Sept. 26, 1996

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    $6.27 million awarded for CARS project

    The Consortium for Advanced Radiation Sources, managed by the University, has received a $6.27 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to construct a facility for ChemMatCARS, the third of three CARS sectors at Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source. ChemMatCARS will be used to study condensed-matter chemistry and materials science at the APS, the world's most brilliant source of X-rays.

    "This will enable the Advanced Photon Source to be utilized to explore the fundamental structure of materials at an unprecedented level of sensitivity," said David Schramm, Vice President for Research and Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics. "We are very excited that this high-powered collaboration has been appropriately recognized with a funding level that will enable the scientists to really push the frontiers of knowledge."

    Dedicated in March 1996, the APS has the capability of revealing atomic and molecular structures in greater detail than ever before, opening new vistas of research in materials science, chemistry, physics, biotechnology, medicine and the geosciences. Research at the APS is expected to enhance the nation's high-technology competitiveness in such areas as semiconductors, polymers, pharmaceuticals and catalysts.

    "Recruiting this level of funding has been a long and difficult process," said CARS Executive Director Keith Moffat, Professor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. "But we're finally at the stage where we've got the organizational structure in place and the funding for all three sectors. It's extraordinarily gratifying to be able to build the beam lines and the experiment stations and to begin to do some important experiments."

    Stuart Rice, the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the James Franck Institute, is principal investigator for ChemMatCARS. Co-investigators include James Viccaro, Senior Research Associate in the JFI, and researchers from SUNY at Stony Brook, SUNY at Buffalo, Harvard and UIC. The other two sectors of CARS are BioCARS, dedicated to the structure and dynamics of biomolecules, and GeoSoilEnviroCARS, which, among other things, will examine the geophysical processes that shape the earth.

    "The potential for learning about the properties of matter from the APS is limited only by our imagination," Rice said. "This facility really provides us with extraordinary opportunities. I think some extraordinarily creative experiments will be conceived, because now we can actually do them whereas before we could only dream about them."

    ChemMatCARS consists of three experiment stations that will be devoted to very low-angle scattering, high-resolution crystallography and the study of liquid surfaces. They will provide scientists with a better understanding of liquid-gas phase interactions, the surface properties of polymers (important for applications such as the manufacture of artificial joints) and how molecules change shape when they move from one energy state to another.

    The scientific advances resulting from ChemMatCARS are expected to influence the development of such materials as sensors, microelectronics, lubricants, adhesives, composites and optics.

    A memorandum of understanding between CARS and Argonne National Laboratory will be signed in October. In addition to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, CARS has received funding from the William F. Keck Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

    CARS is a consortium formed between the University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and a large group of scientists from across the United States.