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Vol. 14, No. 11 - June 2014

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Science Highlights


Spectroscopic and Microspectroscopic Investigation of Arsenic Speciation and Distribution in Mine WastesContact: Christopher Kim, Chapman University

The toxic element arsenic occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust and is enriched in precious metal deposits. Due to mining activities, its concentration in the air, water and soil may dramatically increase and pose significant health risks. Therefore, a proper risk assessment is required as part of planned residential developments near former mining sites. However, not all arsenic species are equally toxic and researchers must consequently not only determine how arsenic is distributed in the region but also in which chemical forms it is present. Such an analysis has recently been performed by a team of scientists who examined the arsenic speciation in mine wastes from the Randsburg Historic Gold Mining District, located approximately 100 miles east of Bakersfield, California.  Read more...


In-situ X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy of a Catalyst for Artificial PhotosynthesisContacts: Hirohito Ogasawara, SSRL, and May Ling Ng, SUNCAT, and Sarp Kaya, JCAP (currently Koç University (Turkey))

Photosynthesis, i.e. the conversion of sun light into stored chemical energy by plants and other organisms, is one of the most important global biological processes. In light of increasing energy prices, limited fossil fuel resources and rising environmental concerns, researchers have long dreamed of reproducing this natural process in order to address the challenge of sustainable and eco-friendly energy production. A particularly difficult photosynthetic step to replicate is the oxidation of water and concomitant production of oxygen, which, in artificial systems, require the use of catalysts that are both reactive and stable. In a recent study researchers probed changes in an iridium oxide catalyst during water oxidation, providing crucial insights into the catalytic performance of this material.  Read more...

Beam Line Updates

Update on Materials Science Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) Beam Line 1-5Contact: Chris Tassone


SSRL Beam Line 1-5, a Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) beam line for the study of materials was up and running as of June 9, 2014.  All operations formerly conducted at SSRL Beam Line 1-4 have been moved to this new and improved SAXS beam line. The new beam line features a decreased low q limit of approximately 0.001 Å-1, allowing users to observe features up to 100 nm in size. The beam line also is capable of providing photon energies in the range of about 4-16 keV. This enables transmission studies through thicker samples, transmission through films on silicon wafers and resonant SAXS.  Lastly, several upgrades have been undertaken to ensure that the background scattering is as low as possible in order to allow users to study low contrast systems, thin films in transmission geometry, solution phase morphologies of soft materials, and grazing incidence SAXS. Submit beam time requests by the August 20 deadline to check out these new capabilities during the 2014-2015 user run.

First Light on Beam Line 5-2Contacts: Donghui Lu and Makoto Hashimoto

BL5-2 first light image

After a number of years effort, the development of the new PGM branchline at Beam Line 5-2 is entering the final commissioning phase. First light was successfully brought into the new branchline through the exit slit on June 18, 2014. The commissioning of the monochromator and the refocusing mirror will be carried out through the remainder of the FY14 run, between user runs at Beam Line 5-4, and is expected to continue through the first scheduling period of FY15. Meanwhile, a high resolution ARPES end station is being developed and is expected to be ready for user operation by the time the new PGM branchline is fully commissioned.

SSRL Annual Award Nomination Deadlines

  • August 1:  William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award All SSRL users and staff are eligible for this $1,000 award honoring the professional and personal contributions that William E. and Diane M. Spicer made to our community. Nomination packages should include a letter of nomination as well as the candidate's curriculum vitae and publications; supporting letters are encouraged. Nomination packages should summarize the technical or scientific contributions of the candidate.

  • August 1:  Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award The $1,000 award honoring Melvin P. Klein's many contributions is intended to recognize outstanding research accomplishments by new investigators and to promote dissemination of research results based on work performed at SSRL. Nominations for undergraduate or graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows within three years of receiving their Ph.D., can be submitted. The nomination package should include a letter of recommendation from the advisor as well as an abstract written by the candidate describing the SSRL related experiments and scientific results. Candidates are encouraged to include their curriculum vitae and information on their plans to present their work at a scientific conference.

  • August 15: Farrel W. Lytle Award The Farrel W. Lytle Award was established to promote important technical or scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster collaboration and efficient use of beam time among users and staff at SSRL. The Lytle Award consists of a certificate and $1000. SSRL users and staff are eligible to be nominated for the Lytle Award, but only nominations for individuals will be considered (no group awards please). 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.

These awards will be presented at the Users' Conference. The awardees of the Spicer and Klein awards will be asked to give a presentation on his/her research during the Users' Conference.

Nomination packages for all three awards should be sent to the attention of Cathy Knotts via e-mail, regular mail or fax:

Cathy Knotts
Manager, User Research Administration
2575 Sand Hill Road, MS 99
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Tel. 650-926-3191
Fax. 650-926-8554

Upcoming Onsite Events

SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Microscale Imaging Techniques, July 11-15, 2014

The 1st SSRL SXRMI (Synchrotron X-ray MicroXAS Imaging) School will provide a practical users' guide to planning and conducting microXAS imaging experiments at SSRL beam lines. Students will participate in hands-on sessions at the beam lines, including on the following facilities: hard x-ray microXAS imaging (BL2-3), hard x-ray mesoprobe XAS imaging (BL10-2), and the newest microXAS imaging “tender” energy beam line (BL14-3).  The hands-on sessions will be paired with several sessions of data analysis and data mining of imaging data. The School will also cover new instrumentation and techniques at SSRL microXAS imaging beam lines and will include topics that can only be learned by direct access and experience at the facility through on-the-experiment training. This initial school, which will take place July 11-15, is organized by Sam Webb and Courtney Roach.  See website

SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and Workshops, October 7-10, 2014

We invite you to join us for an exciting line-up of workshops and science talks for the LCLS and the SSRL Annual Users' Conference. The activities scheduled over this multi-day event provide opportunities to learn about the latest user research results, current/future capabilities and new science opportunities as well as to interact with other scientists and vendors of light source related products and services.

The plenary session keynote talks, award presentations, exhibits, user poster session and reception will be held on October 9. Joint workshops will be held October 7, 8 and 10

  • In-situ/Operando Characterization of Soft Materials (October 7)
  • Progress Toward Single Particle Imaging (October 7)
  • Software for Serial Crystallography (October 7)
  • Application of LCLS in Industrial Materials Research (October 7-8)
  • Advances in Actinide Science from Synchrotron Spectroscopy -Joint SSRL/ALS Workshop (October 8)
  • Detector Development (October 8)
  • LCLS Data Acquisition (October 8)
  • In-Situ Studies of Inorganic Transition-Metal Complexes (October 8)
  • International Year of Crystallography - X-ray Diffraction Success Stories (October 8)
  • Characterizing and Controlling Chemical Dynamics -- New Approaches to Resolving Long Standing Questions in Chemical Reactivity (October 10)
  • Looking Ahead: SAM Developers Forum (October 10)
  • Resonant Soft X-ray Scattering (October 10)
  • Sample Delivery Systems (October 10)

More information will be available soon on the conference website. Reserve lodging at the Stanford Guest House (650-926-2800) before July 24 (Use group code: USERS1014).

Other events being held in parallel with Users' Conference:

  • High Power Laser Workshop, October 7-8, 2014

    A workshop on High Power Lasers will be organized on October 7-8, 2014 at Stanford University Munger Graduate Residence Conference Center. Paul Brest Hall is located in Building 4 at 555 Salvatierra Walk and Nathan Abbott Way.  Shuttle service will be provided between SLAC and campus. Separate registration for this event will be required. See workshop website.

  • Macromolecular Crystallography: Stanford AutoMounter (SAM) Developers' Forum Workshop, October 10, 2014

Meeting Report

SSRL 7th Annual School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application

Scattering School
Synchrotron-based x-ray scattering (SR-XRS) techniques offer the ability to probe nano- and atomic-scale structure that dictates the properties of advanced technological and environmental materials. Important materials studied at SSRL include organic and inorganic thin films and interfaces, nanoparticles, complex oxides, battery electrodes, polymers, minerals and poorly crystalline materials. Good planning and a good working knowledge of beam lines and techniques are required to successfully conduct SR-XRS measurements. This Seventh Annual School at SSRL on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences was held on June 1-3, 2014 and provided a practical users’ guide to planning and conducting scattering measurements at SSRL beam lines. There was an emphasis on information that cannot be found in textbooks. Approximately 45 researchers, mostly graduate students and postdoctoral associates, participated in this workshop. Attendees represented a variety of fields including material sciences, chemical engineering, applied physics, chemistry and earth sciences.

Fifteen speakers from SSRL and Stanford University presented lectures in the workshop and many more participated in the practical demonstrations. The morning of the first day started out with an introduction to synchrotron scattering techniques, followed by introductory level talks on scattering patterns and reciprocal lattice concepts, and a general introduction to scattering geometries. Following lunch, a new talk to this workshop series was presented on detectors zoology. This was followed by an introductory level talk on structure refinement and then talks on scattering from thin films. The group then broke into two parallel sessions – one on surface scattering and reflectivity and another on more detailed structure refinement and resonant scattering.

The second day started with morning talks on SSRL diffractometers and scattering geometries and small angle x-ray scattering. The group then delved into experimental details with talks on and data collection strategies, data collection and reduction software and SSRL experimental chambers.  Talks are available to download from the workshop website.

The afternoon of the second day and morning of the third day involved hands-on training at four of SSRL's beam lines (BL1-5, BL2-1, BL11-3, and BL 7-2). For the afternoon session, these focused on small angle scattering (SAXS), reflectivity, polycrystalline thin film scattering, and transmission scattering at area detectors.  In the morning, there were sessions on SAXS, high resolution powder diffraction, surface scattering and thin films on area detectors These practical sessions were very well attended and the attendees benefited greatly from these demonstrations.

Numerous comments were overheard on the usefulness and value of these sessions. Katie O'Hara, a second-year graduate student at University of California-Santa Barbara, said "This is perfect because I can see what I can do with these facilities and bring it to the next level. This is filling in all the gaps." A second-year student from Johns Hopkins University, Mantong Zhao, studies metallic glass using x-rays. "It's very helpful to be at the beam line," she said of the hands-on experience. Stanford graduate student Ari Gold-Parker simply summed up with “I learned a ton.”

The afternoon of the third day was devoted to data processing and analysis with sessions on SAXS reduction and analysis (both introductory and expert levels), area detector data reduction and analysis, surface scattering, and peak shape analysis. It is noteworthy that several of the leaders in these sessions were attendees of earlier schools.

Mike Toney
Apurva Mehta
Chad Miller
Badri Shyam
Kevin Stone
Chris Tassone

NUFO Event

Patricia Dehmer at NUFO event

User Science Exhibition in Washington, DC

Dr. Patricia Dehmer, Deputy Director for Science Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, addressed the crowd at the recent National User Facility Organization (NUFO) ‎Science Exhibition at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.  Check out the photo album of the event.

User Research Administration Announcements

  • Beam Time Requests

    Submit SSRL X-ray and VUV Beam Time Requests by August 20 and Macromolecular Crystallography Beam Time Requests by September 17 to be considered for beam time in the next run, November 2014-February 2015.

  • Proposal Deadlines

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

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

    – LCLS proposals for experiments on AMO, SXR, XPP, CXI, XCS, MEC are due by 4 pm (PST) on July 29, 2014

    Submit proposals and beam time requests through the user portal.

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

    The SLAC Cafe, auditorium and visitor center are closed and will be replaced by 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

    In an effort to expand the food service available onsite SLAC offers a "Virtual Cafeteria" using services provided by the "Eat Club".  Eat Club is a local lunch delivery service. They collaborate with local restaurants to provide quality food fitting a variety of tastes at an affordable price. Orders are placed and paid for through their online service. The SLAC community can review the daily selections and place an online order in the morning using a personal credit card. Drop-off deliveries are made around noon each day to several locations around the site, including a drop-off location in the SSRL Building 120 Experimental Hall.  Individual on-line registration takes just a few minutes. Sign up for a free account to pre-order your lunch at

    A Starbucks kiosk near the Guest House parking lot is now open.   Starbucks offers daily walk-up coffee, takeout pastries and cold sandwiches. The kiosk is open from 6am to 6pm Monday through Friday.

SLAC Security Updates

  • Construction for the Science and User Support Building (SUSB) will continue through the fall of 2015. Concrete wall pours are scheduled weekly on Thursdays. Structural steel is anticipated to arrive on site the week of July 14-18. Please exercise caution around the construction site and pay attention to flagmen and traffic cones, particularly in the morning when construction workers and trucks are entering the SLAC main gate where Sand Hill Road intersects with the SLAC Loop Road.

  • The Panofsky gate behind the guest house will no longer be available for pedestrian access to Sand Hill Road.  Please use the Main Gate instead.


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