Multiscale Speciation of U and Pu at Chernobyl, Hanford, Los Alamos,
McGuire AFB, Mayak, and Rocky Flats
– Contacts: Steve Conradson (LANL/Synchrotron-SOLEIL) and Sam Webb (SSRL)
When a geographical area is contaminated with radioactive elements, time and
heat can cause them to combine with other atoms to form a variety of compounds.
Knowing what compounds form and when they form is important for containing and
cleaning contaminated sites. Computer models can make predictions but are
limited to the currently known reactions and compounds that can be described in
the laboratory. A collaboration of scientists has taken samples from the
fields of six different contaminated sites to discover which chemical species
are formed from uranium and plutonium. The sites studied released these
elements under different circumstances and into different environments. Read more...
Citation: O. N. Batuk et al., Env. Sci. & Tech., 2 June 2015
More SSRL-related Science
Newly Discovered Property Could Help Beat the Heat Problem in
X-ray Studies Conducted at SSRL Confirm Long-theorized 3-D
Property in Exotic Material
Excerpted from June 10, 2015 SLAC News Feature
The heat that builds up in the shuttling of current in electronics is an
important obstacle to packing more computing power into ever-smaller devices:
Excess heat can cause them to fail or sap their efficiency.
Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) measurements taken at Beam
Line 5-4 at SSRL and at the Advanced Light Source have observed an exotic
property that could warp the electronic structure of a material in a way that
reduces heat buildup and improves performance in ever-smaller computer
The team studied a form of iridium oxide,
Sr3Ir2O7, that belongs to a class of so-called
correlated materials in which electrons can be made to behave in sync. It is a
candidate for reducing the heat generated by the billions of transistors at the
core of modern computers.
The researchers discovered that the material has a long-theorized property,
formerly found only in 2-D materials and known as 3-D negative electronic
compressibility that is caused by its unusual electronic structure. Read more...
Citation: J. He et al., Nature Materials, 27
April 2015 (10.1038/nmat4273)
Kneading Enzyme Makes Ammonia Levels Rise: Electron-delivering
Protein Manipulates Natural Catalyst, Changing Ideas about Fertilizer
Excerpted from June 2015 PNNL Physical Sciences Division Research
In industry, synthesizing ammonia for fertilizers uses massive amounts of
hydrogen, typically generated from fossil fuels, but in nature, the nitrogenase
enzyme produces ammonia without added hydrogen. In studying the enzyme,
scientists came up against a protein, called the Fe protein. This little
protein delivers electrons to the larger nitrogenase MoFe enzyme. The smaller
protein's actions limit the enzyme's speed. Using macromolecular
crystallography data collected on SSRL Beam Line 9-2 scientists at Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory and three universities found that the smaller
protein and larger enzyme roll across each other, likely pushing at the MoFe
surface to deliver electrons. Read more...
Citation: K. Danyal et al., Biochemistry, 1 April 2015
What Would it Take to Double a Cell Phone's Battery
Excerpted from May 30, 2015 Article in The Atlantic
How is it possible that mobile phones can do so much—summon cars,
order groceries, make video-calls, count footsteps—and yet still drain
power so quickly? For devices that are so mind-bogglingly smart, the constant
charging that’s required seems painfully outdated. Why hasn’t
anyone built a better phone battery?
“To have a battery that can last for a week or longer, you’re
looking for a more energy-dense battery—that’s the fundamental
thing you’re searching for,” said Venkat Srinivasan, a materials
scientist who directs the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division at
the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Energy density refers to the amount of energy stored within a battery. To
extend a battery charge on a cell phone or laptop to weeklong lengths would
require researchers to, say, double the energy density of a battery within the
next couple of years. Recent improvements to phone batteries have increased
energy density by about 5 to 6 percent each year—which translates to a
few extra hours on a smartphone or laptop.
Breakthroughs in battery technology are relatively rare. The last one came
in the 1990s, with the advent of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
“Batteries are very complex objects,” said Michael Toney, co-leader
of the Materials Science Division at SSRL. “The complexity makes it very
hard to get any sort of sustained improvement.” Read more...
See also: 3 New Kinds of Battery that Just Might Change the World
Awards and Honors
President Obama Honors Claudio Pellegrini with Enrico Fermi
Excerpted from June 8, 2015 SLAC News Feature
Claudio Pellegrini, a visiting scientist and Consulting Photon Science
Faculty professor at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and
Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles,
will receive the 2014 Enrico Fermi Award for his role in laying the scientific
groundwork for the x-ray free-electron laser.
The award is one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific awards
granted by the U.S. government. Pellegrini learned of the honor in late May
when he got a surprise call from U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
Professor Pellegrini will travel to the White House later this year to receive
the award from President Barack Obama.
“It’s really a great honor,” Pellegrini said. “I
just had my 80th birthday. This is an unexpected and wonderful birthday
The award specifically recognizes Pellegrini’s “pioneering
research advancing understanding of relativistic electron beams and
free-electron lasers” and “transformative discoveries profoundly
impacting the successful development of the first hard x-ray free-electron
laser, heralding a new era for science,” according to the DOE announcement.
Pellegrini’s work was critical in establishing a new concept for how
to wiggle bunches of electrons with powerful alternating magnetic fields to
give off x-ray light and then greatly amplify the light pulses. The process is
known as “self-amplified spontaneous emission” or SASE. This is the
process that generates ultrabright x-ray laser pulses at the LCLS. Read more...
See also: 2002 SASE Science Highlight - VISA: A Milestone on the Path towards X-ray Free Electron
Upcoming Workshops and Conferences
12th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation
Instrumentation, July 6-10, 2015, New York City, NY
The National Synchrotron Light Source ll (NSLS-ll) at Brookhaven National
Laboratory is pleased to invite you to register to attend the 12th
International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2015) at
the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York City, July 6-10,
2015. SRI website
2015 X-ray Science Gordon Research Conference, July 26-31, 2015,
The 2015 X-ray Science Gordon Conference, X-ray Science Utilizing the
Dramatic Increases in Peak and Average Brightness from Current/Planned Next
Generation Accelerator Based X-ray Sources, will be held July 26-31 at
Stonehill College in Easton, MA. The deadline to apply is June 28.
These conferences have historically played an important role in pushing the
boundaries of x-ray science and informing the community of the exciting cutting
edge opportunities that accelerator based light sources enable. Review
the program and registration material online.
16th International Conference on X-ray Absorption Fine
This conference will be held August 23-28, 2015, at the Karlsruhe Institute
of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany. Conference website
Joint SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference, October 7-9,
The website is now live for our joint SSRL/LCLS Annual
Users' Conference and registration is open. To get started, click on
"Create an Account" .
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 – Parallel Workshops
Applications of Ptychography
Beyond SASE at the LCLS & LCLS-II
Characterization of Ultrafast Magnetization Dynamics Using
Coupled Cycling of Biogeochemical Critical Elements and
Hybrid Methods for Integrative Structural Biology
LCLS Data Collection, Diagnostics, Analysis,
Time Resolved Studies with Femtosecond X-ray Pulses:
Towards Molecular Movies of Molecules at Work
Friday, October 9, 2015 – Parallel
Advances in High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy
Attosecond FELs: Capturing the Dynamics of Electrons in
the Time Domain
New Discoveries in Biology with XFELS
Probing Structure and Dynamics of Quantum Materials via X-ray
Scattering at LCLS
Science Opportunities at SLAC in the Tender X-ray Range (1-5
Scientific Opportunities with PS-Pulses at SSRL
Single Particle Imaging Initiative: Year One
For the parallel sessions, please identify your primary workshop to help us
with the headcount for each event. More information will be available
soon on the conference website.
Reserve accommodations at the Stanford Guest House before August 2. Contact
the Guest House which is located on-site at SLAC National Accelerator
Laboratory at (650) 926-2800 or book online (use group block "USERS1015").
Symposium 'Celebrating Artie Bienenstock', October 10,
Please join us on Saturday, October 10, for a special symposium to honor Arthur Bienenstock. This
symposium is scheduled immediately following the SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and Workshops,
separate registration is required.
SSRL Annual Award Nomination Deadlines
August 1: William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator
All SSRL users and staff are eligible for this $1,000 award honoring the
professional and personal contributions that William E. and Diane M. Spicer
made to our community. Nomination packages should include a letter of
nomination as well as the candidate's curriculum vitae and publications;
supporting letters are encouraged. Nomination packages should summarize the
technical or scientific contributions of the candidate.
August 1: Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award
The $1,000 award honoring Melvin P. Klein's many contributions is
intended to recognize outstanding research accomplishments by new investigators
and to promote dissemination of research results based on work performed at
SSRL. Nominations for undergraduate or graduate students, or postdoctoral
fellows within three years of receiving their Ph.D., can be submitted. The
nomination package should include a letter of recommendation from the advisor
as well as an abstract written by the candidate describing the SSRL related
experiments and scientific results. Candidates are encouraged to include their
curriculum vitae and information on their plans to present their work at a
August 15: Farrel W. Lytle Award
The Farrel W. Lytle Award was established to promote important technical or
scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster
collaboration and efficient use of beam time among users and staff at SSRL. The
Lytle Award consists of a certificate and $1000. SSRL users and staff are
eligible to be nominated for the Lytle Award, but only nominations for
individuals will be considered (no group awards please). Letters of nominations
should include a summary of the individual's contributions and why they
should be recognized through this award. Supporting letters are welcome.
These awards will be presented at the Users' Conference. The awardees of
the Spicer and Klein awards will be asked to give a presentation on his/her
research during the Users' Conference.
Nomination packages for all three awards should be sent by email to the
attention of Cathy Knotts. email@example.com
NUFO News: ARIA Comes Alive
After considering recommendations from NUFO membership, the Department of
Energy, and others, the NUFO Steering Committee decided it would best serve its
user community as a formal, incorporated non-profile entity. Incorporation will
enable the organization to broaden its funding base and allow it to serve as an
independent, third-party validator of the importance of research at user
facilities. NUFO member facilities will still have the ability to fully
participate in and support the new organization as allowable activities.
An Incorporation Committee was formed and charged with developing purpose
and mission statements, recruiting an initial Board of Directors, and preparing
incorporation documents. A naming contest was held and the winning name for the
new organization was the American Research Infrastructure Alliance (ARIA). A
Board of Directors has been appointed and will serve as the primary
decision-making body for ARIA, while members of the current NUFO Steering
Committee will become an Operations Committee to support the Board and handle
For the most part, facilities and users will see little immediate change in
the activities of ARIA vs. NUFO. Plans are underway for a Capitol Hill user
science exhibition on December 8, 2015, Congressional home visits in states
that do not host a user facility in late summer, and a Congressional briefing
in DC in the fall. See: NUFO Incorporation Committee and initial ARIA Board of
Directors and 2015 NUFO Annual Meeting Summary
User Research Administration
The current FY2015 operations run ends on Monday, August 10. Plan
ahead for the 2015-16 user operations run by reviewing upcoming deadlines for new proposals and beam time requests.
July 1 is the next deadline for submitting standard
Macromolecular Crystallography proposals for beam time starting fall
September 1 is the deadline for submitting new X-ray/VUV
proposals for beam time eligibility starting February 2016.
July 31 is the deadline for submitting new LCLS proposals.
Submit by 4 pm Pacific Standard Time.
Fall Beam Time Request Deadlines
August 22 is the next X-ray/VUV Beam Time Request
September 17 is the next deadline for Macromolecular
Crystallography Beam Time Requests.
Submit proposals and beam time requests through the user portal
The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) is a third-generation
light source producing extremely bright x-rays for basic and applied
research. SSRL attracts and supports scientists from around the world who
use its state-of-the-art capabilities to make discoveries that benefit society.
SSRL, a U.S. DOE Office of Science national user facility, is a Directorate of
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University for the
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SSRL Structural
Molecular Biology Program is supported by the DOE Office of Biological and
Environmental Research, and by the National Institutes of Health, National
Institute of General Medical Sciences. For more information about SSRL science,
operations and schedules, visit http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu.
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