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Vol. 17, No. 4 - October 2016

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Science Highlights


Morphology Development of Polymer-Fullerene and Polymer-Polymer Solar Cells during Solution-Shearing Blade Coating Contacts: Hongping Yan (SSRL) and Xiaodan Gu (Stanford University)

Researchers are evaluating the use of organic semi-conductive polymers instead of inorganic semiconductors for use in solar cells. Polymer semiconductors are more flexible and more easily applied, which could allow for more uses and lower production costs. Unfortunately, solar cell devices made of these organic materials tend to have less power conversion efficiency, largely due to the way the donor and acceptor molecules are arranged in the bulk heterojunction (BHJ) structures.  Read more...


Unsupervised Data Mining in Nanoscale X-ray Spectro-Microscopic Study of a NdFeB MagnetContacts: Yijin Liu and Apurva Mehta (SSRL)

Rare earth magnetic materials have many applications, such as MRI scanners, Maglev trains, and electric vehicles. Scientists are researching improvements to these magnets through optimizing the component materials. Taking a different approach, a team of scientists have studied the effects of nano-scale heterogeneity in the chemistry and structure of Nd2Fe14B, a very strong and widely-used rare earth magnet.  Read more...


The Solution Structural Ensembles of RNA and RNA·Protein Complexes Contacts: Xuesong Shi, Pehr Harbury and Daniel Herschlag (Stanford University)

RNA molecules, often bound to protein in complexes, play essential roles in many basic cellular processes in all life. Like with proteins, often these roles depend on the distinct 3-dimensional shapes the RNA molecules adopt. While much research has been done using traditional biophysical techniques to determine the predominant structure of many RNA folds, less is known about the array of shapes a certain type of RNA can adopt and how this ensemble of form affects function.  Read more...

Meeting Summary

Scientists Gather for Annual SSRL/LCLS Users’ Conference

Excerpted from October 13, 2016 SLAC News Feature

More than 400 participants came to the 2016 SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Meeting and Workshops, held October 5-8. Sessions covered developments in the field of x-ray science, specific advances in technology at SLAC, and hands-on training for researchers. As DOE Office of Science User Facilities, SSRL and the LCLS are open to researchers from around the world. These light sources use extremely bright x-rays to explore matter at very small scales. “Our job is to make sure that you can do state-of-the-art x-ray experiments, and understand and interpret the results,” Kelly Gaffney, SSRL Director, said during his presentation. “A key component for our strategic planning and keeping up to date are the workshops at the Users’ Meeting.” Mike Dunne, LCLS Director, said increasing researcher access to the x-ray free-electron laser was a major goal for the past year.  Read more...


IEEE Magnetics Society Announces 2017 Distinguished Lecturers

The IEEE Magnetics Society has named Hendrik Ohldag as one of its 2017 Distinguished Lecturers for his talk, "Ultrafast and Very Small: Discover Nanoscale Magnetism with Picosecond Time Resolution Using X-rays".  With about 50 lectures already lined up for 2017, the goal of this talk is to present an introduction to the field and explain the capabilities of synchrotron-based x-ray microscopy, which is becoming a tool available at every synchrotron. An SSRL staff scientist since 2005, Hendrik originally came to SSRL in 1999 as a Ph.D. student in Jo Stohr's research group.  He was also a visiting researcher at the ALS from 1999 and 2002 and was subsequently awarded the David A. Shirley Award in 2006. He is currently a member of the IEEE Magnetics Society and the chair of the Magnetic Interfaces and Nanoscale Device Division of the American Vacuum Society. His many accomplishments include co-authoring over 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and participating in the organization of 25 international conferences and workshops.  Read more...

Joe Wong Poster Award Winners

Excerpted from October 13, 2016 SLAC News Feature

poster winners

From left: winner Camila Bacellar, award presenter Petra Fromme, winner Fang Ren, award presenter Blaine Mooers, and winner Anna Wise.

For the first time, the Annual SSRL/LCLS Users' meeting also included the Joe Wong Poster Awards, a competition created with support from long-time SSRL user Joe Wong. Wong retired in 2006 from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with seven patents, 12 awards and more than 200 publications. He also helped build the first x-ray beam line at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The awards are given to “the most exciting, novel and compelling science” presented during the poster session. The contest is open to all SSRL and LCLS users, based on research results from either facility. One award is designated for students, and researchers at any stage of their career can compete for additional awards.

Three outstanding young women scientists received the inaugural poster awards:

  • Camila Bacellar, graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “Imaging Anisotropic Nanoplasma Dynamics in Superfluid Helium Droplets”
  • Fang Ren, Stanford University/SSRL Materials Science Division, “Identify Phases in Materials - Human or Robot?”
  • Anna Wise, Stanford University/SSRL Materials Science Division, “High Resolution Chemical Mapping of Energy-related Materials: Development of Soft X-ray Ptychography at SSRL”

DOE News

Patricia Dehmer, Guiding Force behind Department of Energy Science, to Retire

Excerpted from September 29, 2016 Science Article by Adrian Cho

It's not often that the retirement of a federal bureaucrat meets with an effusion of regret that she’s leaving and praise for her soon-to-be-missed talents. But by many accounts Patricia Dehmer is no ordinary bureaucrat. So when Dehmer, 71, announced that she would step down on 10 November after 9 years as deputy director for science programs in the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) $5.35 billion Office of Science in Washington, D.C., many observers were eager to sing her praises and lament her coming departure.  Leland Cogliani, a consultant with Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, in Washington, D.C., who served on the staff of the Senate appropriations committee from 2010 to 2014, says Dehmer “was one of the best. … It’s rare when somebody of her level leaves and it causes such a reaction across the research community.”  Read more...

SSRL Users' Executive Committee Update

UEC Election Results

Elections for the SSRL Users' Executive Committee (UEC) were held during early October. Please join us in supporting Blaine Mooers as the new Chair, David Bushnell as Vice-Chair and welcoming the following new members to the SSRL UEC:

  • David Barondeau, Texas A&M University
  • Marco Keiluweit, University of Massachusetts

We would like to extend our thanks to Eddie Snell for serving as UEC Chair this past year and also to retiring committee members Justin Chartron and Colleen Hansel.

Virtual Tour

A Slide Show and Virtual 3-D Tour Offer a Rare Look Inside the Busy X-ray Science Facility

Excerpted from October 28, 2016 SLAC News Feature

We are pleased to report that good progress has been made on many important upgrades and projects during our recent shutdown including the Beam Line 4 optics upgrade and the Beam Line 12-1 undulator installation to name a couple. 

Because the area inside the concrete shield of the SPEAR3 ring was accessible, the shutdown also created an opportunity to develop a three-dimensional virtual tour of the synchrotron, using technology from the media company Matterport. The virtual tour allows a unique look inside the busy x-ray science facility, with a total of 33 experimental stations.  See virtual tour


2017 Panofsky Fellowship Applications due November 18, 2016

The Panofsky Fellowship honors SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's founder and first Director, Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky.  It is intended to recognize exceptional and promising young scientists who would most benefit from the unique opportunity to conduct their research at SLAC. 

The Fellowship celebrates W. K. H. Panofsky's breadth of activities and is awarded without regard to a candidate's particular specialty within our programs.  While an emphasis will be placed on the potential for innovation and growth of new opportunities as their career develops, the candidate's research plan should relate to one or more areas within the general scope of the science program at SLAC:

  • Accelerator science & advanced accelerator research
  • Biosciences
  • Chemical science
  • Elementary particle physics
  • High energy density matter
  • Material science
  • Particle astrophysics and cosmology
  • X-ray Science with LCLS and SSRL

Read more for application process

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User Research Administration

SSRL Beam Time Request Deadlines

  • November 23, 2016 - X-ray/VUV (February - May beam time)

Proposal Deadlines

  • November 7, 2016 – LCLS proposals for run 15 (submit by 4 pm PACIFIC).  See information about Run 15 Standard Configurations.
  • December 1, 2016 – X-ray/VUV proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning in spring 2017)
  • December 1, 2016 – Macromolecular Crystallography proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning in March 2017)

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