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Vol. 18, No. 4 - October 2017

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Science Highlights


Tuning the Properties in Perovskite Materials for Photovoltaics Contacts: Aryeh Gold-Parker, Stanford University/SSRL and Michael McGehee, Stanford University

The search continues for solar energy materials that are efficient and inexpensive and simple to make. Films made of metal halide perovskite crystals are good candidates because of their impressive solar cell efficiencies and their low cost to produce. An advantage of metal halide perovskite materials is the ability to tune their band gap, which determines the wavelengths of light that can be collected by the solar cell.  Read more...

Citation: Prasanna et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2017), doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b04981


Demanding Catalysis via Energy-Conserving Electron BifurcationContact: John Peters, Washington State University

Cellular metabolism is essential for life. Up until recently, we knew just two methods cells use to generate and conserve the energy required for cellular metabolism: ATP hydrolysis and electrochemical ion potential across cell membranes. Recently, a paradigm-changing third mechanism was discovered, called flavin-based electron bifurcation (FBEB).  Read more...

Citation: Lubner et al., Nat. Chem. Biol.(2017), doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2348

More SSRL-Related Science

A Battery Based on Sodium May Offer More Cost-Effective Storage than Lithium

Excerpted from October 9, 2017 Stanford News Article by Tom Abate

Stanford researchers have developed a sodium-based battery that can store the same amount of energy as a state-of-the-art lithium ion, at substantially lower cost.  Chemical engineer Zhenan Bao and her faculty collaborators, materials scientists Yi Cui and William Chueh, are not the first researchers to design a sodium ion battery. But they believe the approach they describe in an October 9 Nature Energy paper has the price and performance characteristics to create a sodium ion battery costing less than 80 percent of a lithium ion battery with the same storage capacity.  Read more...

Researchers Develop a Way to Better Predict Corrosion from Crude Oil

Excerpted from September 25, 2017 SLAC News Feature by Amanda Solliday

Using x-ray techniques, scientists are developing an analysis tool that can more accurately predict how sulfur compounds in a batch of crude oil might corrode equipment – an important safety issue for the oil industry. The results of these ongoing experiments at SSRL will improve industry guidelines. 

The goal is to characterize the types of sulfur that are most critical to identify in the oil, in order to better anticipate the potential for corrosion rates. A team of researchers from Chevron and the University of Saskatchewan are performing a series of studies at SSRL to closely examine forms of sulfur in crude oil.  Read more...

Meeting Summary

Users' Meeting Recap

Excerpted from October 16, 2017 SLAC News Article by Dawn Hamer and Amanda Solliday

This year's SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Meeting, held September 27-29, brought together nearly 400 SSRL and LCLS researchers including 90 participants in the concurrent High-Power Laser workshop.

The Users' Meeting included presentations and workshops where participants gathered to share and discuss facility capabilities and the latest areas of research.  A number of awards were presented at the plenary sessions including: 

  • Kathryn Hastie, TSRI, William E. and Diane M. Spicer Young Investigator Award
  • Kasper Kjaer, PULSE/Stanford University, LCLS Young Investigator Award
  • Suhas Kumar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award
  • Matthew Latimer, SSRL, Farrel W. Lytle Award (see below)

The 2017 Users' Meeting organizers were Christoph Bostedt of Argonne National Laboratory, Vice chair of the LCLS Users’ Executive Committee; David Bushnell of Stanford University, the SSRL Users’ Executive Committee Vice Chair; and staff scientists Axel Brachmann, Sergio Carbajo and Dimosthenis Sokaras.  Read more...

Awards and Honors

Matthew Latimer Receives 2017 Lytle Award

Excerpted from October 5, 2017 SLAC News Article by Amanda Solliday

Blaine Mooers (left) presenting Matthew Latimer with the Lytle Award

Matthew Latimer came to SSRL as a postdoctoral researcher after earning his PhD at UC Berkeley in the mid 90's.  Fast forwarding to the present time he is now a beam line scientist in charge of supporting seven spectroscopy beam lines at SSRL.  In acknowledgement of his many contributions to the lab he was presented with the 2017 Farrel W. Lytle Award at the Users' Meeting on September 28.  Twenty-five colleagues and visiting researchers at the synchrotron submitted statements of support for Latimer to receive the award. They cited his ability to successfully execute experiments, his helpful, good-natured and humorous reputation, and his assistance with nearly every research and technical group at SSRL.

“I was really happy to earn the award, and I’m proud of the research we’ve supported and enabled as a group at SSRL. Because it comes from the SSRL community, the award is a nice validation of an accumulation of work,” Latimer said.  Read more...

Joe Wong Poster Award Winners

The Annual SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting also included the Joe Wong Poster Awards competition, which was 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.  We would like to extend our thanks to Joe as well as the staff scientists and members of the facility User Executive Committees who volunteered to serve as judges.  It was quite a treat to have Joe present the awards to these young scientists!

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2017 Joe Wong Outstanding Poster Awards to:

(from left) Gauthier Deblonde, Joe Wong, Izumi Ishigami and Ariana Peck.

  • Gauthier Deblonde, LBNL,  Shedding Light on the Transplutonium Element (Am, Cm, Bk, Cf) Solution Chemistry Using EXAFS - Beam Line 11-2
  • Izumi Ishigami, Albert Einstein College of Medicine,  Crystal Structure of CO-bound Cytochrome c Oxidase Determined by Serial Femtosecond X-ray Crystallography at Room Temperature
  • Ariana Peck, Stanford University,  Intermolecular Correlations are Necessary to Explain Diffuse Scattering from Protein Crystals —overall best student poster

SSRL Users' Executive Committee Update

UEC Election Results

Election results for SSRL's Users' Executive Committee (UEC) are in. Please join us in supporting David Bushnell as the new Chair and welcoming new members Timothy Stemmler, Bio Spectroscopy/Bio SAXS representative, Graham George and Henry (Pete) La Pierre as Materials Chemistry representatives, and Monica Barney as the Industry representative.  As a result of a change to the UEC Charter allowing up to four students to the UEC we are pleased to also welcome Natalie Geise, Nathan Lavey, Andrew Riscoe and Kelly Lynn Summers.  One postdoctoral associate will be added to the 2018-2019 ballot to join the Committee.  

We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Blaine Mooers (2017 Chair) and the entire UEC in support of SSRL this past year and extend our thanks to retiring committee members Scott Daly, Dan Lin, Vinayak Hassan, Debra Hausladen and Stosh Kozimor. Thank you!

Upcoming Events

Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2018), June 10-15, 2018, Taiwan

Save the date for the 13th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2018) to be hosted by the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC), at the Taipei International Convention Center (TICC), June 10-15, 2018.  Conference website


Call for User Publications, Theses, Awards, Patents

Please let us know about all publications, theses, awards, patents and other forms of recognition resulting from research conducted fully or partially at SSRL. These metrics of scientific achievements and productivity are extremely important to the facility, and to our funding agencies.  Remember to acknowledge SSRL in ALL publications resulting from use of SSRL beam lines. This acknowledgement of SSRL is relevant even when final results are obtained at other facilities. If SSRL is not acknowledged in your paper or supplementary material, we are not able to include it on our list or report it to our funding agencies. Your assistance is essential to help us to meet our mission requirements, including assessment and reporting. More information is available on our publications page.

2018 Panofsky Fellowship Applications due December 1, 2017


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. Application Process

User Research Administration

SSRL Beam Time Request Deadlines

  • November 8, 2017 – X-ray/VUV requests for February-April 2018
  • January 18, 2018 – Macromolecular Crystallography requests for March-May 2018

SSRL Proposal Deadline

  • December 1, 2017 – X-ray/VUV and 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