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Vol. 18, No. 10 - May 2018

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From the Director ______________________________________________________


The Biological Science Division and cryo-EM program, previously within the Energy Sciences Directorate of SLAC, moved to the SSRL Directorate effective May 9. This move organizationally consolidates tools and expertise in imaging and structural biology, and leverages existing operational infrastructure to increase synergy between cryo-EM and SSRL user facilities.


Science Highlights ______________________________________________________

Charge Heterogeneity and Surface Chemistry in Polycrystalline Cathode Materials Contacts: Yijin Liu, Dennis Nordlund (SSRL) and Marca Doeff (LBNL)


Local differences in a battery’s structure and chemistry can lead to problems with function, such local over-charging or under-charging, and can affect the ability to hold charge. Understanding these heterogeneities is important for engineering well-functioning batteries but they are difficult to measure and study.  Scientists usually use either an electrochemical process or a chemical process to prepare materials when studying lithium ion battery heterogeneity at different state of charge. Both of these have flaws: the electrochemical process is close to real-life behavior but experiments may be complicated by structural complexity, and the chemical delithiation process creates a simpler structure but may not properly reflect real-world applications.  Read more...


Stable Solvent for Solution-based Electrical Doping of Semiconducting Polymer Films and Its Application to Organic Solar Cells Contacts: Tzu-Yen Huang and Michael F. Toney (SSRL)


Organic semiconductors are crystals or thin films composed of carbon-based molecules bonded together though covalent “π-bonds” that provide conductivity. These organic semiconductors can be used for organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices, which show promise as an alternative to traditional solar cells with possible applications in building integrated photovoltaics. As with conventional semiconductors, such as silicon, doping organic semiconductors with specific impurities is needed to improve the electrical properties. One effective method for doping, using 12-molybdophosphoric acid hydrate (PMA), was discovered recently but requires the use of the unstable solvent nitromethane.  Read more...

SSRL-Related News _____________________________________________________

NIH Funds Three National Cryo-EM Service Centers and Training for New Microscopists

Excerpt from May 15, 2015 NIH News Releases

scientists’ access to cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy program is creating three national cryo-EM service centers to provide access to the technology and is supporting the development of cryo-EM training curricula to build a skilled workforce. As one of the centers, SLAC will provide scientists with access to state-of-the-art cryo-EM technology and training, from sample preparation to collection of high-resolution data and computational analysis.  Read more

See also SLAC News.

SLAC's Director Chi-Chang Kao Featured in STEM Research Blog

The DOE's Energy Blog featured SLAC's Director, Professor Chi-Chang Kao on May 30, 2018, and the path he took toward a career in STEM - a field that rewards curiosity and persistence, and teaches problem-solving skills that can be applied anywhere. Kao was previously the SSRL Director. See article

Workshop Summary ______________________________________________________

RapiData 2018 Workshop

The RapiData 2018 workshop in Macromolecular X-ray Crystallography was held at SSRL during April 22-27, 2018. The workshop was hosted by the Structural Molecular Biology (SMB) group. The aim of this practical course is to educate and train young scientists in data collection and processing methods at synchrotron beam lines, using state-of-the-art software and instrumentation. The co-organizers of the 2018 course were Silvia Russi, Clyde Smith and Ana Gonzalez.

The 2018 course attracted 41 early career scientists, mainly postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers, but also some master students, research staff and junior faculty from around the world. One important mandate for all the previous RapiData courses has been to encourage attendance by young scientists from Latin America with the assistance of scholarships from the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr). The first three days of the course comprised lectures on the fundamentals of crystallography (Sunday) and topics ranging from sample preparation, light sources, beam line instrumentation, sample preparation, data collection and processing, indexing, integration, phasing and complementary techniques, including small angle x-ray scattering and in situ microspectrophotometry (Monday and Tuesday). Participants were also able to tour the serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) facilities at the LCLS XFEL. Hands-on tutorials on data reduction and structure solving software started on Tuesday evening and ran in parallel with sample preparation and data collection tutorials at four SSRL beam lines over Wednesday and Thursday.  The course ended on Friday morning with the awards to the winners of the IUCr and Stanford Bio-X travel scholarships. Both students and speakers and tutors expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the course.


Honors and Awards _____________________________________________________

SSRL User and Stanford Chemistry Professor, Carolyn Bertozzi, Elected to Royal Society


Excerpt from May 15, 2018 Stanford News Service

Carolyn Bertozzi, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, has been elected as one of this year’s ten new Foreign Members to the Royal Society for her pioneering work in the field of bioorthogonal chemistry. The Royal Society is the oldest national scientific institution made up of the world’s most distinguished scientists, engineers and technologists. Bertozzi will be formally admitted to the Society at the Admissions Day ceremony in London in July, when she will sign her name in the Society’s Charter Book, alongside such legendary scientists as Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford and Stephen Hawking.  Read more...


Submit Nominations for Annual SSRL User & Staff Awards

Please take a few minutes to reflect on accomplishments from your group and the overall user community. Recognize outstanding achievements of your colleagues, postdocs, students (or yourself) by submitting nominations for the following awards.

William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award – Submit Nominations by July 1

The $1,000 Spicer Young Investigator Award honors the professional and personal contributions that William E. and Diane M. Spicer made to our community. Submit nomination packages including a letter summarizing the scientific contributions of the candidate as well as their CV and publications (supporting letters also encouraged).

Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award – Submit Nominations by August 1

This $1,000 award honoring Mel Klein's many contributions recognizes research accomplishments of undergraduate/graduate students or postdoctoral fellows within three years of receiving their Ph.D. This award provides peer recognition and helps to promote dissemination of results based on work performed at SSRL. The nomination package should include the candidate’s CV, letters of recommendation from the advisor and colleagues, as well as an abstract written by the candidate describing the SSRL related experiments, scientific results, and plans to present the findings.

Farrel W. Lytle Award – Submit Nominations by August 5

The $1,000 Lytle Award was established to promote technical or scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster collaboration and efficient use of beam time at SSRL. SSRL users and staff are eligible to be nominated for the Lytle Award. Letters of nominations should include a summary of the individual's contributions and why they should be recognized through this award. Supporting letters are welcome.

Send nomination packages for these awards to Cathy Knotts by the above deadlines. These awards will be presented at the SSRL/LCLS Annual Users’ Conference, September 25-28, 2018. The recipients of the Spicer and Klein awards will be asked to give a presentation on his/her research during the plenary session of the Users' Conference on September 27.

Upcoming Events ______________________________________________________

  • 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  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  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  School website
  • SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Meeting at SLAC: September 25-28, 2018  Meeting website

    Planning is well underway for our Annual SSRL/LCLS Users' Conference. A plenary session with a poster session, awards and invited speakers is planned for September 27. Workshops covering the following topics will be held:

    • Metals in Biology/Bioinorganic Chemistry
    • Catalysis by Single Metal Atoms: What is All the Fuss About?
    • High-Pressure Materials, Energy, and Environmental Sciences Using SSRL and LCLS
    • LCLS-II Early Science
    • Joint CryoEM/SSRL SMB Workshop
    • Dynamic Phenomena Revealed by Non-Linear Optical Spectroscopy
    • Machine Learning for X-ray Science: From Machine Optimization to Experimental Planning
    • Advancing Informational Gain from Synchrotron Techniques in Subsurface Science
    • Defects and Interfaces in Batteries Probed by Synchrotron X-ray Techniques
    • Computational Workflows for X-ray Science
    • Sample Delivery
    • Gas Phase Chemistry from Femto- to Attosecond Physics
    • User-Focused Beam Line Control and Monitoring for X-ray Science
    • Tips to Communicate your Science

    We anticipate that registration will open at the conference website in June. We look forward to your feedback and participation!

  • Advanced Light Source – 6th International DLSR Workshop: October 29-31, 2018, LBNL  Workshop website

Announcements _________________________________________________________

Changes in the SSRL Sample Preparation Laboratory

On June 1, Cindy Patty, who has been the SSRL Sample Preparation Laboratory (SPL) manager for the past 10 years, will leave SSRL to accept the position of ES&H Coordinator and Building Manager in the ESH Division matrixed to the recently formed SLAC Energy Sciences Directorate (ESD). Risa Benwell will assume the responsibilities of SSRL SPL Manager.

Researchers arriving after June 1 who desire SPL access should contact Risa to communicate their arrival and to arrange their laboratory access and work-space. Contact Risa to reserve instruments or equipment such as centrifuges or glove boxes, to request or purchase chemicals, and to communicate SOPs, known materials hazards, and needs arising from special protocols.

Cindy will help ensure a smooth transition, splitting her time between ESD and SSRL in June. She will continue a few hours each week in July at SSRL until the end of this user run. SSRL is very grateful for Cindy’s many contributions in creating the SPL program and supporting users and staff – and wishes her the best in her new career at SLAC. When you are next at SSRL, please stop in to wish Cindy well in her new position, and say hello to welcome Risa to her new responsibilities.

User Research Administration ______________________________________________

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

  • 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

  • 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