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Vol. 19, No. 8 - April 2019

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From the Science Director

As we announced previously, Kelly Gaffney stepped down as SSRL Director at the end of March to become the Chemical Sciences Division Director at SLAC. We extend our appreciation to Kelly for his leadership and wish him success in his new responsibilities. Paul McIntyre joins us in July as the next SSRL Director. During the transition, I will serve as the interim director in addition to my Deputy Director responsibilities. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for SSRL.

Piero Pianetta, SSRL Director (Interim)

SSRL Science

Capturing the Behavior of Single-atom Catalysts on the Move

Excerpt from April 23, 2019 SLAC News Feature by Glennda Chui

Scientists are excited by the prospect of stripping catalysts down to single atoms. Attached by the millions to a supporting surface, they could offer the ultimate in speed and specificity.

Now researchers have taken an important step toward understanding single-atom catalysts by deliberately tweaking how they’re attached to the surfaces that support them – in this case the surfaces of nanoparticles. They attached one platinum atom to each nanoparticle and observed how changing the chemistry of the particle’s surface and the nature of the attachment affected how keen the atom was to catalyze reactions.

Key experiments for the study took place at SSRL and the results were recently reported in Nature Materials.

“We believe this is the first time the reactivity of a metallic single-atom catalyst has been traced to a specific way of attaching it to a particular supporting structure. This study is also unique in systematically controlling that attachment,” said Simon R. Bare, a distinguished staff scientist at SSRL and a co-author of the study.

“This is an important scientific breakthrough, and understanding on a fundamental level how the structure relates to the reactivity will ultimately allow us to design catalysts to be much more efficient. There is a huge number of people working on this problem.”  Read more...

Request for Updated Information on Use of SSRL Beam Time and Publications

Publications are an essential metric of how productively SSRL beam time has been utilized. These metrics are important for our facility and funding agencies, and they are considered before future beam time assignments are determined.

After data have been collected, analyzed and prepared for presentation or publication, remember to indicate the SSRL beam lines used, acknowledge us, and inform us of your peer-reviewed journal papers, book chapters, conference proceedings, theses, and patents. Acknowledgement templates are provided on our website.

Please take a few minutes to review our publications database to confirm that your most recent SSRL-related publications are included.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and continued support of SSRL.


Time- and Space-Resolved X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) at SSRL: Analysis of Large Data Sets, June 3-4, 2019

Save the dates, June 3-4, to participate in this short course sponsored by Co-ACCESS at SSRL. As SSRL transitions from step-scanning XAS to continuous and quick scanning (QEXAFS), time resolution will improve from 10 minutes per spectrum to below 1 second, meaning that the number of spectra that will need to be analyzed will increase dramatically. A similar situation already exists with space-resolved data in x-ray microscopy where thousands and sometimes even millions of spectra need to be processed. With these new parameters, we need appropriate software to process these data batches and extract time- and space-resolved chemical information. This course will present examples of large XAS data sets and solutions for their batch processing, including hands-on exercises. The future in correlated data collection and analysis will also be discussed. website

Joint SSRL/LCLS Users’ Conference September 24-27, 2019

We look forward to welcoming you to this year's joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting and workshops. This annual meeting is a unique opportunity to gather the light source community together in a single scientific event that includes numerous presentations in plenary, poster and parallel sessions. Participants are able to learn about current/future facility capabilities and the latest user research as well as to discuss science with colleagues from academia, research laboratories, and industry worldwide.

We are planning several focused workshops including:

  • Metals in Structural Biology
  • Current and Future Opportunities in Time-Resolved Materials Phenomena (with Terahertz-Induced Dynamics in Biological Physics and Physical Chemistry)
  • Time-Resolved Structural Biology & Integrative Bioimaging for Structural and Cellular Biology
  • CryoEM of Macromolecular Machines
  • MXAN: Three Dimensional Structures for Metal Sites in Condensed Phases and in Catalysts
  • Recent Advances in the X-ray Spectroscopy of the Actinides
  • X-ray Diffraction Opportunities Enabled by SSRL's new BL17-2 (with Powder Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement)
  • LCLS Science Campaigns - Run 18 Town Hall
  • Probing Ultrafast Electron and Molecular Dynamics at Interfaces Using X-rays
  • Direct Tracking of Wave Packet Dynamics with X-rays and Electrons - Beyond Stick Distributions
  • Computational Automation for User Control of X-ray Science Experiments
  • Linking Theory and Experiment for Ultrafast X-ray Spectroscopy
  • Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED)
  • Data-Reduction Pipeline for LCLS-II

More details and registration information will be posted to the website soon.

EMSL Integration 2019 – Plants, Soil and Aerosols: Interactions that tell stories of Ecosystems, Climate and National Security” October 8-10, 2019  announcement

User Research Administration

Beam Time Requests

    Proposal Deadlines


    • July 1, 2019 – Macromolecular Crystallography (standard) and Multi-Technique Proposals for SAXS, MC and Cryo-EM
    • August 1, 2019 – X-ray / VUV

         See SSRL Proposal & Scheduling Guidelines


    • June 1, 2019 – Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Center (S2C2) Program (see Project Application and Training)
    • July 1, 2019 – Multi-Technique Proposals for SAXS, MC and Cryo-EM

    Submit proposals  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