Office of Science User Facilities

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science provides the nation’s researchers with state-of-the-art scientific user facilities—the large machines of modern science. Many of these facilities extend the frontiers of measurement science, allowing researchers to probe the subatomic, atomic, molecular, and biological worlds and to understand the correlations between structure and function in each of these size regimes—from the subatomic world to entire biological systems. Other facilities extend the frontiers of computation and simulation, allowing researchers to perform experiments that would be impossible to replicate in the laboratory. Still other facilities provide researchers with the opportunity to build nanosystems from the bottom up. These openly accessible scientific user facilities offer capabilities unmatched anywhere in the world, enabling the U.S. to remain at the forefront of science, technology, and innovation.

They include the world’s forefront neutron scattering facility and the world’s best suite of synchrotron light sources for probing the structure and function of materials; electron and proton accelerators and colliders for probing matter on scales from the subatomic to the macroscopic; and the world’s largest and fastest computational resources devoted to the most challenging societal problems of our time. These facilities also include technologically advanced, large-scale field sites for investigating the effects of clouds on atmospheric radiation; comprehensively equipped nanoscience and molecular science centers; facilities for rapid genome sequencing and integrated environmental molecular sciences; and facilities for investigating the plasma state and its properties for stable fusion systems.

Over 28,000 researchers from universities, national laboratories, industry, and international partners use the Office of Science scientific user facilities annually. Open access to the scientific user facilities, located at DOE national laboratories and universities, is provided on a proposal basis and applicants to the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program are encouraged to consider how use of these facilities may advance their graduate research in their SCGSR research proposal.

Obtaining access to the scientific user facilities occurs through a separate application process conducted by the facilities themselves and outside of the SCGSR Program. Applicants interested in accessing a user facility as part of their SCGSR research proposal should contact the facility in advance to understand their application process and consult their collaborating DOE laboratory scientist about incorporating facility use into the research proposal.

View more information about the Office of Science’s suite of scientific user facilities and links to the individual facility websites.