Science at SSRL

Roger Kornberg with a depiction of RNA polymerase II.
Roger Kornberg: RNA polymerase II.

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) produces extremely bright x-rays used to study our world at the atomic and molecular level. As one of five lightsources funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, SSRL enables research that benefits every sector of the American economy and leads to major advances in energy production, environmental remediation, nanotechnology, new materials and medicine. SSRL also provides unique educational experiences and serves as a vital training ground for students in the sciences.

Materials Sciences

The SSRL Materials Science program is focused on several specific areas in which SSRL can make the most important impact. First, we provide and develop comprehensive tools and methodologies in support of the national “Materials Genome” initiative, focusing in particular on materials for sustainable energy. Second, we provide and develop tools and methodologies to understand the wide range of phenomena emerging from complex systems, in particular strongly correlated electron materials such as high temperature superconductors as well as the magnetic materials and semiconductors needed for emerging consumer products.
Materials Sciences Home

Chemistry & Catalysis

SSRL is growing its already strong capabilities in chemistry and catalysis, driving new directions in science-based design and rapid characterization of catalysts for efficient energy production; fundamental probing of surface reactivity and bonding; enzyme catalysis and bio-inspired catalysts for sustainable energy; and molecular biogeochemistry and subsurface interfacial science.
Chemistry & Catalysis Home

Structural Molecular Biology & Structural Genomics

SSRL is a pioneer in the development of new and enhanced approaches for the investigation of biomolecular structure and function, contributing to both basic scientific knowledge and translational research. With an already extensive crystallography user program known for advanced automation, high-throughput, and remote access capabilities, SSRL is developing new technologies for structure determination of the most challenging and complex systems.
SMB Home & Structural Genomics website
SSRL SMB Program

Third Generation Light Source – SPEAR3

SPEAR3 Accelerator
SPEAR3 Accelerator

SSRL utilizes x-rays produced by its accelerator, the Stanford Positron Electron Asymmetric Ring (SPEAR3). Based on a 2004 upgrade funded by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, SPEAR3 is a 3-GeV, high-brightness third generation storage ring operating with high reliability and emittance. SSRL now runs in top-off mode, during which the beam current is kept constant with the frequent injection of electrons into the ring. SSRL plans to increase the SPEAR3 current to 500 mA, increasing the brightness further—which will be especially beneficial to micro-beam studies such as in macromolecular crystallography and microXAS imaging.

SPEAR3 Performance

  • 350 mA with 1% stability
  • Tested up to 500 mA
  • >98% availability
  • <10 nm emittance
  • <7 picoseconds at ~0.28 mA in low a mode

Injector Performance

  • Injection every 10 minutes
  • Can deliver <1% current stability at 500 mA
  • >98% availability
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