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Vol. 18, No. 9 - April 2018

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Science Highlight ______________________________________________________

Negative-pressure Polymorphs Made by Heterostructural Alloying Contacts: Laura Schelhas (SSRL) and Andriy Zakutayev (NREL)


Altering the phase of physical, chemical, pharmaceutical, geologic and other materials can alter their properties and function; these different structures are called polymorphs. Scientists create these polymorphs to discover materials with useful, new properties, often by increasing the ambient pressure during their formation. However, largely due to difficulties created by negative-pressure systems, people haven’t explored polymorphs resulting from lowering the pressure. A team of researchers was able to explore the possibilities of negative pressure polymorphs through a new synthesis protocol termed heterostructural alloying.  Read more...

See also May 1, 2018 SLAC News Feature by Glennda Chui


SSRL-Related News _____________________________________________________

SSRL Legend Gives the Lab His Lifetime Collection of Precious Foils

Excerpt from April 23, 2018 SLAC News by Bobbi Fagone


Scientists who conduct experiments at SSRL have received an unusual and highly valuable gift—a library of element calibration foils for a technique used to understand the structure of matter called x-ray absorption spectroscopy. The foils were donated by entrepreneur, scientist and x-ray spectroscopy pioneer, Farrel W. Lytle, and include precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, iridium and many other elements in the periodic table.  Read more


Scientists Use Machine Learning to Speed Discovery of Metallic Glass


Excerpt from April 13, 2018 SLAC Today by Glennda Chui

SSRL and its collaborators are transforming the way new materials are discovered. In a new report, they combine artificial intelligence and accelerated experiments to discover potential alternatives to steel in a fraction of the time.  Read more...

See also April 13, 2018 Chemical & Engineering News by Sam Lemonick

Honors and Awards _____________________________________________________

Judith Frydman, Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Excerpt from April 18, 2018 Stanford News article by Melissa De Witte


Nine members of the Stanford faculty are among the 213 new members who have been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious honorary learned societies.

Among them is Judith Frydman, Professor of Genetics and Biology and the Donald Kennedy Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences, whose research aims to understand how proteins fold in living cells. The Frydman lab has used beam lines at SSRL and more recently the new CryoEM facility at SLAC to further these studies.  Read more


Uwe Bergmann Speaks at Moossa J. Arman Physics Colloquium: Science and Innovation


Uwe Bergmann, distinguished staff scientist in the SLAC Energy Sciences Directorate and SSRL user, was honored with an invitation to speak at the Moossa J. Arman Physics Colloquium: Science and Innovation on April 16, 2018. The colloquium was presented by the UCLA Physics & Astronomy Department for innovation in physics. Uwe shared his research activities on x-ray fluorescence imaging in ancient materials like fossils and the Archimedes Palimpsest. Read more...

Upcoming Events ______________________________________________________

  • International Day of Light: May 16, 2018,

    SSRL is joining to participate in the International Day of Light on May 16 with a LIGHT IN SCIENCE PhotoWall (follow #IDL2018).  Register before May 13 to share a picture of your work, your research, your day to day life in science at our Lightsource. Thank you and spread the light in science on 16th May!
  • Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2018): June 10-15, 2018, Taiwan  Conference website
  • PULSE Ultrafast X-ray Summer Seminar 2018: June 24-28, 2018  Seminar website
  • SSURF Annual Meeting 2018: June 26-28, 2018, College Park, Maryland
    This year’s meeting will focus on user facilities as a critical and under-recognized component of the nation’s infrastructure.  Early Bird registration is available until April 15, and all attendees must pre-register by June 1.  Event website
  • 50 Years of Synchrotron Radiation in the UK and Its Global Impact (UKSR50): June 26-29, 2018, Liverpool, UK  Conference website
  • 9th SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: July 16-18, 2018
    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.  School website
  • Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory – 2018 National School on Neutron & X-ray Scattering: July 22-August 4, 2018  Event website
  • SSRL Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Summer School: August 13-16, 2018
    The four-day session will provide training in XAS and EXAFS theory, experimental design, data acquisition strategies and FEFF based EXAFS data analysis useful to both new and experienced users. This year's school will include training material for SSRL's expanding Chemical Catalysis user base and a one-day session at the beamlines will focus on sample preparation and advanced experimental instrumentation for standard and in-situ / in-operando measurements. 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 focus of this years analysis sessions will be on advanced EXAFS fitting and interpretation. A half-day session 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. Summer school website
  • SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Meeting at SLAC: September 25-28, 2018  Meeting website
  • Advanced Light Source – 6th International DLSR Workshop: October 29-31, 2018, LBNL  Workshop website

Announcement _________________________________________________________

Watch Your Step!

Rattlesnakes are not uncommon in this area, and this is the season they are more likely to be encountered. They can be difficult to see, but be aware and look for snakes, especially when walking on paths near their habitat. If you do see one, give it space and it will likely leave you alone. If it is in a location where it might hurt someone, call SLAC Security at 650-926-5555.

User Research Administration ______________________________________________

SSRL user operations will be shut down during these scheduled breaks:

  • May 29 - June 4, 2018
  • July 4, 2018
  • July 23, 2018 through mid-October 2018 for facility upgrades and maintenance before the FY2019 user run resumes

SSRL Beam Time Request Deadline

  • August 8, 2018 – X-ray / VUV

SSRL Proposal Deadlines

  • May 1, 2018 – X-ray / VUV  (for beam time eligibility beginning fall 2018)   
  • July 1, 2018 – Macromolecular Crystallography (for beam time eligibility beginning fall 2018)
  • August 1, 2018 – X-ray / VUV (for beam time eligibility beginning in 2019)

See SSRL Proposal & Scheduling Guidelines and 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 Tomoko Nakai or Lisa Dunn