Geoscience Synchrotron Users Group

Management and Operation of Synchrotron-Hosted Analytical Facilities for Earth Sciences


Synchrotron X-ray facilities provide tools of major and growing importance for material property research in the Earth sciences.  The tunability, brilliance, and collimation of synchrotron X-rays provide unique capabilities for probing the structural, chemical, and physical properties of many types of geological materials.  Synchrotron facilities in the U.S operated by the Department of Energy facilitate the research of hundreds of geoscientists each year, including many undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs.

The National Science Foundation Division of Earth Sciences has for many years supported a portfolio of synchrotron beamlines and related support facilities and organizations.   These include the Consortium for Materials Properties Research in the Geosciences (COMPRES) and GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS).

NSF has released a proposal solicitation for the creation of a new single lead organization that will oversee the suite of analytical instrumental capabilities at synchrotron light sources, providing on-site technical support; developing new instrumentation and techniques; and fostering research training and outreach to promote scientific progress and advance understanding of Earth materials and processes.

Update: A proposal entitled SEES: Community-Driven Management of Synchrotron Facilities for Earth and Environmental Science was submitted to the NSF EAR Instrumentation and Facilities program on March 4, 2022.

Who We Are

In response to NSF guidance and with input from the geoscience synchrotron user community, we have established a steering committee to assist in organizing the Earth Science Community to develop a new model for the management and operation of synchrotron-based facilities for Earth Science research. The steering committee includes a broad range of scientists representing a cross-section of disciplines that access synchrotron facilities. Thomas Duffy (Princeton University) serves as the Chair of the Steering Committee.  A complete listing of the Steering Committee members can be found here.

Liz Cottrell (Smithsonian) serves as the Chair of the PI Search Committee. A full listing of Search Committee Members and additional information about the search process and timeline can be found here (PDF).

Latest News, Announcements, and Workshops

A detailed timeline of activities, events, and more can be found here
(PDF, updated 2/7/22).

SRN: Geoscience Workshop

This report summarizes the outcome of a two-day, virtual workshop, “Synchrotrons and Geochemistry: A Workshop for Novices and Experts,” held on June 28–29, 2021, focused on applications of synchrotron science to geochemical research.

Community Activities and Input

Outreach activities include town halls, workshops, and community-wide messages.   Future activities and opportunities for community input will be announced in the coming weeks.

Education and Outreach Committee

The education and outreach subcommittee is headed by Pamela Burnley (

More information can be found here.

Community Feedback

Please submit any suggestions or issues you would like to bring to the attention of the Steering Committee. Suggestions submitted using this form are anonymous. If you wish to get a reply to your question, please enter your name and email address in the space provided. We look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to access the Feedback Form

Town Halls