SSRL Headline News - Vol. 22, No. 2 Sep 2021

SSRL Headline News

SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting – September 20-24, 2021

Join us for our Annual SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting this week!  The September 22nd morning plenary session will include a welcome from SLAC Director Chi-Chang Kao, an update from Linda Horton (DOE BES), facility updates and a town hall discussion with LCLS and SSRL Directors Mike Dunne and Paul McIntyre, and keynote talks by Edward Solomon (Stanford University) and Steve Johnson (ETH Zurich).  The plenary session during the morning of September 24th will feature talks by the SSRL and LCLS award recipients.  Register

September workshops 20-24 include:

Monday, September 20

Tuesday, September 21

Wednesday, September 22

Thursday, September 23

Friday, September 24

Science Highlights

Multiphase, Multiscale Chemomechanics at Extreme Low Temperatures: Battery Electrodes for Operation in a Wide Temperature RangeContact: Jizhou Li, SSRL

Lithium ion batteries (LIBs), which are widely used in consumer electronics ranging from mobile phones to electric cars, have enabled our electronics to become smaller and last longer on a charge. However, their functionality is limited by environmental conditions. Cold temperatures can cause irreversible damage to LIBs, resulting in poor functioning in almost every way, including charge capacity and battery life. The reasons for decrease in battery performance when exposed to low temperatures are not well understood.  Read more...

More SSRL-Related Science & News

A New Approach Creates an Exceptional Single-atom Catalyst for Water Splitting
Excerpt from SLAC News article by Glennda Chui

Anchoring individual iridium atoms on the surface of a catalytic particle boosted its performance in carrying out a reaction that’s been a bottleneck for sustainable energy production.

Michal Bajdich is an investigator with the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, a SLAC/Stanford joint institute where theoretical calculations were carried out. X-ray observations of the catalyst were carried out at SSRL and ALS, and computational work was performed at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).   Read more...

Closing the Gate on Manganese could Open Doors to New Drugs to Treat Pneumonia
Excerpt from SLAC News article based on a press release from the University of Melbourne

Most of us take for granted that our kids will make it to their fifth birthday, but nearly half a million children worldwide who are infected by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria each year never make it that far.  Now, University of Melbourne researchers and their colleagues have taken a step toward a new therapeutic strategy.  With data collected on an SSRL macromolecular crystallography beamline they determined the structure of a molecule that helps S. pneumoniae take up manganese, a mineral that’s essential to its survival. The findings could aid the design of new drugs to target the molecule and deny the bacteria its manganese supply.  Read more...

Remembering John Zachara

Geoscientist John Zachara who worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and served for many years on the SSRL Proposal Review Panel, died June 1 from a rare form of leukemia.  Read more...


Riti Sarangi Wins 2021 Farrel W. Lytle Award
Excerpt from SLAC News article by Jennifer Huber

Ritimukta “Riti” Sarangi is the latest recipient of the Farrel W. Lytle Award, which recognizes important contributions to synchrotron science and efforts to support users at SSRL.  

Sarangi started running experiments at SSRL in 2001, when she was a graduate research assistant at Stanford University. After earning her PhD in chemistry, she joined the SSRL staff in 2007. She is currently a senior member of the Structural Molecular Biology group at SSRL and a hard x-ray spectroscopist. 

In a nomination letter for the award, Graham George, the Canada research chair in x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the University of Saskatchewan, praised Sarangi’s contributions in research, user support, outreach and leadership.  He wrote, “I have heard Riti described by senior SSRL management as an ‘anchor at SSRL,’ and I think that this description is an accurate one.”  Read more...

Stanford Graduate Student Aisulu Aitbekova Wins 2021 Melvin P. Klein Award
Excerpt from SLAC News article by Jennifer Huber

Aisulu Aitbekova, a 2021 doctoral graduate from Stanford University, discovered her passion for research when she traveled from Kazakhstan to the U.S. for a summer internship as a chemical engineering undergraduate. She said that experience inspired her to go to graduate school. After earning a master’s in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she continued her studies at Stanford under the supervision of Matteo Cargnello, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and Aitbekova’s doctoral adviser. Much of her thesis work involved beamline studies at SSRL.

Now, Aitbekova has been selected to receive the 2021 Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award, which recognizes outstanding research accomplishments by undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows within three years of completing their doctoral degrees.  This year the award recognizes Aitbekova's work on catalysts, including a new catalyst that may revolutionize car emission controls.  Read more...


DOE’s Office of Science is now Accepting Applications for Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Awards

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is pleased to announce that the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications for the 2021 Solicitation 2 cycle. Applications are due 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

SSRL is pleased to engage with potential candidates that wish to work at SSRL in one of our science programs – please reach out to any of the Division Directors at for potential projects.

The SCGSR program supports awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory or host site in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist — with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission. SCGSR is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. Since its inception in 2014, the SCGSR program has provided support to over 700 graduate awardees from 150 different U.S. universities to conduct thesis research at all 17 DOE national laboratories across the nation.  More information can be found at

New U.S. Particle Accelerator School Scholarship

The U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS) recently announced a new Sekazi K. Mtingwa Scholarship, created to encourage the participation of underrepresented students who are studying Accelerator Science and Engineering.  The scholarship is a merit-based award that provides full funding for African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American and Alaskan Native students to attend a USPAS session and is named in honor of Prof. Sekazi K. Mtingwa, a prominent accelerator physicist with a long and distinguished career in academia and the U.S national labs. Among his many achievements, Mtingwa is a co-recipient of the 2017 Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators, an APS Fellow and a co-founder of the National Society of Black Physicists.  More information on the scholarship and on Prof. Mtingwa can be found at .

Call for Papers: The Commemorative Volume for D. A. Shirley in J. Vac. Sci. Tech. A

This Special Topic Collection commemorates the work and career of David Arthur Shirley. The goal is to have a broad and deep range of articles connected to Dave Shirley, encompassing scientific achievements from all of the fields in which he worked, including both historical and current articles as well as his role as the Founding Father of the ALS.  See:


Electron Microscopy-X International Symposium, October 4, 2021, 8:009:30 a.m. (PDT)
Join the Stanford EM-X community for our monthly symposium featuring talks by Wolfgang Baumeister, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry Martinsried, Germany and Nestor J. Zaluzec, Argonne National Laboratory.  Registration is free and open to all!   EM-X Website  

AVS 67th International Symposium, October 2429, 2021, Charlotte, North Carolina - AVS67 website

US Accelerator Particle School Winter Schedule
Due to travel restrictions and increased pandemic risks, USPAS courses will be offered online again this coming winter.  Class sizes are limited. Priority will be given to those who enroll for credit/a grade. The Registration Fee for a full 4-week course or two 2-week half courses is $500.00. The fee for attending one 2-week half course is $350.00. University/college students and postdocs within 5 years of graduation may request a scholarship. Visit the USPAS website for full details, course outlines and an application form.

User Research Administration

Beam Time Request Deadline

  • Xray/VUV for February - April 2022 scheduling - November 1, 2021

Proposal Deadlines

  • Xray/VUV - November 1, 2021
  • Macromolecular Crystallography - December 1, 2021
  • COVID-19 related proposals for beam time at SSRL and microscope time at our CryoEM facility can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed expeditiously.
  • CryoEM biology-related proposals for the S2C2 program are due on the last day of each month and are being reviewed on a monthly basis.

Submit beam time requests and proposals through the User Portal

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