SSRL Headline News is also available online 

Vol. 16, No. 9 - April 2016

View the Archives
**Note for Outlook users: For easier reading, please click the bar at the
top of this message that reads "This message was converted to plain
text" and select "Display as HTML."**

Science Highlights


Observing Oxygen Atoms Move during Information Storage in Tantalum Oxide MemristorsContact: Suhas Kumar (Hewlett Packard Labs)

Theorized decades ago and currently being developed into useable technology, memristors are passive memory storage units especially useful for nanoelectronics. Memristors could replace the ageing flash memory in the near future. Memristors are usually made of a transition metal oxide layered between two metallic electrodes and are able to change their resistance in a non-volatile way between two states depending on an applied voltage.  Read more...


X-ray Study Reveals How a Silver Contacts to Silicon Solar Cells FormContact: Mike Toney, SSRL

Most solar panels use technology that employs a silver-silicon interface. Because silver is expensive and the lead used in the creation of this interface is toxic, researchers are interested searching for other materials that could work instead of these components. A team of scientists are working to understand the process involved in the silver-silicon contact formation so that alternatives that perform the same function can be found.  Read more...

See SLAC News Release:  X-rays Reveal How a Solar Cell Gets Its Silver Stripes

Workshop Summary

Biological Small-Angle X-ray Diffraction Workshop Attracts Experienced and New Users

The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology program held a 3-day comprehensive workshop on the use of non-crystalline small-angle x-ray scattering and diffraction (SAXS) techniques in structural biology research.  The workshop focused on solution x-ray scattering studies on biological macromolecules and macromolecular complexes. It covered the basic theory of small angle scattering, experimental aspects of solution scattering, as well as recent applications of solution scattering in structural biology research. It had particular focus on extensive software and data analysis tutorials, covering all aspects from basic SAXS analysis to advanced modeling methods.  Some participants brought their own samples, for which data were measured during data collection tutorials at SSRL Beam Line 4-2, and analyzed during the workshop; other data sets were made available.  The workshop trained 24 participants, with the in-depth engagement of 10 speakers/tutors from universities and national labs, including SBM staff.  The workshop was enabled by funding from NIH NIGMS and DOE BER.

The SMB SAXS facility at BL4-2 will this summer take delivery of a Dectris Pilatus3 X 1M detector, awarded through a successful NIH S10 grant application, which will significantly enhance the time-resolved SAXS capabilities.

SSRL-Stanford Science Links in the News

Peering Deep into Materials with Ultrafast Science

Excerpted from March 31, 2016 Stanford News Article

Creating the batteries or electronics of the future requires understanding materials that are just a few atoms thick and that change their fundamental physical properties in fractions of a second. The cutting-edge facilities at SLAC (SSRL and LCLS) and Stanford University have allowed researchers like Aaron Lindenberg to visualize properties of these nanoscale materials at ultrafast time scales.  Read more...

Your One-stop Shop for Producing, Crystallizing Biomolecules

Excerpted from April 21, 2016 Stanford Medicine News Center Article

A new center has been established on Stanford University's campus to help Stanford researchers produce biomolecules and crystallize them, for subsequent structural studies using the SSRL beam line facilities.

Housed in the basement of the Shriram Center, the "Macromolecular Structure Knowledge Center" contains equipment and resources for producing and crystallizing biological molecules. Among the incubators full of cells churning out molecules and crystals slowly growing in stacks of lab dishes, you’ll also find Marc Deller who heads MSKC. He serves as a bridge between Stanford scientists hoping to understand molecular structures and SLAC, which has SSRL and LCLS for carrying out x-ray crystallography and other structural biology techniques.  Read more...

Upcoming Events

Ultrafast X-ray Summer Seminar (UXSS) - June 12-16, 2016

UXSS 2016 is a four-day program hosted by Stanford University's PULSE Institute at SLAC. UXSS 2016 is organized in collaboration with the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science at DESY in Hamburg, Germany.

The goal of UXSS 2016 is to disseminate information and train students and post-docs on new opportunities in ultrafast science, particularly using X-ray Free Electron Lasers. Lectures will be presented by expert scientists in this exciting new field. The attendees will be expected to participate in the discussions and prepare a mock beam time proposal poster.  Registration closes May 13, 2016

NUFO Annual Meeting - June 14-16, 2016, Livermore, CA

Register to participate in the 2016 Annual Meeting of the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on June 14-16, 2016.

Key Topics:

  • Federated Systems and Information Standards:  Potential Benefits to Users, Facility Mangers, and Administrators
  • Business Intelligence and Data Analysis Software Tools:  What Tools are Available, Who is Using Them, and Why
  • Streamlining Training and Facility Access and Improving the User Experience

NUFO Meeting website

Workshop on Research Opportunities in Photochemistry, Solar Energy and Advanced X-ray Methods - June 16-17, 2016

The focus of this workshop is on fundamental questions in solar energy conversion and potential opportunities where advanced x-ray methods may have a significant impact.  The workshop will be organized with plenary talks in the morning sessions, followed by targeted breakout sessions for discussion and additional talks in the afternoon.  The primary goals of the workshop are to:  Facilitate the exchange of ideas and foster collaborations between scientists focused on solar energy conversion and researchers with particular expertise in time-resolved x-ray science; Identify challenges and opportunities for time-resolved x-ray methods for addressing problems in basic energy science; and Propose development paths for the most compelling science areas. There will be 3 breakout sessions:  (1) Nano- and solid state materials for solar energy conversion; (2) Molecular materials for solar energy conversion; (3) Fundamental chemistry and physics of light driven phenomena in molecular and nanomaterials. Registration will open soon. For more information, contact Kelly Gaffney or Robert Schoenlein.  Workshop website

XRS 2016 - 8th SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques - June 21-23, 2016

Organizing Chairs: Apurva Mehta, Kevin Stone, Chris Tassone, Hongping Yan, and Mike Toney

This 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
  • a session of diffraction theory
  • a session on diffraction data analysis

The school will also cover new instrumentation at SSRL scattering beam lines.  XRS 2016 website

SSRL Summer School on Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy - July 18-22, 2016

Organizing Chair: Ritimukta Sarangi

The 2016 SSRL Summer School on Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy will be held July 18-22, 2016. The five-day session will provide training in XAS theory, experimental design, data acquisition strategies and FEFF based EXAFS data analysis useful to both new and experienced users. Examples will be highlighted in various fields. A two-day practical training session will focus on teaching detailed sample preparation and data acquisition procedures at SSRL Beam Lines 11-2, 7-3 and 9-3. Data processing and analysis techniques will be covered on subsequent days and will include introductions to EXAFS data fitting on simple systems leading into more involved data analysis methods to tackle difficult problems. The final day will be targeted towards experienced users and will include lectures on near-edge analysis techniques, combining advanced spectroscopic techniques with EXAFS and guidelines for proper reporting of EXAFS data. A 1-on-1 session for in-depth analysis of specific problems will be held on the afternoon of the final day.

Participants must first apply to attend through a web portal that will soon be available from the SSRL home web page. Once accepted, the participant will be informed about the registration process. Space is limited and interested participants are requested to submit an application early. The application deadline is May 10, 2016 and accepted participants will be notified by May 20, 2016 to register.  EXAFS 2016 website

12th International Conference on Biology and Synchrotron Radiation - August 21-24, 2016

The International Biology and Synchrotron Radiation (BSR) meetings are held every three years with the aim of presenting and discussing state of the art applications in relevant research fields, providing a unique opportunity to discuss the novel possibilities of synchrotrons and x-ray lasers and to promote their applications to challenging biological problems.

This meeting provides a forum for scientists involved in research and development on synchrotron and free electron laser sources to come together with a broad community of biologists, with the ambition to make the best use of the most advanced infrastructures in structural biology. Possible applications range from atomic-resolution and time-resolved structures of biological macromolecules, medium resolution images of the largest molecular complexes in the living word, and cellular and sub-cellular structures.

Scientists at all possible career levels are invited to this meeting – ranging from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and principal investigators both from academia and industry. There will be ample opportunities for individual presentations.  Abstracts are due by May 30, 2016.  Conference website


Workshop Planning Underway for SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference

Organizing Committees

Plan to attend our Annual SSRL/LCLS Users' Conference and Workshops to be held at SLAC October 5-7, 2016. Contact the organizing committee to share your input on potential invited speakers. The list of tentative workshop topics is under discussion and consolidation, and further information will be available in the May Newsletter and on the meeting website.

User Research Administration

Proposal Deadlines

June 1, 2016 - SSRL X-ray/VUV Proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning in fall 2016)

July 1, 2016 - SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning fall 2016)

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

To unsubscribe from SSRL Headlines, just send an e-mail to with "signoff ssrl-headlines" in the body.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to with "subscribe ssrl-headlines" in the body.

Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn