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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: $225,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $5,000,000

Accepting SBIR Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Applications: YES

Materials researchers using synchrotron and x-ray free electron laser (XFEL) light sources at National Laboratories have a need for advanced spectrometers and detectors for x-ray scattering experiments. The light source staff and user community engage in detector research to push the state of the art of x-ray scattering and imaging techniques. They often advance a detector technology to a level approaching a prototype stage and use it for a particular experiment. They have thus created some type of working detector or detector components. However, they are not equipped to fully develop the detector as a product or transfer their technology readily into a stand-alone system for use by other researchers at another beam line or facility.

This topic seeks to identify and perform the necessary research and development to commercialize promising light source spectrometer and detector technology into products that are readily available throughout the light source community. The proposed technology must already be near the prototype level and the proposal should focus on the development of the technology into a user friendly and fully implemented product that can be purchased by researchers and light source facilities.

A successful Phase I proposal and project will identify a research group at a National Laboratory or university that has invented and used a new detector or spectrometer capability. The technology must be near the prototype stage as demonstrated by successful data acquisition in a materials research experiment at a synchrotron or XFEL beam line. (This topic is not for new x-ray sensor research.) The SBIR/STTR development project will involve a collaboration with an experienced materials science light source user capable of utilizing the detector capability in new x-ray techniques applied to materials research experiments. The experiments must be capable of obtaining competitive beam time at a light source user facility.

A feasibility study of the technology and the necessary development path should be part of the Phase I project. The study should determine the range of x-ray light source experiments that will be enabled or improved by the new spectrometer or detector system and quantify the number of users and experiments that will benefit from the improved system.

As part of the development strategy, the Phase I work should determine and quantify the level of effort involved in critical development tasks which must be made in order to make the detector commercially viable. (An outline of anticipated tasks should be part of the Phase I proposal and firmly established by the Phase I project.)

The Phase I project should perform systems research that will effectively determine and plan a path forward to completion of a user friendly, fully functional new spectrometer or detector system. The project should identify the development bottlenecks and describe separate development sub-projects, with delineated tasks, to resolve each commercialization barrier. The project should perform a risk analysis and market assessment that will enable funding agencies and investors to have confidence in the R&D path that will lead to a successful detector product.

Phase II will involve continued systems and sub-systems development to bring a spectrometer and detector system to a completed demonstration stage ready for investment in the manufacturing process. Production research will be completed in Phase II that resolves manufacturing feasibility issues and provides the necessary software control and systems integration.

Development aspects that do not involve proprietary information from Phase I may be openly competed in subsequent Phase I/II subset projects to be folded into successful prime Phase II projects. Possible Phase III funding would provide for actual working systems delivered to research groups who would be early adopters of the new technology and demonstrate the new capabilities in scientific research projects at x-ray light source facilities.


Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:


a. Detector and spectrometer systems for x-ray scattering

Systems which enable or improve, (especially in their time resolved versions) the following state of the art materials research x-ray scattering techniques: coherent x-ray diffraction imaging, x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy, resonant x-ray scattering (with chemical, orbital or magnetic sensitivity), resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, pair distribution function analysis, surface truncation rod analysis and coherent grazing incidence or standing wave surface scattering.

Questions – Contact: Lane Wilson,


b. Other

Detector and spectrometer systems consistent with the topic description and which enable Synchrotron and XFEL materials research experiments not included in sub-topic (a).

Questions – Contact: Lane Wilson,



1.     U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, 2012, Neutron and X-ray Detectors, Report of the Basic Energy Sciences Workshop on Neutron and X-ray Detectors, p. 92. ( 


2.     Denes, P., and Schmitt, B., 2014, Pixel Detectors for Diffraction-limited Storage Rings, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, Vol. 21, p. 1006–1010. (


3.     Blaj, G., et. al., 2015, X-ray Detectors at the Linac Coherent Light Source, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, Vol. 22, p. 577-583. (


4.     Giewekemeyer, K., et. al., 2014, High Dynamic Range Coherent Diffractive Imaging: Ptychography Using the Mixed-Mode Pixel Array Detector, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, Vol. 21, p. 1167-1174. (


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