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The primary mission of TIMES is to develop a world class program on the theory of spectroscopy, with the goal of understanding and controlling and non-equilibrium phenomena and the emergent dynamics of coupled charge, spin, lattice, and orbital degrees of freedom at their natural time- and length-scales. Our approach utilizes advanced theoretical techniques and numerical simulations for a broad range of spectroscopies, spanning THz to x-rays, with particular emphasis on science that is enabled by the West Coast lightsources: the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) & Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory & the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL).

TIMES was established as a Field Work Proposal for Basic Energy Sciences, Department of Energy, in 2016. Foundations for TIMES were fostered in part by workshops held in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 in conjunction with the annual ALS User’s Meetings, as well as dedicated workshops in 2010, 2012 and 2014 held at SLAC. Comments received at these workshops, and from the directors of SSRL and LCLS, demonstrated enthusiasm and the clear need for establishing TIMES. The establishment of TIMES has helped the US towards achieving a worldwide leadership role in the fields of excited states, time-domain physics, and advanced spectroscopies.

A primary objective of TIMES is to incubate and develop advanced theories, numerical algorithms, and efficient software to enable the simulations and analysis of spectroscopic tools for addressing cutting-edge problems in materials and energy sciences at advanced and next-generation photon facilities. Our current objectives for TIMES focus on three key research efforts. These include:

  1. Development of advanced theories and codes for equilibrium spectroscopies, capable of simulating a suite of experimental measurements under present and future conditions at next generation synchrotron and neutron sources,
  2. Development of basic methodologies and algorithms to address non-equilibrium and time-dependent spectroscopies under present and future conditions at LCLS and LCLS-II,
  3. Performance of complementary basic research aimed at uncovering the underlying rules for non-equilibrium dynamics in strongly entangled quantum matter.

Several interconnected activities enable these efforts: (i) the creation of a local collaborative environment to exploit the synergy between theorists, beamline scientists and experimentalists, seeding and expanding efforts as appropriate; (ii) the development of new theoretical paradigms and the extension of current models to provide a robust predictive basis for interpreting and fully exploiting spectroscopic data, including time-resolved and out-of-equilibrium experiments; and (iii) pushing the frontier of numerical explorations of non-equilibrium control and manipulation of phases of quantum matter, and how they might be understood and characterized using spectroscopy. Complementing these efforts, TIMES has created a repository for advanced codes, workflow managers, and tutorial for broader dissemination to the photon science community to predict and interpret experimental results from modern synchrotron, XFEL, neutron, and other sources. In this way, TIMES fills a significant need in the nation’s scientific infrastructure in photon sciences that has the potential of revolutionary impact on the process of scientific discovery.