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Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Program Area Overview


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The results of BES-supported research are routinely published in the open literature.

A key function of the program is to plan, construct, and operate premier scientific user facilities for the development of novel nanomaterials and for materials and chemical characterization through x-ray and neutron scattering; the former is accomplished through five Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the latter is accomplished through the world's largest suite of light source and neutron scattering facilities. These national resources are available free of charge to all researchers based on the quality and importance of proposed nonproprietary experiments.

A major objective of the BES program is to promote the transfer of the results of our basic research to advance and create technologies important to Department of Energy (DOE) missions in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, improved use of fossil fuels, the mitigation of the adverse impacts of energy production and use, and future nuclear energy sources. The following set of technical topics represents one important mechanism by which the BES program augments its system of university and laboratory research programs and integrates basic science, applied research, and development activities within the DOE.

For additional information regarding the Office of Basic Energy Sciences priorities, click here.



Maximum Phase I Award Amount: $150,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $1,000,000

Accepting SBIR Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Applications: YES


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), within the DOE’s Office of Science, is responsible for current and future user facilities including synchrotron radiation, free electron lasers, electron microscopes, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). This topic seeks exclusively the development of electron optics capabilities beyond the present state-of-the-art in electron microscopy to support these user facilities. Grant applications that do not fall within the topic will not be considered.

Grant applications are sought in the following subtopic:


a. Electron Optics for MeV Ultrafast Electron Microscope (UEM)

Electron microscopy and nano-characterization capabilities are important in materials sciences and are used in numerous research projects funded by the Department. The 2014 Report of the Basic Energy Sciences Workshop on electron scattering and diffraction [1] recommended the development of an Ultrafast Electron Diffraction and Microscopy Instrument to enable revolutionary advances in the study of electron interaction with matter. Such a capability would be complementary to x-ray free electron lasers due to the difference in the nature of electron and x-ray scattering, enabling space-time mapping of lattice vibrations and energy transport, facilitating the understanding of molecular dynamics of chemical reactions, the photonic control of emergence in quantum materials, and the dynamics of mesoscopic materials.

To capture irreversible processes in materials science and biology, such as direct imaging of biologically important conformational transitions of macromolecules and glass phase transitions in real time, a single-shot ultrafast electron microscope (UEM) with atomic spatial resolution and sub-nanosecond temporal resolution is required. The number of electrons needed for such single-shot MeV UEM should 10 millions or more. What is needed is the development of electron-optical components and accessories for such single-shot MeV UEM. Novel electron optics, including electron lenses, correction elements and magnets for single-shot MeV UEM, need to be designed and simulated with state-of-the-art software to achieve the desired set of column specifications (magnification, high spatial and temporal resolution, beam current, correction/deflection elements etc.). In particular, this includes the design of the 4 MeV objective lens and computation of its 3rd order optical properties using high-accuracy field solvers such as the second-order finite element method (SOFEM). Simulations need to include the computation of the magnetic flux distribution in the magnetic circuit and coil windings, taking into account relativistic effects and magnetic saturation in state-of-the-art magnetic materials. The simulations should yield a design suitable for a prototype UEM that targets performance with sub-ns temporal resolution and atomic (0.3 nm) spatial resolution for a 4 MeV electron beam with a relative energy spread of 10-5.

Questions – contact: Eliane Lessner,


b. Other

In addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.

Questions – contact: Eliane Lessner,


References: Subtopic a:

U.S Department of Energy, 2014, Future of Electron Scattering and Diffraction, Report of the Basic Energy Sciences Workshop on electron scattering and diffraction. (

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