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Vol. 13, No. 11 - May 2013
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Science Highlights


Mesoscale Phase Distribution in Li-ion Battery Electrode MaterialsContact: Jordi Cabana (LBNL)

Li-ion batteries are key elements in the effort to develop efficient chemical energy storage from sustainable energy sources. However, any effort to optimize battery performance requires a deeper understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of diffusion and phase transformation in battery electrodes. In this study, supported by the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage, an Energy Frontier Research Center, scientists from LBNL and SSRL used full-field transmission x-ray microscopy coupled with x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (FF TXM-XANES) at SSRL Beam Line 6-2 to visualize the chemical phase transformations occurring in single crystals of the electrode material  LiFePO4, at ~30 nm spatial resolution.   Read more…


The Structure and Dynamics of Eukaryotic Glutaminyl-tRNA SynthetaseContact: Edward Snell (SUNY Buffalo / Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute)

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are required in all three domains of life to add the correct amino acid to its cognate tRNA, an essential step in protein synthesis. Despite their importance, no structure had been reported for any full-length eukaryotic, glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS), although structural data for two prokaryotic GlnRS species exists. A group led by Edward Snell of the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute has used crystallography and SAXS data from SSRL to develop a model of the full-length enzyme in solution. Using crystallographic structures and homology with known complexes, they also modeled the full-length enzyme bound to tRNAglnRead more…

More Science

Metal Oxo Bonds from the May 2013 ALS Newsletter

Metal oxides are important for scientific and technical applications in a variety of disciplines, including materials science, chemistry, and biology. Highly covalent metal–oxygen multiple bonds (metal oxos) are the building blocks of metal oxides and have a bearing on the oxide’s desirable chemical, magnetic, electronic, and thermal properties. The lack of a more sophisticated grasp of bonding in metal oxides constitutes a roadblock to innovation in a wide variety of important emergent technologies, including industrial catalysis, biomimetic transformations, and artificial photosynthesis. To address this problem, a research team from four national laboratories, three Department of Energy synchrotron user facilities, and the University of Washington has applied spectroscopic and computational analyses to a number of metal oxides, quantifying trends in metal oxo bonding for groups of metals across the periodic table. Read more via the ALS Newsletter

Why Low Alpha? Contacts: Apurva Mehta and James Safranek

Since FY2012, SSRL is now scheduling three to four three-day periods each year dedicated to running SPEAR3 in hybrid low-alpha operation.  In this mode the SPEAR3 ring has 1-4 camshaft pulses with very low current and pulse duration of 5-20 picoseconds for timing measurements.  The rest of the buckets are filled to provide 100-200 mA current for other users not involved in timing experiments.  The last low alpha operation period in FY2013 is scheduled for June 14-16, and high repetition rate (HRR) measurements will be conducted at Beam Line 10-2 and Beam Line 13-3 during that period.

Admittedly this is a somewhat disruptive mode for the synchrotron to run in. Since that's the case, why would SSRL find it advantageous to spend valuable beam time in low-alpha operation?  Read more...

Workshop Summary

RapiData 2013


The RapiData 2013 Workshop was jointly organized by the NSLS Protein Crystallography Research Resource (PXRR) and the Structural Molecular Biology group (SMB) at SSRL. The joint workshop was conceived to allow NSLS Macromolecular Crystallography users to have synchrotron access during the “dark period” between the end of operations at NSLS and the start up of NSLS-II and its macromolecular crystallography beam lines. The resources available at SSRL were shown to be ideal for several reasons: SSRL has full remote-access capabilities for all of its crystallography beam lines, and the staff have a proven record in easily and smoothly accommodating users across the globe. The workshop, which included this feature for the second year in a row, provided a full demonstration of these capabilities to the NSLS structural biology community. For further information, see SSRL's Macromolecular Crystallography web site or contact Lisa Dunn.

Upcoming Events

SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference and Workshops – October 1-4, 2013

Plans for our upcoming October 1-4 Users’ Conference are well underway. Please mark your calendars to join us for a line-up of workshops, science talks and a poster session geared for exploring new opportunities at SSRL and LCLS and highlighting the excellent science that is already being done at both.  So far the agenda includes:

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS for the October 3 Plenary Session

  • Science Case for Diffraction Limited Storage Ring, Oleg Shpyrko (University of California San Diego)
  • Science Case for Short Pulses Time Resolved Studies, Aaron Lindenberg (Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences - SIMES)
  • Exploring Matter in Extreme Conditions, Siegfried Glenzer (Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences - SIMES)
  • Novel Short Pulses at LCLS, Ryan Coffee (LCLS)

SATELLITE EVENTS                                          

  • Oct 1-2:  Using X-rays to Study Cultural Heritage. Organizers: Marc Walton (The Getty Conservation Institute), Apurva Mehta (SSRL)
  • Oct 1-2:  High-Intensity Laser-Plasma Interactions with a Free Electron Laser. Organizers: Siegfried Glenzer (SIMES), Roger Falcone (LBNL), Stefan Hau-Riege (LLNL)
  • Oct 4:      Early Career Scientist Associate Forum. Organizers: Hae Ja Lee (LCLS), Andre Schleife (LLNL)

USER CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS                                            

  • Oct 1:  Exploring an Inverse Compton Source (ICS) at SLAC. Organizers: Yijin Liu, Mike Toney
  • Oct 1:  Integrating Synchrotron Techniques into Environmental Carbon Science. Organizers: John Bargar, Colleen Hansel
  • Oct 1:  MicroXAS Imaging with SSRL's New 2-5 keV Beam Line 14-3. Organizer:  Sam Webb
  • Oct 1:  New Directions for High-Energy Density (HED) Physics at the Matter in Extreme Conditions Instrument. Organizers: Siegfried Glenzer, Phil Heimann
  • Oct 1:  Toward a Modular Framework for Lightsource Experiment Simulation. Organizer: Garth Williams
  • Oct 2:  AMO Science. Organizer:  Christoph Bostedt
  • Oct 2:  LCLS Data Analysis. Organizer:  Amedeo Perazzo
  • Oct 2:  LCLS Detectors. Organizers:  Gabriella Carini, Chris Kenney
  • Oct 2:  Synchrotron Techniques in Metal Biogeochemistry:  Across Time and Spatial Scales. Organizers: John Bargar, Colleen Hansel
  • Oct 3:  X-ray Spectroscopy for Chemical Catalysis. Organizers:  Mali Balasubramanian (APS/ANL), Tsu-Chien Weng, Jun-Sik Lee
  • Oct 4:  Soft X-ray (SXR) Science. Organizers: Bill Schlotter, Josh Turner
  • Oct 4:  Software for Serial Crystallography Data Analysis. Organizers: Anton Barty, Thomas White, Marc Messerschmidt
  • Oct 4:  Time Resolved Experiments at SSRL using Low Alpha Mode. Organizers:  Hendrik Ohldag, Apurva Mehta

Stay tuned for registration details!

Big Data Challenges to be Featured at NUFO Annual Meeting, June 19-21

The National User Facilities Organization (NUFO) will meet June 19-21 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to explore the challenges of handling, analyzing, and archiving the huge amounts of data created in scientific research. In addition to plenary talks and breakout sessions based on the meeting theme, "The Future of Scientific Data: Strategies for Facilities," there will workshops focusing on social media for scientific outreach, communications strategies, visa benchmarking, and scientific productivity metrics. More information about the meeting, registration, and the agenda can be found at the 2013 NUFO Annual Meeting site.

User Science to be Featured at NUFO Exhibit in Washington, DC, June 25

National scientific user facilities, which are located at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and sites funded by the National Science Foundation, enable research that few individual institutions could undertake alone, and they give American scientists and institutions a competitive edge in the international marketplace. More than 45,000 scientists from every U.S. state use the facilities, and their research has led to groundbreaking discoveries and transformational innovations that create new products and industries, generate new jobs, and address our energy and technological needs. On Wednesday June 26, 2013, the National User Facility Organization (NUFO) will hold an exhibition, hosted by the House Science & National Lab Caucus, which will highlight how research conducted at the National User Facilities addresses key challenges facing our nation and the world, ranging from long-term energy needs to human health to fundamental scientific discovery. The event will be held in the Rayburn Office Building, Room 2168 (The Gold Room) from 5-7 pm on Wednesday, June 26. Invited speakers will address the reception at 6 pm. See NUFO Exhibition web site.

Founded in 1990, NUFO represents the interests of all users who conduct research at U.S. national scientific user facilities, as well as scientists from U.S. universities, laboratories, and industry who use similar facilities outside the United States. Find out more about NUFO's activities in support of users on the NUFO web site.

User Administration Update

Upcoming Proposal Deadlines

  • September 1, 2013 for beam time on SSRL X-ray/VUV lines beginning in February 2014
  • July 1, 2013 for beam time on SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography lines beginning fall 2013
  • July 9, 2013 for beam time on LCLS instruments/beam lines for Run 9 beginning spring 2014
Please submit proposals through our User Portal.

Change in User Research Administration Office Hours:  With limited staff in the User Research Administration (URA) Office in Building 120, we have had to reduce the office hours, with closure during the lunch hour, 12-1 pm. The new hours are: 0700-1200 (7 am-12 noon) and 1300-1600 (1 pm-4 pm) Monday through Friday (except SLAC holidays).

Note that users without valid training and SLAC ID badges will not be permitted through Gate 17 outside of the URA office hours unless they have arranged for and are accompanied by an escort (temporary badges can be obtained from SLAC Security located next to the main gate). Please complete training and contact URA in advance of your visit to help facilitate access and badging.

Gate 17 Construction & Access Changes


Construction is underway to update Gate 17 with proximity access hardware and to change the steps next to the Security hut to an ADA compliant ramp. This construction is expected to be completed by July 2. During this construction period, access to the LCLS and SSRL buildings and experimental facilities will be provided as follows:

  • Vehicular Access through Gate 17
    • Security will continue to check for valid SLAC ID badges for drivers and all passengers.
    • 0600-1530 (6 am-3:30 pm) Construction Zone. Only VEHICLE traffic will be allowed access through Gate 17 and flagman will provide traffic control.
    • 1530-1800 (3:30-6 pm) Assuming construction has stopped for the day, both traffic lanes will be open for vehicles only.
    • 1800-0600 (6 pm-6 am) Gate 17 will continue to be closed or barricaded overnight.
    • Sector 30 gate will continued to be staffed.

  • Pedestrians will be re-directed through Gate 16
      Access Map Thumbnail
    • The pedestrian turnstile at Gate 16A next to Building 137 will not change. The turnstile is available 24/7 for individual with a valid SLAC ID badge (and there is a guard at Gate 30 to 'buzz' them through).
    • 0700-1600 (7 am-4 pm) Instead of walking through Gate 17, pedestrians will be re-routed to the Gate 16 swing gate which will be unlocked and staffed by Security who will check badges. A valid SLAC ID is needed to enter; users without IDs will be allowed to proceed for check-in and badging only after confirmation with the User Research Administration (URA) Office during URA office hours: 0700-1200 (7 am-12 noon) and 1300-1600 (1 pm-4 pm) Monday through Friday (except SLAC holidays).

After the construction is completed and proximity card readers are fully functional, staff and users will enter Gates 17 or 30 using an activated RFID proximity card. More details to follow.  See map


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 SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, and by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Center for Research Resources. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL web site.

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn