2023 Impact Report
California's Federal Labs & Research Centers
Six federal laboratories and science centers have formal partnerships with CCST. The following reports offer a glimpse of the resources and expertise that each lab can offer to California’s decision makers, including examples of ongoing collaborations with universities, businesses, and agencies, and where federal research has been successfully translated into policy advice or industry solutions.
• NASA's Ames Research Center
• NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
• Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
• Sandia National Laboratories-California
• SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
0PhD Scientists & Engineers
$0Billion to CA Businesses
$0Million to Small Businesses
NASA's Ames Research Center
NASA’S PORTAL TO SILICON VALLEY
NASA’s Ames Research Center applies the spirit of Silicon Valley to NASA’s mission, and there's a little bit of Ames in every launch and flight. The numerous one-of-a-kind facilities here and interconnected areas of expertise are vital elements of the nation’s strategy for exploration.
Ames combines biology and space technology with two driving aims: detecting life off of our planet and understanding how Earth life is different in space, so healthy humans can explore from the Moon to Mars. Closer to home, Ames leads the national research initiative to devise the best ways for commercial drones, flying cars and aircraft to safely share America’s skies.
NASA in Silicon Valley contributes to the nation’s technical prowess as only a government research organization can: when research matures to a place where others can do it, they seek out partners. NASA Ames serves as an active portal bringing together specialized NASA R&D along with a research cluster of affiliated high-tech companies, universities, and other federal laboratories. To advance both NASA’s mission and the American economy, Ames shares its knowledge… and moves on to the next unknown.
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$0Million to CA Businesses (2022)
0Companies (Since 1997)
Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 80 years ago, NASA’s Ames Research Center has shaped the region with its passion for knowledge and technology. Today, by bridging public and private partnerships to capitalize on the innovation and entrepreneurship resident here, Ames is helping NASA take essential steps forward to the Moon – through Silicon Valley. In parallel, the Ames presence in this important region offers California easy access to NASA technologies, facilities, and expertise. Ames and its partners provide California with the opportunity to quickly connect to a wide range of potential solutions to challenging regional concerns.
Many NASA-developed technologies and discoveries have practical applications and significant future commercial value through the creation of new industries, products, services, and jobs (e.g., small, inexpensive satellites). NASA Ames is deeply committed to collaborations, both public and private. In fiscal year 2022, the NASA Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs provided more than $31 million in Phase I and Phase II awards to California firms, and an additional $19 million in Post Phase II investments through Phase II-Extended, Sequential Phase II, and Civilian Commercialization Readiness Program awards to assist the firms in bridging the “valley of death” to bring their technologies to the marketplace.
NASA Ames’ service to both the state and region includes:
- Being a trusted source of subject matter experts.
- Unique aerospace and earth science technologies.
- Advanced modeling and simulation capabilities.
- Testing facilities and intellectual property, which support collaborations that lead to regional economic development.
- Core competencies in air traffic management, entry systems, advanced computing and IT systems, intelligent/adaptive systems, cost-effective space missions, aero-sciences, astrobiology and life sciences, and space and earth sciences.
NASA Ames develops groundbreaking technologies for NASA missions, while seeking to promote collaboration with U.S. industry. NASA Ames has partnered with the California Department of Water Resources, the California Department of Parks, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Such collaborations offer breakthroughs each year for the benefit of the American public. NASA Ames continues to expand partnerships that can leverage taxpayer-funded NASA research and technology for the benefit of the State of California and the country.
The Mars 2020 Rover was one of the most highly anticipated robotic missions in NASA’s history. Specialized ultraviolet lasers developed by Photon Systems of Covina, California, under the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, will help the Mars Rover trace miniscule amounts of chemicals such as amino acids — the building blocks of life. Back here on earth, Photon Systems is working with both Pfizer and DuPont to repurpose this technology for quality control checks of manufacturing equipment, and to look for trace amounts of contaminants in manufactured pills and food products. Commercial revenue stemming from this SBIR-funded technology has exceeded $8 million.
While most people equate NASA with space exploration, the agency helps set standards across the general aviation industry and influences how Americans fly every day. Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. of San Luis Obispo, California, received SBIR awards to increase efficiency in commercial aircrafts, resulting in lower fuel costs and fewer harmful emissions. The work has led to follow-on NASA contracts, subcontracts with the Department of Defense, and increased collaboration with many of the nation’s top companies.
“Traffic Jam at 400 feet – NASA and the FAA are working to revolutionize air traffic control for the drone era.” – Bloomberg, July 21, 2022
“The Capstone Launch Will Kick Off NASA’s Artemis Moon Program” – Wired, June 24, 2022
“NASA Needs to Find Ice on the Moon. This Rover Will Lead the Search” – New York Times, June 11, 2020
“NASA Ames is a vital source of innovation in the Silicon Valley region. The scientific breakthroughs developed there are a great boon to all Californians.” — Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto)
“Thanks to the ingenuity of NASA Ames’ research and development, the technology pioneered for exploration of space also has important applications in meeting the challenges we face on Earth. From COVID to climate change, and water treatment to disaster response, NASA Ames offers solutions that can help us battle the emergencies that confront us today and aid us in building resilience for our future.” — Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo)
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena/La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles County
Laurie Leshin, PhD, Director
Cindy Lee, Government Affairs
FROM DEFENSE TO DISCOVERY
NASA JPL’s roots date to the 1930s, when students at Caltech — collectively known as the “Suicide Squad” — gathered to test rocket engines near Pasadena, California.
During the 1940s and 1950s, JPL grew as it developed rockets and other technologies for the U.S. Army. JPL designed, built, and operated America’s first satellite, Explorer 1, launched in 1958. Explorer 1 also delivered the first science finding from space — the discovery of Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts. Later that year, Congress established NASA, and JPL was transferred to the space agency.
Since then, NASA JPL has sent robotic spacecraft to all of the planets in the Solar System, and is responsible for all four rovers that have explored the surface of Mars. In addition, NASA JPL conducts significant programs in earth sciences, space-based astronomy, and technology research and development.
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$0Million to CA Businesses (2017)
$0Million to Small Businesses (2017)
0Patents Registered (Since 2007)
Home to Mars rovers, space telescopes and an array of Earth-orbiting satellites, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is one of NASA’s premier research facilities. Beginning in the 1960s, NASA JPL made news as it created America’s first satellite and sent the first robotic spacecraft to the planets. As of 2017, NASA JPL is responsible for 19 spacecraft and 10 major instruments carrying out active missions. In addition, NASA JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicate with interplanetary spacecraft.
As a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), NASA JPL is staffed and managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This unique relationship creates an intellectual infusion with a university campus whose faculty and alumni have garnered 31 Nobel Prizes, 53 National Medals of Science, and 12 National Medals of Technology.
This Caltech-JPL synergy is boosted by cooperative initiatives, dedicated research seed funding, and joint-faculty appointments. Furthermore NASA JPL’s research is conducted in 1,138 laboratory or technical rooms in 76 buildings on the main campus and extends into space with 29 currently active missions.
Initially developed at NASA JPL, the FDA-approved ArterioVision software is helping doctors diagnose and monitor treatments for hardening of the arteries in its early stages, before it causes heart attacks and strokes. ArterioVision software converts standard ultrasound data of plaque and blood flow within the carotid artery to measure arterial thickness — an early indicator of atherosclerosis. ArterioVision has been licensed by Caltech to Medical Technologies International, Inc. of Palm Desert, California, via NASA JPL’s Innovative Partnership Program.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) named three scientists at NASA JPL as recipients of its Remote Sensing and Drought Science Service award. The award recognizes ongoing assistance provided by researchers who have been working closely with the department on drought or climate science projects. The researchers used remote sensing data to map the ongoing sinking of land in California’s San Joaquin Valley caused by groundwater extraction. The scientists’ work found that some parts of the valley sank more than a foot during the 2014 irrigation season alone. “DWR is pleased to recognize the work that these scientists have performed in developing new methodologies for monitoring land subsidence in response to our multi-year drought,” said then DWR Director Mark Cowin.
NASA JPL’s expertise is of particular potential benefit to California in two broad areas: 1) regional decision support systems based on Earth observations and models, and 2) advanced technology and earth science. Resources include airborne and spaceborne instruments that remotely:
- Measure ground subsidence due to aquifer discharge and recharge or natural events.
- Provide multi-decade observations of sea level rise.
- Measure changes in coastal regions due to erosion and changes in plant health.
- Detect and help quantify greenhouse gas emissions and characterize ozone sources.
- Quantify with high accuracy water stored as snow.
- Assess the health of forest ecosystems for post-fire land management restoration decisions.
- Detect changes and threats to critical infrastructure such as the Bay-Delta levees.
- Provide information on damage extent for emergency response teams following natural disasters.
NASA JPL is advancing technology in the areas of energy systems, robotics, miniaturized sensors, artificial intelligence, autonomy and remote sensing. These advances in natural hazards, climate change and ecosystems science will offer deep insights for California policymakers.
“As NASA’s Cassini Mission Flames Out Over Saturn, Scientists Mark Bittersweet End Of Mission” — Los Angeles Times, Sep. 15, 2017
“NASA’s JPL open-sources an anti-face-touching wearable to help reduce the spread of COVID-19” – Techcrunch, June 25, 2020
“NASA’s Perseverance rover makes safe landing on Mars” – Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2021
“The dedicated scientists at NASA JPL are continuously pushing the boundaries of human discovery, from a mission to Mars to new insights into how Earth’s lands, oceans, and climate are evolving. The discoveries and technologies made there improve the lives of all Californians and make us more resilient when confronting natural disasters and climate change. And, how about the amazing Perseverance and its helicopter!” — Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
A BEACON OVER BERKELEY
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence. Considered the father of multidisciplinary team science, Lawrence was a University of California (UC) Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics and the foundation of today’s Nobel Prize-winning accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider.
Today, Berkeley Lab is managed and operated by the University of California system for the Department of Energy (DOE). Berkeley Lab’s close relationship with UC Berkeley brings the intellectual capital of the university’s faculty, postdocs and students to bear on the nation’s great scientific questions, a partnership that underpins the lab’s extraordinary scientific productivity.
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At the forefront of science, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is committed to nonclassified research. Berkeley Lab scientists search for cleaner, more reliable sources of energy while making innovations in energy efficiency, green building design, and electric grid modernization. They study the Earth to understand why the climate is changing and how that impacts sectors such as agriculture.
The Berkeley Lab also designs, builds, and houses some of the world’s most powerful microscopes, x-ray beams, and supercomputers. Berkeley Lab researchers aim to coax more power from solar cells, build better batteries, and develop clean biofuels for the future. They study questions as awe-inspiring as the formation of the universe, as relevant as water production and desalination, and as important as cybersecurity. They also can provide expertise on oil and gas geosciences, genetic analysis, and chemical and materials sciences.
The Berkeley Lab partners with a number of California agencies — including the California Energy Commission, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, the Department of Water Resources, California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Air Resources Board — to support our state’s ambitious clean energy and environmental goals.
Imagine a window shade with a brain. Researchers at the Molecular Foundry designed a thin coating of nanocrystals, embeddable in glass, that can dynamically modify sunlight as it passes through a window. Unlike existing technologies, the coating provides selective control over visible light and heat producing near infrared (NIR) light, so windows can maximize both energy savings and occupant comfort in a wide range of climates. These smart windows use small jolts of electricity to switch the material between NIR-transmitting and NIR-blocking states, and can independently control blocking of visible versus NIR light. This innovation led to the creation of Heliotrope Technologies based in Alameda, CA.
The DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville is led by the Berkeley Lab. Researchers had discovered a new, environmentally-benign way to manufacture malonic acid, a high-value chemical used in electronics manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and food processing. Until recently, malonic acid production required toxic chemicals such as cyanide. Working with experts at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), the biotech startup Lygos, located in Berkeley, demonstrated the scalability of the new biomanufacturing process at production costs competitive with conventional technologies. To date, JBEI has generated more than 160 patent applications, 90 licenses, and six start-up companies — five of which are located in California.
Berkeley Lab houses many “user facilities” — state-of-the art lasers, instruments, and computers available for industry and university use. In 2022, more than 14,000 researchers (approximately 40 percent from California institutions) accessed these facilities, representing nearly one third of the total for all DOE user facility traffic nationwide. Work conducted at Berkeley Lab user facilities has led to the development of better medicines, new materials, and more efficient solar cells and batteries.
The user facilities at the Berkeley Lab include:
- The Advanced Light Source produces extremely bright x-ray beams for examining the atomic and electronic structure of materials. Applications range from environmental, material science, and biology.
- Molecular Foundry is the DOE’s largest nanoscience center, allowing researchers to engineer new materials from fuel cell components to proteins.
- The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) includes one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.
- Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) provides reliable, high-bandwidth connections that link scientists at federal labs, universities, and other institutions.
- The Joint Genome Institute helps researchers solve energy and environmental challenges with high throughput genomic capabilities and data analysis.
Too numerous to detail, other notable user facilities include the FLEXLAB, the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit, and other assets available to government, university, and corporate users.
“Here’s where experts say California’s historic snowpack presents the greatest flood risks” – SF Chronicle, April 5, 2023
“How climate change will make atmospheric rivers even worse” – The Washington Post, January 12, 2023
“Solar + batteries at home can provide backup power during disasters” – Ars Technica, September 29, 2022
“Berkeley Lab is home to world renowned scientific leaders. These brilliant minds are crafting the technology we need — today and tomorrow — to advance our lives, protect our planet, and enhance our economy. Berkeley Lab researchers are on the cutting edge of technological transformation, for California and the world.”— Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
“Berkeley Lab is a world leading scientific institution. Its facilities are used by researchers across the state. Its scientists are helping lead the way on new technologies and innovations to tackle big challenges—from climate change, to energy storage and clean water, creating jobs for our state.”— Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, Alameda County
Kim Budil, PhD, Director
Steven R. Bohlen, Senior Director, Government and External Affairs
Scott F. Wilson, State Government Liaison
SCIENCE AND SECURITY IN THE ATOMIC AGE
Originally established by Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence as a branch of the UC Radiation Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been a pillar of the Tri-Valley community since 1952.
Today, LLNL is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC — a partnership of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, Amentum, the Texas A&M University System and Battelle Memorial Institute. LLNL’s defining responsibility is ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent — yet its responsibilities have evolved with America’s changing needs.
The LLNL mission of making the world a safer place now aligns with our nation’s most challenging security problems — terrorism, energy security, climate and environmental change — through R&D investments in computing, engineering, and life and physical sciences. California can only stand to benefit, as LLNL cultivates partnerships with industry innovators regionally and statewide.
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Since its founding in 1952, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been an icon in northern California, applying cutting-edge technology to enhance our nation’s security and solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Those goals are met, in part, through strategic partnerships with California industry and academia. LLNL currently has active commercial licenses with more than 75 companies (34 in California)as well as dozens of active cooperative research and development agreements. Licensing and royalty income in recent years has topped $8 million annually representing more than $300 million in annual sales of products based on LLNL technologies. LLNL licensed technologies have enabled the launch of numerous new businesses that are helping drive economic growth locally, regionally and beyond.
LLNL’s procurements through California businesses ($509 million) and annual payroll ($1.19 million) directly contribute to the regional economy. Additionally, LLNL has deep and longstanding relationships with the University of California and California State University systems, which serve as workforce pipelines for many of its most sought after positions.
LLNL is home to one of DOE’s flagship user facilities, the National Ignition Facility (NIF). In December 2022, NIF, the world’s largest and most energetic laser, achieved ignition: meaning it produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. This first of its kind feat will provide unprecedented capability to support the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship Program and will provide invaluable insights the prospects of clean energy fusion, a game-changer for efforts to achieve a net-zero carbon economy. LLNL’s long-standing leadership in high-performance computing is indispensable for effectual design and interpretation of these complex NIF experiments.
A public-private partnership between LLNL and Tennessee-based ORTEC helped speed critical homeland-security technology to the marketplace. Radscout is a portable radiation detector developed by LLNL’s weapons program for emergency first responders and inspection personnel who need rapid detection and identification of material to determine the nature and scope of a threat. The product, now under the names of Detective and DetectiveEX, has been used to screen for dangerous radioisotopes in luggage or shipping containers and rapidly reports its results on-the-spot. The detector also is being used at border crossings, cargo ship docks, and transportation terminals.
LLNL has missions in biosecurity, counterterrorism, defense, energy, intelligence, nonproliferation, science, and weapons. LLNL’s fundamental work in science, technology, and engineering — such as basic research and development to achieve the breakthroughs applied directly by LLNL programs– is spread across three disciplinary organizations: Computation, Engineering, and Physical and Life Sciences:
- In addition to designing, developing, and deploying high-performance computing capabilities, the Computations Directorate assures that mission and program goals are attained by delivering outstanding computer science expertise and creative technology and software solutions. Computation also possesses technical expertise in information technology services and solutions that help missions.
- The Engineering Directorate undertakes projects with high technical risk, integrates and extends technologies, and uses the extremes of both ultrascale and microscale to achieve results. LLNL engineers develop systems that push technologies to their extremes.
- The Physical and Life Sciences Directorate delivers science that ensures the success of LLNL’s national security programs, anticipates their future needs, and provides innovative solutions to the hardest scientific problems facing the nation and our state.
“Scientists Achieve Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough with Blast of 192 Lasers” – New York Times, Dec. 13, 2022
“Speeding up detection of climate change response to emission reductions” – LLNL, April 14, 2022
“California Can Be Carbon Neutral in 25 years—with Drastic Action” – Scientific American, February 1, 2020
“LLNL is a huge contributor to California’s economy, providing high-end jobs, bringing in federal research dollars, and forming academic and industrial partnerships. I never hesitate to hold up LLNL as a shining example of the technological and entrepreneurial excellence that the Bay Area can offer.” — Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda)
“LLNL has been a leader in national security and fundamental science for generations, and its many contributions, inventive technologies, and passion for STEM education have helped shape California’s and the East Bay region’s thriving innovation ecosystems. We’re proud to have such an important institution as part of our community.” — Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda)
Sandia National Laboratories-California
NATIONAL SECURITY FROM “A” TO “Z”
From its origins as a single-mission engineering organization for nonnuclear components of nuclear weapons, Sandia National Laboratories now has multiple programs involved in a broad spectrum of national security issues. As one of three National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories, Sandia provides exceptional service in the national interest by applying science to help detect, repel, defeat, or mitigate threats to national security.
Sandia began in 1945 as the “Z-Division” — the weapons design, testing, and assembly branch of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. It officially became Sandia Laboratory in 1948, and in 1956 a second site was opened in California’s Livermore Valley. In 1979, Congress made Sandia a Department of Energy National Laboratory. In 1993, Sandia became a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) laboratory under Lockheed Martin Corporation. Today Honeywell International, Inc., manages and operates Sandia as National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC.
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0%w/ PhD or Masters
$0Million to CA Businesses
$0Million to Small Businesses
The California campus of Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia California) has delivered essential science and technology to resolve the nation’s most challenging issues for more than 55 years.
Many of these nationwide security challenges — like alternative energy, transportation, immigration, port security, cybersecurity and more — surfaced early for the State of California, providing this Sandia campus with a special opportunity to contribute to the first wave of science and technology solutions serving the United States.
Sandia California boosts the state’s regional and statewide economy, with contracts totaling more than $92 million directed to small businesses and $146 million total in contracts across all California businesses.
Sandia California is located in the Livermore Valley Open Campus, a 110-acre campus that brings academia and businesses together with researchers from Sandia and its Department of Energy sibling, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Sandia is partnering with the San Francisco-based Red and White Fleet to develop a hydrogen-fueled ferry, called the San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric Vessel with Zero Emissions (SF-BREEZE). A feasibility study, initiated two years ago, looked at the possibility of a large, fast vessel that would meet maritime regulations and be economically competitive. With the recent success of the initial proof of concept, this public-private partnership is moving forward with optimization of design studies and is one step closer to creating large, high-speed, environmentally friendly transport vessels.
In October of 2015, Southern California Gas informed the State of a natural gas leak at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. In January, after several months of regulatory and oversight action, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency. In coordination with the state’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, Sandia California provided independent monitoring and technical expertise and reviewed Southern California Gas Company data and information.
Sandia California researchers pursue a variety of security and resource management research.
Teams of researchers on the Sandia California campus are engaged in work that will advance climate change security, which Labs Director James S. Peery has described as an existential threat. Sandia California researchers work on a host of other projects to tackle the scientific and engineering challenges of the 21st century.
Sandia’s famed Combustion Research Facility focuses on improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. The Labs’ robust solar, wind, and geothermal research and development programs have contributed to widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies. Sandia’s energy storage and grid integration programs also help California’s efforts to meet requirements for its renewable energy portfolio.
The SUMMIT tool, developed at Sandia California, aids in preparing for human-caused or natural disasters by improving the cycle of activities that emergency response teams undertake. SUMMIT was included as part of a memorandum of agreement with the California Fire and Rescue Training Authority to deliver an emergency response framework to the California Exercise Simulation Center. The enhanced, 3-D virtual view of hazard damage creates a new level of realism and a common operating picture for members in exercises at national, regional, and local levels.
“How the U.S. is Planning to Boost Floating Wind Power” – Scientific American, February 23, 2023
"The people who imagine disasters” – BBC, 7th July 2020
“HPE, AMD win deal for U.S. supercomputer to model nuclear weapons” – Reuters, March 4, 2020
“Sandia has been an integral part of the East Bay for over 60 years. It engineers solutions for our country’s national security challenges, advances low-carbon energy technologies, and develops clean transportation systems. Sandia’s contributions are felt across California and the country.” — Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda)
“For more than 60 years in California, Sandia National Laboratories has built on its reputation for delivering results to address our nation’s most complex national security challenges and developing innovative energy solutions to advance next generation energy technologies.” — Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda)
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
ACCELERATING PARTICLES AND THE FUTURE
The people, expertise and facilities at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) offer potential to transform nearly every sector of our economy.
These include studies of the very small, fundamental processes of chemistry, to the very large exploration and understanding of the cosmos, dark matter, and dark energy. SLAC experts have a long record of developing novel instruments and technologies to provide unparalleled insight into the natural world — and they lead and participate in many large-scale national and international scientific collaborations.
Stanford University operates SLAC for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. Located in Menlo Park, SLAC is home to the world’s premier ultrafast X-ray science center. Extremely bright and fast X-ray pulses are used to create movies of atomic and molecular structures and interactions with unprecedented precision — driving advances in energy science, human health, industrial chemistry, novel materials, information technology, and more.
By the Numbers
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$0Million to CA Businesses (2019)
$0Million to Small Businesses (2019)
The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) contributes to California’s global reputation as a hub of innovation. SLAC invents, develops, and operates sophisticated particle accelerator and X-ray technology and other scientific tools, including sensors, detectors, controllers, lasers, and systems for working with torrents of data and images. SLAC also develops novel laser architectures for our own research and work with local laser firms, further securing California as a hub of the optical laser industry. Through CalCharge, SLAC supports California energy storage firms.
Each year, SLAC hosts thousands of researchers who come here to use its sophisticated X-ray facilities for a wide range of basic and applied science — including California companies developing new pharmaceuticals, improving chip manufacturing and developing sensor technology for self-driving cars.
SLAC has deep ties to a major university — their employees are Stanford University employees, and the SLAC director is a dean of Stanford. SLAC’s expertise and ties with Stanford are a powerful combination, and allow them to provide unique educational experiences and serve as a vital training ground for the nation’s future scientific workforce. SLAC educates the public through tours, lectures, and outreach programs, and it also provides internships and fellowships to students and early career professionals.
SLAC has initiated construction on a major upgrade to the world’s brightest X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). The LCLS-II will add a second X-ray laser beam that is 10,000 times brighter and fires 8,000 times faster, up to a million times per second. This will greatly increase the power and capacity of the X-ray laser for experiments that sharpen our view of how nature works on the atomic level and on ultrafast timescales. SLAC is also leading construction of a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera — the largest digital camera ever built for ground-based optical astronomy — for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) in Chile. The LSST will provide a definitive wide-field, ultradeep survey of galaxies for precision measurement of dark energy properties.
SLAC’s new Grid Integration, Systems and Mobility lab (GISMo) is developing ways to collect data from power systems and grid-connected devices — and help managers use that data to better manage the electrical grid as we incorporate more sources of renewable energy. GISMo works closely with California utilities and the California Energy Commission to develop and test new tools for managing a renewable grid, and planning for future electric vehicle charging loads. As an unbiased, highly technical partner, GISMo can test, benchmark, and evaluate emerging technologies that await the 21st Century power grid.
SLAC has world-leading expertise in the design, engineering, and fabrication of advanced electronics, sensors, detectors, instrumentation — in addition to largescale data handling and computing systems, and associated facilities that help advance real-world applications. These include:
- Structural biology research aimed at understanding disease and developing and improving treatment.
- Next-generation batteries, improved manufacturing techniques for semiconductors, solar cells and other products.
- Scientific computing, AI/machine learning and control system hardware and software.
- Electric grid modernization and more efficient catalysts for energy and industry.
- Fusion energy science.
- Next-generation particle accelerator technology for medicine, industry and discovery.
- Quantum information science.
On the ground, SLAC has the ability and knowledge to manage major, complex scientific infrastructure projects that require the development of entirely new technologies. And at the edge of human exploration, SLAC’s experts can guide us in understanding the context and importance of dark matter, dark energy, particle physics — and the evolution of the cosmos itself.
“New charging technique puts crumbling batteries back together” – Scientific American, Feb. 4, 2022
“Can a particle accelerator trace the origins of printing?” – Wired, Aug 29, 2022
“Scientists make nanodiamonds out of plastic bottles” – BBC Science Focus, September 2, 2022
“SLAC has long been in the forefront of innovation, pushing the merely imaginable into the realm of reality. SLAC continues to break new ground across its research portfolio. Ranging from preparation and early action solutions to real-time monitoring and response, as well as recovery, the work of SLAC scientists today in disaster resilience research resonates particularly strongly.” — Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo)
“SLAC National Accelerator Lab continues to push the frontiers of our fundamental scientific knowledge. Their unique capabilities play a key role in establishing our scientific leadership and laying the groundwork for our progress toward a clean, sustainable energy future.” — Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto)