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X-RAY RUNS: Apply for Beamtime

2017  Nov 1 - Dec 21

2018  Feb 7 - Apr 3
2018  Proposal/BTR deadline: 12/1/17

2018  Apr 11 - Jun 4
2018  Proposal/BTR deadline: 2/1/18

  • 5.3 GeV storage ring, one of two high-energy synchrotron sources in the U.S.
  • Circumference of the storage ring is 768 m. (~.5 mile) and it is located 12 meters (40 ft.) below the ground
  • 11 experimental stations; 3,600 hours per year of x-ray operations
  • 243 unique experimental projects in FY16 involving 1071 researchers
  • 1,753 tours given in FY16
  • High demand for use of the facility where only half of beam time requests can be granted


The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is a national user facility that provides synchrotron x-ray capabilities for investigators in all fields of science and engineering. It uses synchrotron light given off by charged particles – electrons and positrons – as they circulate in a ring at nearly the speed of light. The x-ray beams generated at CHESS help scientists and researchers understand materials from airplane wings to cell membranes, from pollutants in plants to matter under earth-core pressures. CHESS is a world leader in developing innovative tools and techniques to explore biological, electronic, and structural materials.

CHESS users come from around the world and represent both academic and corporate communities. X-ray beam time is granted to users through a competitive, peer-review process. Scientists and researchers use x-ray beams to engineer new materials, study structural materials under real-time working conditions, and analyze macromolecules. Their discoveries not only broaden our knowledge of materials but also improve business processes and products.




  Artist rendition of Wilson Lab

 Artist's rendition of Wilson Lab showing CESR under the present Upper Alumni Athletic field.

History of CHESS

CHESS was constructed in the period from 1978 to 1980 as a synchrotron x-ray facility parasitic to the CESR High Energy Physics program. The original laboratory, CHESS West, included 3 instrumented beam lines, A, B, and C that provided 6 independent experimental stations. The total experimental West area is about 1000 square feet. The CHESS East laboratory was constructed during 1988-1989, adding 2 beam lines, D and F, and 4 instrumented experimental stations. CHESS East contains a biohazard level BL2 facility (built with funds from the NIH) which is part of the F1 station.

Construction began in 1999 for an addition to the facility through funds provided by Cornell University. This new addition is the home to G-line and associated 3 additional experimental stations which were constructed with a grant from the NSF. The facility is operated in conjunction with CHESS by a Cornell University consortium to provide additional capabilities for experimenters. The G3 station is constructed with extensive toxic gas handling capabilities advancing the prospects for in-situ crystal growth experiments.