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Vol. 14, No. 6 - January 2014
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From the Director


We are now well into the FY2014 run, SPEAR3 continues to operate exceptionally well, we have brought several beam lines back on line and are aggressively pursuing a number of beam line construction and upgrade projects.

However, I want to focus my message in this newsletter on user access issues that have arisen this month due to SLAC’s recent implementation of a new administrative system that has impacted a number of processes, including your ability to get through the automated gates. This primarily impacts how quickly we can bring users onto the experimental floor so you can get to work.

If you all would do the following BEFORE arriving at SLAC, you probably won’t have any problems:

1.  Complete all required training at least 48 hours before you arrive, and bring a hard copy of the training certificates. 

2.  Make sure to review the check-in procedures since they may have changed since your last visit.  For example, SLAC Traffic Safety Training (Course #154) is a recent requirement for gate access.

3.  If you have training but are coming to SSRL for reasons other than beam time, let URA know so we can make sure your badge is approved for entry.

4.  If you arrive without having done your training and run into problems, call URA (650-926-2079) so we can help.

5.  Reminder:  unless you are certain that your badge will get you through SLAC’s automated gates, stop first at the Security Office by the main gate.

We are working with the project team to get these problems resolved as soon as possible.  Please bear with us during this transition period.

Science Highlight


Discovery of a Single Topological Dirac Fermion in the Strong Inversion Asymmetric Compound BiTeCl Contacts: Yulin Chen, Stanford University, Oxford University and Zhi-Xun Shen, Stanford University

Topological insulators comprise a new state of quantum matter that has been predicted theoretically and realized experimentally in the past few years. Strong inversion asymmetry in topological insulators could lead to many interesting phenomena, such as pyroelectricity, intrinsic topological p-n junctions and topological magneto-electric effects.

Researchers using Beam Line 5-4 at SSRL and  Beam Line 10.0.1 at the ALS have shown the compound BiTeCl to be the first topological insulator with a strong inversion asymmetric crystal structure. Read more...


Operations Report

For the week beginning January 20, SPEAR3 was up 98.3% of the scheduled time, the average uptime to date for our current experimental run is at 97%, the MTBF is 52 hrs.  The Average uptime for the injector is 98.6%.  

For a live beam line status report, please see our SPEAR3 status page. Our operating/maintenance and beam time schedules are available on our Experimental Run Schedule page. For more beam line specific information visit our beam line pages.

Temporary Food Service Available during Construction of New Cafeteria in Science and User Support Building

The SLAC Cafe, auditorium and visitor center have been closed and will be replaced with a new Science and User Support Building (SUSB). During this construction (2013-2015), temporary food service will be provided by the Cardinal Chef Mobile Gourmet food trucks, 11am - 2pm in front of SLAC Building 27. Lunch menus are posted online.  See map

Upcoming Events

  • AAAS Symposium:  U.S. National User Facilities, a Major Force for Discovery and Innovation (February 15, 2014)

    The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) is partnering with the DOE Office of Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sponsor a symposium at the 2014 AAAS meeting in Chicago. The symposium, America's National User Facilities, a Major Force for Discovery and Innovation, will be held 8:30-11:30 am on Saturday, February 15, 2 014 in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Please inform your colleagues and plan to participate to help raise awareness about the benefits of using our facilities.

    America's national scientific user facilities provide unique capabilities, instrumentation, and expertise annually to approximately 50,000 scientists and engineers from academia, government, and industry. For many of these individuals, a user facility is their laboratory—their primary platform for experimental research—and they gain access to these unique tools through peer-reviewed proposals. Much of the research is basic (discovery) research, but the rich interdisciplinary environment promotes interactions among scientists from diverse fields, institutional types, and countries to facilitate the translation of these discovery findings into solutions to real-world problems. This symposium will provide an overview of the capabilities offered by these national facilities, and will highlight outstanding recent examples of discovery and innovation stemming from work at these user facilities, including the development of energy-harvesting “solar shingles,” the discovery of the structure of key biological molecules, the development of new drugs, and the discovery and the contributions to our understanding of fundamental science.

    The symposium will conclude with presentations by the major federal sponsors of the user facilities with reserved time for discussion of the policy challenges facing this key facet of America's scientific enterprise now and into the future. The speakers are Eric Isaacs (Director Argonne National Laboratory and soon-to-be Provost of The University of Chicago), Roger Falcone (Director Advanced Light Source at LBNL), Stephen Wasserman (Senior Research Fellow, Eli Lilly and Company), Eric Gawiser (Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University), Patricia Dehmer (Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of Science, DOE), and F. Fleming Crim (Assistant Director for Mathematics and Physical Sciences, NSF)

  • Save the Date: SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences, June 3-5, 2014

    The 7th SSRL SRXRS (Synchrotron Radiation-based X-ray Scattering techniques) School will provide a practical users' guide to planning and conducting scattering measurements at SSRL beam lines, and will cover important techniques including small angle scattering, thin-film scattering, powder diffraction, structure refinement and surface x-ray scattering. The school will address topics that are not commonly included in text books or class lectures, and typically obtained only through on-the-experiment training. There will be hands-on sessions at SSRL beam lines and session of diffraction theory and on data analysis. The school will also cover new instrumentation at SSRL scattering beam lines. This year's school, which will take place June 3-5, is organized by: Apurva Mehta, Stefan Mannsfeld, Chris Tassone, and Mike Toney.

  • Save the Date: High Power Laser Workshop, October 7-8, 2014

  • Save the Date: SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and Workshops, October 8-11, 2014

User Research Administration

  • Beam Time Request Deadline

    X-ray/VUV Beam Time Requests for the May through August scheduling cycle are due by February 20.  Please submit these requests through the user portal.

  • Proposal Deadlines

    X-ray/VUV proposals can be submitted three times a year: June 1, and September 1 and December 1

    Macromolecular Crystallography proposals can be submitted April 1 and July 1 and December 1.

    LCLS proposals are due February 11, 2014

    Submit beam time requests and proposals through the user portal.

  • Inform Us of Publications

    SSRL provides technical tools for world-leading science at no charge for scientists who conduct non-proprietary research, with the understanding that significant results are to be publicly disseminated. Scientists must acknowledge use of the facility in presentations and publications and must inform the facility of all publications, theses, awards, patents and other forms of recognition resulting from research conducted fully or partially at SSRL. These metrics of scientific achievements and productivity are extremely important to the facility and to funding agencies. Please contact us as results are about to be published so that we can work with you to more broadly communicate your research. More information and acknowledgement statements can be found on our publications page.

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

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn