Office of Science Director Bill Brinkman. "The research done here will have long-lasting and far-reaching impacts."

"I don't think there's a more important problem in the world right now, both near- and long-term, than energy," said New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. "There is no simple solution, however I am positive about this: The men and women working in this new interdisciplinary space will help create the technologies that will power us into the future."

This humidity-controlled dry room is where researchers will safely assemble and test new lithium-ion batteries in the new Interdisciplinary Science Building.

This new hub for energy research at Brookhaven Lab will provide customized laboratories for multidisciplinary research teams at the ISB working to tackle America's most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Specifically, scientists at the ISB will engineer and optimize materials with the goal of developing breakthrough technologies for batteries, biofuels, and solar panels.

The ISB is an 87,700-square-foot facility, where researchers with different scientific specialties will team up to take on significant energy challenges. The building contains offices, 60 standard laboratories, and four specialty labs with unique features, including a humidity-controlled dry room, where researchers can safely assemble and test new lithium-ion batteries; two ultra-low vibration laboratories housing the new Spectroscopic Imaging Scanning Tunneling Microscope (SI-STM) used to explore materials' electronic structure at the atomic scale; and the OASIS laboratory, which connects a lab customized for molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)a process researchers use to fabricate new materials one atomic layer at a timewith one of the ultra-low vibration labs via a vacuum-locked system. This system allows scientists to transport MBE-created samples directly to the SI-STM microscope without exposing them to air, which can diminish sought-after properties.

The building also contains conference spaces and areas designed to foster collaboration among scientists. The ISB is located within walking distance of several other major Lab research facilities that will help advance work and foster collaboration, including the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and NSLS-II, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2014.

The total cost for the project was $66.8 million, most of which was provided by the DOE Office of Science. The lab also received about $18 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate construction in April 2009.

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