BioCARS is a national user facility for synchrotron-based, dynamic studies in structural biology and the physical sciences, located at Sector 14 of the Advanced Photon Source, at Argonne National Laboratory. BioCARS is an integral part of the multi-disciplinary Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS) run by the University of Chicago.
The mission of BioCARS is to provide state-of-the-art X-ray and laser facilities, scientific and technical expertise and support to enable users to study the dynamic properties of biological, chemical and physical systems by X-ray scattering techniques such as time-resolved diffraction, SAXS/WAXS and fiber diffraction. Our emphasis on dynamic experiments is supplemented by the safe conduct of static experiments at the BSL2 and BSL3 biosafety levels. The overall goal of user experiments is to understand basic biological, chemical and physical processes in structural and dynamic terms, at the level of atomic resolution and on a time scale from picoseonds to seconds. Scientific problems addressed by BioCARS are fundamental to highly relevant biomedical problems, of practical importance to both pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, and support advancements in the dynamic understanding of materials and basic energy sciences.
The technical expertise of BioCARS is in novel high X-ray flux, time-resolved pump-probe experiments. We are a unique beamline that specializes in the application of ultrafast laser science in conjunction with one of the world’s brightest X-ray sources; an X-ray pulse from the 14-ID beamline of BioCARS provides our users in the APS hybrid mode with a number of photons approaching that of a free electron laser such as the LCLS.
BioCARS operates two Experimental Stations, embedded in a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Facility. This BSL-3 synchrotron-based capability is unique in the United States and permits safe studies of biohazardous materials such as pathogenic human viruses.