Current NSF-Supported Earth Science Synchrotron Research Organizations


The Consortium for Materials Properties Research in the Earth Sciences (COMPRES) is a community-based consortium that supports research in the materials properties of Earth and planetary interiors with particular emphasis on high-pressure science and technology and related fields.

The Consortium currently has 66 member institutions in the U.S. There are also 48 foreign affiliate institutions. COMPRES supported programs exist across a number of user facilities and laboratories including the National Synchrotron Light Source II, The Advanced Light Source, The Advanced Photon Source, Arizona State University, and others. In addition to the operation of community facilities, COMPRES supports infrastructure projects to promote the development of new technologies for mineral physics research, for use in both laboratories in home institutions and at the national laboratories. It also supports a variety of important education and outreach activities.

A community effort was initiated to develop to COMPRES in 2000 and a proposal was funded by the NSF in 2001. Over the course of its twenty-year history, COMPRES has been led by Jay Bass (2002-2003, 2010-2015) Robert Liebermann (2003-2010), and Carl Agee (2015-present).

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GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS) is a national user facility at Sector 13 of the Advanced Photon Source. Its mission is to manage, develop, and operate synchrotron beamlines for earth, planetary and environmental science research. GSECARS aims to:

  • Pioneer new synchrotron-based techniques and make them available to the community
  • Achieve high scientific impact across a broad range of disciplines (geochemistry, geophysics, environmental science, and others)
  • Make synchrotron techniques accessible to non-expert users

GSECARS originated through the efforts of Professor J. V. Smith who formed the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS) at The University of Chicago to build multiple beamlines at the APS (Biology, Chemistry/Materials, and Geoscience). The community-driven scientific case and technical design for GeoSoilEnviroCars was developed from 1988-1994. Major funding for the effort was received from NSF and DOE in 1995. Beamline construction began at sector 13 of the APS in 1995 and the facility saw first light in late 1996. GSECARS has continued to operate and upgrade the sector since that time. Mark Rivers is the director of CARS.

GSECARS allocates 100% of the available beamtime at sector 13 of the APS to the General User Program. In 2019, the facility received more than 500 proposals and supported 772 users for 420 separate experiments. 160 publications were produced in 2019 and more than 2,500 publications have resulted over the lifetime of the facility.

Additional Information on GSECARS: