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Vol. 12, No. 10 - April 2012
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From Director Chi-Chang Kao: SSRL's Molecular Environmental and Interface Science Strategy

We continue to define SSRL's five-to-ten year strategic goals. In this column we present our plans for Molecular Environmental and Interface Science at SSRL.

Understanding and mitigating biological and environmental impacts of energy production is important to society. Fundamental research is needed to better understand or control carbon cycling and sequestration (in soils, oceans, the atmosphere, and geological repositories), safe disposition of nuclear waste, fate and mitigation of groundwater contaminants, and sustainability and resiliency of complex biogeochemical and environmental systems that support life on Earth. Key processes are driven by reactions occurring at the molecular scale, at interfaces between water, minerals, and biological surfaces (e.g., biofilms), and in complex natural mesoscale systems in which dimensions range from nano- to millimeter. The exceptional capabilities of synchrotron light source facilities, which provide information about bonding environments and electronic structure under in situ conditions, over a continuum of length and temporal scales, are crucial to enabling new discoveries and building our understanding in these research areas. Full understanding of these systems requires consideration of both "bio" and "geo" components and how they interact. Read more...

  Science Highlights

Iron-based Superconductors Exhibit S-wave Symmetry
Condensed-matter physicists the world over are in hot pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of high-temperature superconductivity, not only for its technological benefits but for the clues it holds to strongly-correlated systems of particles. One important avenue of investigation is pairing symmetry, a property of Cooper pairs, the bound electron pairs that are a hallmark of all superconductors, whether high-temperature or conventional.

How a Single Receptor Discriminates between a Variety of Different Ligands
Cytokines are central to the innate immune system. Type I interferons (IFNs) are a kind of cytokine signaling protein that is important for cellular communication, regulating diverse cellular processes. Showing surprising economy, just one receptor is responsible for binding a variety of IFNs, each with differing functions.

Molecular Understanding of Light Adaption Processes in Eyes - Structure of Ta Peptide Complex with a Mammalian C. elegans Homolog, UNC119
In order for our eyes to see in both intense and low light conditions, molecular mechanisms allow for light and dark adaptation. The G-protein transducin is responsible for transducing signal from the photon receptor protein rhodopsin in rod and cone photoreceptors of our retina.

  • Sabbatical Visit - Lecture Series - Prof. Bert Weckhuysen
    The SSRL Chemistry and Catalysis Division and the SUNCAT Center in the Photon Science Directorate welcome Professor Bert Weckhuysen, Chair of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University, to SLAC for a several-month sabbatical visit. In addition to working on scientific projects and collaborations, he will present a lecture series during the week of May 21. We also look forward to his engagement in our continued development of the SSRL chemistry and catalysis program and facilities.

  • SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences, May 29-31
    The 2012 SSRL SRXRS School will provide a practical users' guide to planning and conducting scattering measurements at SSRL beam lines, and will cover important techniques including thin-film scattering, powder diffraction, in-situ x-ray scattering, and amorphous materials. The school will address topics that are not commonly included in text books or class lectures, and typically obtained only through on-the-experiment training. Good planning and a working knowledge of beam lines, in addition to techniques, are key to conducting successful SRXRS measurements. The school will also cover new instrumentation at SSRL scattering beam lines. Learn more...

  • SSRL Workshop on XAS and RIXS Data Analysis Using CTM4XAS and CTM4RIXS, June 28-29
    Prof. Frank de Groot, Utrecht University, will present a two-day comprehensive lecture and hands-on analysis session on XAS charge transfer multiplets using CTM4XAS, which is a semi-empirical program that includes important interactions for the calculation of x-ray spectra of transition metal systems. The workshop will feature XAS, MCD, XPS and XES data analysis with CTM4XAS. In addition, CTM4RIXS, an interactive tool to calculate and visualize resonant inelastic x-ray scattering spectra, including 2p3d, 3p3d, 1s2p and 1s3p RIXS spectra, will be used. The lecture and hands-on analysis will be held on June 28. Prof. de Groot will address participant-driven topics and address specific scientific problems on the 29th. The course is free to participants, but space is limited. Advanced registration is required by May 20, 2012. More information will be available soon on the SSRL Events website.

  • Structural Molecular Biology Summer School 2012, July 16-20
    The Structural Molecular Biology Summer School 2012 will be held at SSRL from July 16-20 and will focus on the following disciplines: Macromolecular Crystallography, Small Angle X-ray Scattering, X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Fluorescence XAS Imaging and X-ray Emission Spectroscopy. The five-day summer school will include invited lectures by experts in the field, hands-on data acquisition, and practical training session for data analysis. The goal of the summer school is to disseminate information about scientific opportunities in synchrotron techniques applicable to biologically-relevant systems and to train the participants at both the beginner and expert levels to successfully plan, execute and report their research at SSRL. Space is limited and advanced application is mandatory. More information will be available soon on the SSRL Events website.

  • Save the Date: LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting, October 3-6
    In response to user feedback, the 2012 Users' Meeting will include joint SSRL/LCLS parallel science sessions and many opportunities for students to present their work. The organizers encourage your suggestions for workshop topics and speakers who would draw in the larger photon science community to explore new opportunities for SSRL and the Linac Coherent Light Source. Tell us what would make this meeting a great one by e-mailing
    Cathy Knotts . In addition, we encourage and will reserve slots for student talks; start planning your talk today. Stay tuned for registration details.

  • Upcoming Proposal Deadlines
    June 1 and July 1 are the next deadlines for submitting new X-ray/VUV and Macromolecular crystallography proposals, respectively. Proposals submitted for these deadlines will be eligible for beam time beginning in fall 2012. For the full list of 2012 deadlines please see the SSRL deadlines webpage.

SSRL Headlines is published electronically monthly to inform SSRL users, sponsors and other interested people about happenings at SSRL. SSRL is a national synchrotron user facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences by Stanford University. Additional support for the structural biology program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL website.

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn