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Vol. 15, No. 5 - December 2014/January 2015

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Science Highlights


Graphene Produces More Efficient Charge Transport Inside an Organic SemiconductorContact: Contact: David Barbero, Umeå University

Graphene – a one-atom thick sheet of carbon – shows great promise for future electronics. With its desirable electrical properties, flexibility and strength, the material could enable powerful capacitors, high-quality protective coatings and flexible transparent electronics. Additionally, composites that combine graphene with semiconducting polymers might enable an even wider range of advanced materials, including high performing organic photovoltaic solar cells and transistors.  A new study performed by an international team of scientists compared the material properties that resulted from combining graphene with semiconducting polymers. The team found that a thin film of the prototypical semiconducting polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene), known as P3HT, grown on top of a single layer of graphene displayed much enhanced charge transport than the same film placed on top of a thin layer of silicon.  Read more...


Spectroscopic Evidence for the Phase Competition between the Pseudogap and High-Tc SuperconductivityContact: Makoto Hashimoto, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

For years, scientists have chased after the promise of high-temperature superconductors – materials that carry current through a material with 100% efficiency. Yet the closest they have come to creating such a material still requires temperatures more than 100 degrees Celsius below freezing. A research team has recently published a study reporting the first direct evidence that a mysterious phase of matter called the “pseudogap” limits the efficiency of high-temperature superconductors. Read more...

See also: SLAC News Feature

Crystal Structures of CRISPR RNA-guided Complexes

With more viruses that infect bacteria than any other type of biological entity, bacteria have developed a sophisticated means of defending themselves. At the heart of their defenses is a system called CRISPR (short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat). This portion of bacteria’s immune system takes note of attacking viruses, and integrates fragments of the virus’ DNA into its own DNA. In this way, CRISPRs serve as molecular vaccination cards that maintain a genetic record of previously encountered genetic parasites. They also allow the bacteria’s immune system to send out CRISPR-associated complexes that home in on and destroy invading viruses.  Two separate studies have recently addressed a 405 kDa CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance complex, called Cascade (short for CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense) that is found in Escherichia coli.  

Crystal Structure of Cascade - Contact: Scott Bailey, Johns Hopkins University

Read Science Highlight
CRISPR RNA-guided Surveillance in Escherichia Coli - Contacts:  Ryan N. Jackson and Blake Wiedenheft, Montana State University

Read Science Highlight

More Science

Scientists Search for New Ways to Deal with U.S. Uranium Ore Processing Legacy

Excerpted from January 22, 2015 SLAC News Feature

A research team led by John Bargar at SSRL is trying to find out why uranium persists in groundwater at former uranium ore processing sites despite remediation of contaminated surface materials two decades ago. They think buried organic material may be at fault, storing toxic uranium at levels that continue to pose risks to human health and the environment, and hope their study will pave the way for better long-term site management and protection of the public and environment. Read more...

Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

LCLS-II Workshops, February 9-13, 2015, Menlo Park, CA

The LCLS is organizing three separate workshops during February 9-13, 2015 to advance the science case and refine the technical requirements for the LCLS-II x-ray free electron laser project. Each of the workshops will focus on a broad scientific area: Materials Physics, Life Sciences and Chemistry.

SSRL management encourages everyone interested in applying LCLS-II to his or her scientific problems to attend.  Separate registration is required for each of the three workshops, but the registration is free.

For more information on each workshop including: invited speakers, preliminary schedule and registration please visit the workshop website.

2015 SSRL Workshop on XAS and RIXS Data Analysis Using CTM4XAS and CTM4RIXS, March 24-26, 2015, Menlo Park, CA

A three-day workshop on the fundamental aspects of x-ray spectroscopy, including lectures and tutorials on the use of CTM4XAS and CTM4RIXS will be held on March 24-26, 2015.  The workshop will focus on lectures and demonstrations by Prof. de Groot and co-workers.  The workshop will also include advanced data analysis session on participant-driven topics.

Stay tuned for the workshop web link soon to appear on the SSRL web page.

RapiData 2015 - Data Collection and Structure Solving: A Practical Course in Macromolecular X-ray Diffraction Measurement, May 3-8, 2015, Menlo Park, CA

RapiData 2015 is a practical course in macromolecular x-ray diffraction data collection, data processing and structure solution. The aim of the course is to educate and train young scientists in data collection and processing methods at synchrotron beam lines, using state-of-the-art software and instrumentation

The course will comprise hands-on experiments at the SSRL beam lines, software tutorials, and lectures on the following topics:

  • Specimen preparation, x-ray damage, tactics in data collection
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • X-ray detectors
  • Data reduction
  • Structure solving by MAD, SAD and Molecular replacement
  • Complementary methods (spectroscopy and small angle scattering)
  • Structural biology at x-ray free-electron lasers

For more information see the RapiData 2015 website.

The deadline for applications is February 23, 2015

12th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation, July 6-10, 2015, New York City, NY

Registration is now open for the 12th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2015)

The National Synchrotron Light Source ll (NSLS-ll) at Brookhaven National Laboratory is pleased to invite you to register to attend the 12th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI) at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York City, July 6-10, 2015.

You may register at:

16th International Conference on X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS16), August 23-28, 2015, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Karlsruhe, Germany
        Conference website

12th International Conference on Biology and Synchrotron Radiation (BSR) is being planned to take place in Menlo Park, CA on August 22-24, 2016. Save the Date.

Joint SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference, October 7-9, 2015. Save the Date.


New SLAC Access and Badging Procedures

User Badges are now issued at the SLAC Security Office Building 235 by the SLAC main gate.  There are additional requirements that need to be met for users to get access to the site and the SSRL beam lines for scheduled experiments.  Please see:

A step-by-step outline is provided below:

Before traveling to SLAC, please list all experimenters who will participate in your scheduled experiments on proposals and beam time/support requests and inform your colleagues about access changes so that everyone coming onsite completes the following steps:

1. Register through the user portal to provide or update contact information.

2. Contact URA for additional requirements for users from certain countries.

3. Ensure that you have an appropriate business visa (e.g., B1/WB Business, not B2/WT Tourist).

4. Review updated SSRL user arrival and check-in procedures.

5. Complete all safety training (including Traffic Safety Course 154).

6. Stop at the Security Office Building 235 to obtain a new ID badge and/or proximity access. Bring identification to verify citizenship.

7. Prior to entering the experimental area or starting any experiments, check in with User Check-In Coordinator Jackie Kerlegan in the URA office in SSRL Building 120, Room 211 (Monday-Friday 7 am - 12 noon and 1 - 4 pm (except holidays)).

8. Contact the URA team for questions or assistance (650-926-2079/2087/3191).

SLAC Loop Road Closure

Due to construction activities the SLAC Loop Road between Starbucks and Gate 17 is expected to be closed through the end of February. Turn right at the SLAC Sand Hill Road entrance (instead of left) and follow the Loop Road around the main SLAC campus to enter the experimental areas through Sector 30 or Gate 17.

Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program is Now Accepting Applications

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications for the 2015 solicitation.  Applications are due 5:00pm ET on Tuesday April 14, 2015.

The SCGSR program supports supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of 3 to 12 consecutive months-with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.

The SCGSR program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students' overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. The supplemental award provides for additional, incremental costs for living and travel expenses directly associated with conducting the SCGSR research project at the DOE host laboratory during the award period.

Detailed information about the program, including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system, can be found at the SCGSR website.

User Research Administration

  • Beam Time Requests
    Submit SSRL X-ray/VUV Beam Time Requests by February 20 to be considered for beam time in the scheduling period covering May through early August 2015.  

  • Proposal Deadlines
    The next deadline for submitting standard Macromolecular Crystallography proposals is April 1 and June 1 for X-ray/VUV.

    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