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Vol. 16, No. 1 - July 2015

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Science Highlight


Small-angle X-ray Scattering from Magnetic Clusters and Structural Grains in Magnetic Recording MediaContacts: Olav Hellwig (HGST) and Hermann Dürr (SIMES)

Magnetic data storage devices are ubiquitous in our modern, data-rich world.  Computer hard disks, magnetic recording tape, and magnetic strips on credit cards use such devices, creating pressure to engineer ever greater data density on smaller surfaces.  Read more...

Citation:  V. Mehta et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 19 May 2015 (10.1063/1.4921403)

More SSRL-related Science

What Happens When You Zap Coral with Synchrotron Radiation?

Excerpted from July 7, 2015 KQED Science Post by Jason Jaacks

Have you ever wondered what the weather was like the day Hamlet premiered? Or what about the week that Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola and his crew became the first Europeans to lay eyes on San Francisco Bay?

Neil Tangri is developing a new way to look for clues about ancient weather. He and his colleague Apurva Mehta at SSRL, are using synchrotron radiation to look deep inside coral skeletons.  Read more...

SSRL Users' Organization Update

Mark your calendar and plan to participate in the SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting and Workshops October 7-10, 2015 as well as the combined SSRL and LCLS Users' Organization discussion with facility management scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 8.

We thank the SSRL Users' Executive Committee (UEC) members who will soon complete their terms and rotate off the committee in October – Jordi Cabana, Paul Evans, Sarah Hayes and Jessica Vey – it has been a pleasure working with you as members of the SSRL Users' Executive Committee!

Please take a few minutes to consider throwing your hat into the ring or nominating candidates interested in standing for election to the SSRL Users' Executive Committee to fill vacancies in the following areas:

  • Materials/Chemistry
  • Environmental/Geosciences
  • Macromolecular Crystallography
  • Ultrafast Science

Send your nominations via email to Cathy Knotts or submit using the online nomination form by September 30.  A ballot will be compiled and voting will take place the week of October 6 during the Users' Conference.

The SSRL UEC welcomes your comments, feedback and suggestions. We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Users' Meeting.

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

ALS Users' Meeting, October 5-7, 2015 – Berkeley, CA

– Joint SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference, October 7-10, 2015

The website is now live for our joint SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and registration is open.  To get started, click on "Create an Account" . 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 Parallel Workshops

  • Applications of Ptychography
  • Beyond SASE at the LCLS & LCLS-II
  • Characterization of Ultrafast Magnetization Dynamics Using X-rays
  • Coupled Cycling of Biogeochemical Critical Elements and Contaminants
  • Hybrid Methods for Integrative Structural Biology
  • LCLS Data Collection, Diagnostics, Analysis, Interpretation
  • Time Resolved Studies with Femtosecond X-ray Pulses:  Towards Molecular Movies of Molecules at Work

Friday, October 9, 2015 Parallel Workshops

  • Advances in High Resolution X-ray Spectroscopy
  • Attosecond FELs:  Capturing the Dynamics of Electrons in the Time Domain
  • New Discoveries in Biology with XFELS
  • Probing Structure and Dynamics of Quantum Materials via X-ray Scattering at LCLS
  • Science Opportunities at SLAC in the Tender X-ray Range (2-5 keV)
  • Scientific Opportunities with PS-Pulses at SSRL
  • Single Particle Imaging Initiative: Year One

Please encourage colleagues, particularly students, to present a poster to share their latest research results (registration fees will be waived for students presenting posters at the Users' Conference).  Visit the conference website for the latest program details.

Reserve accommodations at the Stanford Guest House before August 17. Contact the Guest House which is located on-site at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at (650) 926-2800 or book online (use group block "USERS1015").

– Symposium 'Celebrating Artie Bienenstock', October 10, 2015

Please join us on Saturday, October 10, for a special symposium to honor Arthur Bienenstock. This symposium is scheduled immediately following the SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and Workshops; separate registration is required.


SSRL Annual Award Nomination Deadlines

August 10:  William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award

This award honors the professional and personal contributions that William E. and Diane M. Spicer made to our community. The Spicer Young Investigator Award will be presented at the Annual Users' Meeting to a new investigator who has made important technical or scientific contributions that benefit from or are beneficial to SSRL or to the lightsource community overall. The $1,000 award is open to senior graduate students and those within seven years of entry into their professional scientific field at the time of nomination. SSRL users and staff are eligible for this award (joint or group awards are not encouraged). Nomination packages should summarize the technical or scientific contributions of the candidate, including the candidate's curriculum vitae, publications, and a letter of nomination (supporting letters are also encouraged).

August 16:  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 17: 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 $1,000. 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 by email to the attention of Cathy Knotts.

Input Sought on LCLS Facilities Plan

LCLS managers are seeking input from across the lab and the external user community on potential facility developments in preparation for LCLS-II. The 87-page "LCLS Strategic Facility Development Plan" proposes technical specifications, instrumentation and layouts for LCLS experimental stations that are intended to put to use the unique capabilities of LCLS-II. Your input will help inform the prioritization process, which will be scaled according to the available funding.

User Research Administration

The current FY2015 operations run ends on Monday, August 10.  Plan ahead for our next experimental run by reviewing the 2015-16 SPEAR3 Operating Schedule and upcoming deadlines for new proposals and beam time request

Proposal Deadlines

  • September 1 is the deadline for submitting new X-ray/VUV proposals for beam time eligibility starting February 2016.

Fall Beam Time Request Deadlines

  • August 22 is the next X-ray/VUV Beam Time Request deadline.
  • September 17 is the next deadline for Macromolecular Crystallography Beam Time Requests.

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