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Vol. 17, No. 6 - January 2017

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From Our Director

Excerpted from Office of Science Profile Series on Directors of DOE-Funded User Facilities


"One of the wonderful things about a new job is you learn a lot about yourself. It became clear to me quite quickly why it made sense for me to take the job as Director of SSRL; having this role really clarified what I care most about. I believe in science, I believe in service, and I believe in people. And our facility is a great way to fulfill those beliefs in parallel.  We have 130 staff members that have an enormous diversity of jobs – administrative services to physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, technicians. It is an organization with the purpose to facilitate the U.S. scientific community. Our role is one of assistance.  We also drive independent science, but with the long-term goal of serving the research needs of the U.S. and international community to come and do science here."  Read more...

Science Highlights


Unraveling the Atomic Scale Lithiation of Crystalline Silicon Contacts: Hans-Georg Steinrück (SSRL), Chuntian Cao (Stanford University) and Michael F. Toney (SSRL)

Lithium ion batteries are critical to many portable consumer electric devices, but they still do not have a high enough energy storage capacity for some applications, such as electric cars. Researchers and engineers are working to improve these batteries by changing the materials used. Using silicon as the anode has been promising, showing up to 10-fold higher capacity than the currently used graphite-based anode material.  However, commercialization is still limited because the silicon expands and contracts dramatically when charged and discharged, causing cracking and pulverization that limit the battery lifetime.  Read more...


Inhibition of the Gas6/Axl Pathway Augments the Efficacy of Chemotherapies Contacts: Jennifer Cochran and Amato Giaccia (Stanford University)

The presence of the receptor tyrosine kinase Axl on tumor cells is correlated with disease severity and thus is an important oncology target.  Developing inhibitors to Axl has been met with limited success due to the tight affinity with which Axl binds its ligand, growth arrest-specific 6 (Gas6). Researchers have engineered a soluble “receptor decoy,” called MYD1, based on Axl’s ligand-binding domain, that binds Gas6 even more tightly than Axl does.  Read more...

More SSRL-Related Science

Researchers Use World's Smallest Diamonds to Make Wires Three Atoms Wide

Excerpted from December 26, 2016 SLAC Press Release


Scientists at Stanford University and SIMES have discovered a way to use diamondoids – the smallest possible bits of diamond – to assemble atoms into the thinnest possible electrical wires, just three atoms wide.

By grabbing various types of atoms and putting them together LEGO-style, the new technique could potentially be used to build tiny wires for a wide range of applications, including fabrics that generate electricity, optoelectronic devices that employ both electricity and light, and superconducting materials that conduct electricity without any loss. The scientists reported their results in the December 26, 2016 issue of Nature Materials (10.1038/nmat4823).  Read more...

Upcoming Events

RapiData 2017 at SSRL – Data Collection and Structure Solving: A Practical Course in Macromolecular X-ray Diffraction Measurement, April 16-21, 2017 

The announcement, agenda, registration and additional information are now available at the RapiData 2017 website

canSAS-IX Meeting, June 5-7, 2017, San Francisco, CA

Please join us in San Francisco for canSAS-IX Meeting from June 5-7, 2017. The meeting will be hosted jointly between the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The collective action for nomadic materials science small angle scatterers (canSAS) is an ongoing activity to provide the small-angle scattering user community with shared tools and information. For more information please visit both canSAS and the meeting website


Call for User Publications, Theses, Awards, Patents

Please let us know about 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 our funding agencies.

SSRL provides technical tools for world-leading science with the understanding that significant results are to be publicly disseminated. Please remember to acknowledge SSRL in ALL publications resulting from use of SSRL beam lines. This acknowledgement of SSRL is relevant even when final results are obtained at other facilities. If SSRL is not acknowledged in your paper or supplementary material, we are not able to include it on our list or report it to our funding agencies. Your assistance is essential to help us to meet our mission requirements, including assessment and reporting. More information is available on our publications page.

SSRL Beam Line Status Twitter Account

SSRL has created Twitter account @SSRL_beamlines as a resource for users.  This account provides up-to-date information regarding the status of SPEAR3 as well as important changes to the user program. You can receive automatic notifications when you have beam time by selecting “Turn on mobile notifications” on the Twitter page of @SSRL_beamlines. Follow us at:  

Cyber Security and ES&H Online Training Changes

Cyber Security and Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) have recently implemented changes to improve the training process across the lab.  Users completing online safety training for their first visit to SSRL should now take the following courses:

  • Cyber Security Training for Lab Users – CS100 (or CS200, a more in-depth course primarily intended for SLAC staff)  
  • Orientation to ESH – 219
  • GERT – 115

Users who have already taken 396 or 219 will be offered the option of taking Orientation Refresher Training (ES&H 219R), which provides a test-out option.  Non-expired training has been grandfathered so that staff and users do not need to take the new courses until their training is expiring.

User Research Administration

SSRL Beam Time Request Deadlines

  • February 22, 2017 – X-ray / VUV (May through July beam time)

SSRL Proposal Deadlines

  • April 1, 2017 – Macromolecular Crystallography
  • June 1, 2017 – X-ray / VUV

Note: Rapid Access Requests for selected beam lines can be submitted at any time.  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

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn