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Vol. 18, No. 1 - July 2017

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Science Highlights


Direct and Efficient Utilization of Solid-phase Iron by DiatomsContacts: Elizabeth Shoenfelt and Benjamin Bostick, Columbia University

Diatoms, single-celled marine algae that create beautiful, symmetric cell walls composed of silica, are critical to ocean ecosystems. Responsible for up to 20% of photosynthesis in oceans, these phytoplankton are also an important part of Earth’s carbon cycles. The potential of diatoms and other phytoplankton to sequester atmospheric CO2 has led to geoengineering ideas like “iron fertilization” of oceans.  Read more...


An Oxygen-insensitive Hydrogen Evolution Catalyst Coated by a Molybdenum-based Layer for Overall Water SplittingContacts: Dimosthenis Sokaras, SSRL, Angel Garcia-Esparza and Kazuhiro Takanabe, KAUST

Molecular hydrogen (H2) is a promising carrier of energy for a future that uses more sustainable sources of fuel. H2 created from splitting H2O using renewable energy methods could result in no carbon footprint energy use. While methods of water splitting are being developed, reverse reactions are a problem.  Read more...

See also: SLAC News Feature - Researchers Develop a New Catalyst for Water Splitting

More SSRL-Related Science

How a Single Chemical Bond Balances Cells between Life and Death


Heterogeneous catalysts are typically complex materials and many of the key details of the way that they convert reactants to products remain unknown. However, the breadth of characterization techniques available at SSRL allows for studies that are providing critical information on the precise structural and electronic structure of working catalysts. The impact of SSRL in catalyst characterization is growing, and nicely illustrated in a recent article in Chemical & Engineering NewsRead more...

Note: ACS access may be required.

Beam Line Update

First Light at Beam Line 15-2


We have obtained first light at Beam Line 15-2! SSRL's latest experimental station will be dedicated to high resolution x-ray spectroscopy for a range of experiments, including studies of photocatalysts and other catalytic reactions, metalloproteins, and battery electrodes.

When completed, the beam line will produce a highly focused beam that will enable time-resolved pump-probe experiments, where a sample is first illuminated with optical light and then changes are examined over time using rapid pulses of x-rays. There is still a significant amount of installation and commissioning work to be done before the beam line is ready for user experiments, and this effort will continue into the fall when SSRL resumes user operations after its annual summer shutdown.

More information on SSRL's beam line and instrumentation development plans to meet the evolving needs of the user community is in our Strategic Plan.

Nominations for UEC Membership and Annual Awards

Call for Nominations for SSRL and LCLS User Executive Committees (UEC)

We encourage your help to identify candidates who may be interested in standing for election to either the SSRL or LCLS User Executive Committee (UECs).

We will then create ballots and begin the election process which will conclude during the Annual Users’ Conference.

Submit Nominations for Lytle and Klein 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.


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 10

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 by the above deadlines. These awards will be presented at the SSRL/LCLS Annual Users’ Conference, September 27-29, 2017. 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 28.

Nominate a Candidate for the LCLS Young Investigator Award

LCLS is inviting nominations for an award to recognize exceptional contributions from scientists in the early stages of their research career. Nomination Form

Submit Abstracts by September 20 to Compete for Joe Wong Poster Awards


The user science poster session during our Annual Users' Conference on September 28 is a great time to share your latest results and compete for a poster prize.

The Joe Wong Poster Awards have been established to promote multi-disciplinary interactions among the user community, to recognize the best poster presentations at the Annual Users' Conference, and specifically to help students in preparing for their science careers. The poster awards are open to users of both the SSRL and the LCLS.

The best poster presentation by an undergraduate or graduate student (BS or PhD student user) will be awarded $500. Up to two more posters will be selected for a $250 award. Presenters at any stage of their research career and in any field can compete for the $250 award.

You must register and submit a poster abstract by September 20 to participate in the poster session.  Students presenting posters get free registration at the Annual Users' Conference.   Abstract Submission

Upcoming Events

7th International Conferences on Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, September 11-15, 2017, Berkeley, CA

We are looking forward to an exciting week of the latest developments in HAXPES, with plenary and invited speakers, contributed talks selected from the abstracts, and two poster sessions.  The conference has also been endorsed by several major organizations and there will be various scientific equipment manufacturers participating.  Conference website

SSRL/LCLS Users' Conference & Workshops, September 27-29, 2017, Menlo Park, CA

Register to attend the SSRL/LCLS Users’ Conference on September 27-29, 2017 to share results over the last year and learn about new capabilities, technology advances and facility plans.  Please see the Conference website


The activities scheduled over this multi-day event provide many opportunities to interact with colleagues and discuss current/future capabilities and science.  A number of focused-topic workshops are scheduled on September 27 and 29 with the plenary session activities, including keynote talks by Henry Chapman (DESY) and Serena DeBeer (Max Planck), taking place on September 28.

Students presenting a poster will receive free registration and free lunch during the Users' Conference. For everyone else, catered lunch during the Users' Conference is available for an additional $30 fee at the time of registration (or you may provide/purchase your own lunch at the SLAC Cafe or Starbucks).

We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Users’ Conference. Early registration ends September 20.

Cathy Knotts and Leilani Conradson, Managers, SSRL and LCLS Users Services & the SSRL/LCLS UEC and Joint Users' Conference Organizing Committee

5th High-Power Laser Workshop, September 27-28, 2017, Menlo Park, CA

The 5th HPL workshop will be held co-jointly with the general SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting to bring together the international high-energy density physics community with the LCLS user groups. The workshop will have a dedicated day to discuss recent experimental results from matter in extreme conditions enabled by the combination of high-power laser drivers with the world-class LCLS x-ray beam.  Although registration is separate, participants will take part in the general Users' Meeting plenary session on the second day and further have a session related to the MEC instrument.  The goal is to discuss the scientific opportunities at the MEC instrument, propose future standard configurations, and provide time to discuss important physics proposals and experimental needs for cutting-edge research at MEC.  Workshop Registration

User Research Administration

SSRL Beam Time Request Deadlines

  • August 7, 2017 – X-ray/VUV requests for beam time beginning fall 2017.
  • September 8, 2017 – Macromolecular Crystallography requests for beam time beginning fall 2017.

SSRL Proposal Deadlines

  • September 1, 2017 – X-ray / VUV
  • December 1, 2017 – Macromolecular Crystallography

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