Argonne Selects TAI's Copper Thermal Straps for APS-U

Argonne National Lab (image credit:

In February, the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade Project (APS-U) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), selected TAI to supply the Thermal Straps (flexible thermal links), for the remaining cryostats in the APS system.  Once the program is completed, TAI will have supplied over 600 of our Copper Thermal Strap (CuTS®) products to this important upgrade to the APS, and we are thrilled to be a part of this historic scientific feat!

What is the Advanced Photon Source (APS)?

APS is a synchrotron-radiation light source research facility, locate in Lemont, Illinois. Over 5,000 researchers from around the world conduct experiments at the APS every year, by using X-ray beams to conduct experiments and applied research in the fields of biological and materials sciences: from chemistry to physics, geophysical and planetary science, as well X-ray instrumentation.

In its 25-year history, APS has played an essential role in some of the most important discoveries and advancements in modern science and engineering. This work led to better renewable batteries, the development of new drugs, greater vehicle efficiency capacities, stronger infrastructure materials, and even more powerful electronics.

Research conducted at the APS was awarded two Nobel Prizes and the APS even made significant contributions in the fight against COVID-19, as its beamlines were involved in research identifying the COVID virus protein structures and helped to identify potential drug therapies and vaccines.

The Advanced Photon Source Upgrade Project (APSU)


The Advanced Photon Source Upgrade Project (APSU) is an $815 million upgrade that will enable the APS’s capabilities, and the research conducted at the facility, to be completed at an unprecedented scale.

“The APS Upgrade will allow us to conduct new experiments that we can barely even imagine right now. It will be transformational,” said Jonathan Lang, the APS X-ray Science Division (XSD) director.1

"The APS works like a giant X-ray microscope. It produces extremely bright X-rays that can peer through dense materials and illuminate the structure and chemistry of matter at the molecular and atomic level. As part of the upgrade, the existing 1.1-kilometer circular storage ring will be replaced and X-ray beamlines and other equipment will be updated, creating a vastly more powerful X-ray facility and brighter X-ray production.”1

Because of the Upgrade Project, the brightness of these X-rays can be up to 500x greater than the current capabilities, which will significantly improve performance and allow for research to be conducted on an even faster and on a far greater scale.

Another upgrade in the project will focus on the beam coherence, which correlates with how ordered the X-ray beams are. The improvements will allow scientists to focus the X-ray beam with pinpoint accuracy, targeting a tiny fraction of an area that is possible with the current platform.


How will TAI’s Copper Thermal Straps (CuTS®) Contribute to APS-U?

TAI’s CuTS® products will be used in the superconducting undulator beam chamber, and over 150 straps will be used in each of the 4 cryostats in the APS-U. 

The APS-U superconducting undulators (SCUs) beam chamber aluminum center section is cooled by the 2nd Stage of a dedicated cryocooler, and thermally isolated from the other cryostat thermal circuits. Beam heating applied to the chamber section is conducted to this cryocooler through flexible thermal straps (links) connected to a thermal buss, which is directly and rigidly mounted to this cryocooler.

The stainless-steel transition sections at either end of the beam chamber are also cooled by flexible thermal straps sinking their conductive heat load the to the 40 K thermal shield.

These thermal strap assemblies provide a highly conductive path for the thermal sinking of the beam chamber heat loads, and allow for movement of the chamber during alignment procedures.

While TAI completed the first 150 straps for Cryostat 1 in early 2020, the COVID Pandemic slowed the program and only now are Cryostats 2-4 also receiving their thermal strap deliveries.

The TAI team is proud to be a supplier to the APS-U program, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with our national laboratory customers again.

Here’s to APS-U! Keep up the good work, all, and thank you to our terrific engineering and manufacturing team at TAI!




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