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Vol. 13, No. 2 - August 2012
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From Director Chi-Chang Kao

The SSRL FY2012 run ended on August 13, with a 96.8% uptime of the accelerator and 5162 hours delivered to our users – the completion of yet another highly successful run cycle.  As I mentioned in last month’s column, SSRL also passed a major milestone this run, in that the SPEAR3 accelerator current was increased on July 25 to 450 mA, and we continued at this current through the end of the run.  Many experiments saw a direct benefit from this new level of resulting flux/brightness and we are continuing to evaluate the results and improvements during the shutdown. 

With the annual fall shutdown now in progress, our focus has shifted to installation, upgrade and maintenance projects, which this year focus on installation of the new Beam Line 5 undulator, the installation of new mirror systems for Beam Lines 9-2 and 9-3, the completion of the SPEAR3 tunnel insulation project, an upgrade to the injector RF system, and the continued work to lower the SPEAR3 emittance.  We will highlight these at the upcoming SSRL/LCLS joint Annual Users’ Meeting, October 3-6, and I hope that you will be able to attend this event.

As for events - last week, SSRL helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of SLAC in a two-day program that engaged some 1,000 current and former employees, scientific colleagues, government and university leaders, and congressional representatives. 

The event started with a 1-day scientific symposium, which had a strong focus on the future research opportunities of the laboratory, illustrated by past successes that will enable them, and covering a wide range of research areas that are pursued in the U.S. and abroad.  The symposium ended with a keynote address by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  Saturday’s events included an anniversary ceremony that focused on presentations that illustrated SLAC’s pursuit of new discoveries and fields of research by visionaries that stretched the achievements towards new horizons in high energy physics and synchrotron science, and other areas.  Stanford President John Hennessy emphasized the strong connection between the University and SLAC, sharing a mission in discovery and dissemination or new knowledge.  The ceremony was capped through a second talk by Steven Chu.

It was noted that this was a celebration also of the 40th anniversary of SSRP – the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project – that led to what today is SSRL - providing pioneering developments of techniques and applications along the way.  In addition – it is 20 years since the concept of using the SLAC Linac as an x-ray free electron laser - which eventually became LCLS – was discussed at a workshop led by Claudio Pellegrini and Herman Winick.  So – in conclusion – three anniversaries that point us towards many years of future scientific endeavors.

Science Highlights

  • SSRL X-rays Illuminate Frustrated Materials SSRL X-rays Illuminate Frustrated Materials

    The electronic, spin, and ionic structures of closely packed atoms in solids are strongly co-dependent and interactions of these three lattices, whether innate or due to subtle manipulation, can cause exotic properties to emerge. The strong coupling among these lattices can also suppress a physical property through "frustration," the term for an incompatibility of symmetries. A long-theorized state of matter arising from frustration is the quantum spin liquid, in which the orientations of the atomic magnets are continually fluctuating - as in the continuous motions of atoms in a liquid. This novel state of matter was first observed in Ba3CuSb2O9 by an international team of investigators, including a group using SSRL.

    Experiments the team performed at SSRL showed that, although there is a strong local magnetic moment, ionic frustration prevents the spins from freezing even at the lowest measured temperature - 100 mK. This is in direct contrast to what usually happens to magnetic ions located within a crystal lattice. Read more

        Contact: Frank (Bud) Bridges, University of California Santa Cruz

  • Computational Design of Anti-flu ProteinsSSRL Aids Computational Design of Anti-flu Proteins

    Understanding how proteins interact with some specific molecules and not with the myriad other molecules with which they coexist in every cellular compartment is a major goal of molecular biology. Linus Pauling suggested the broad outlines of an answer in the 1940's: the aggregate effect of numerous weak and nonspecific van der Waals, hydrogen-bonding, and electrostatic interactions are what underlie high specificity and affinity.

    In recent papers, a group of researchers led by David Baker (University of Washington) provided the first high-affinity and high-specificity interactions designed entirely from scratch. X-ray diffraction data collected on Beam Line 9-2 at SSRL played a key role in the validation of the two best designs. In the process of developing the computational methods, the team made breakthroughs in understanding the design principles of natural functional sites.

    The team targeted a surface on the influenza hemagglutinin protein that enables flu viruses to attach to and invade cells lining the human respiratory tract. Read more

        Contact: Sarel Fleishman, Weizmann Institute of Science


  • SSRL 6th Annual School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application

    Synchrotron-based X-ray scattering techniques offer the ability to probe nano- and atomic-scale structure that dictates the properties of advanced technological and environmental materials. Materials studied at the SSRL include organic and inorganic thin films and interfaces, nanoparticles, complex oxides, solutions, polymers, minerals and poorly crystalline materials. Thorough planning and a good working knowledge of beam lines and techniques are required to successfully conduct SR-XRS measurements.  Read more … 

  • Xradia: A Pioneering Provider of Innovative X-ray Microscopes
    SLAC Today article by Mike Ross

    In the first of an occasional series of articles profiling companies that supply or use SLAC facilities, we look at Pleasanton-based Xradia, Inc., which designs and makes innovative x-ray microscopes.

    A former Department of Energy scientist who invented a better way to make x-ray microscopes for high-resolution 3-D imaging has turned that idea into a thriving company that now makes equipment for SSRL and many other synchrotrons worldwide. Read more ...

  • User Spotlight: Studying Air, Artifacts, Meteorites and More at SSRL
    SLAC Today article by Lori Ann White

    Tom Cahill of the DELTA Group at University of California Davis is a frequent visitor to SSRL because he knows that you just can't beat a synchrotron for figuring out what's in samples.  Read more ...


  • Registration Open, Poster Abstracts Wanted for Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference
    Registration is open for the 70th annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference, to take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at SLAC, immediately prior to the 2012 LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting and Workshops (Oct. 3 to 6). Organized by the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society, the three-day event is billed as the "oldest diffraction-related conference in North America. Read more ...

  • Herman WinickInstruments of Discovery - Past and Future of Synchrotron Light Sources. A Symposium to Honor Herman Winick on his 80th Birthday will be held on October 2, 2012 at the Quadrus Conference Center across Sand Hill Road from SLAC. The program is coming together with speakers including Ewan Patterson, Seb Doniach, Claudio Pellegrini, Jo Stohr, Andy Sessler, Efim Gluskin, Soichi Wakatsuki, John Schmerge, and Artie Bienenstock discussing Herman’s contributions and looking forward to the new science that they are continuing to enable.  The detailed program will be posted on the SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting web site as soon as it is finalized.

    The symposium will run 9 am – 5 pm with an open mike at the last session and followed by a dinner. Although there is no fee for the symposium, registration is required. There will be a cost for the dinner and registrants will be given the opportunity to sign up for the dinner. Registration is now open and is available as an option through the SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting web site. Note that it is possible to register for this symposium without attending the full Users’ Meeting. Directions to Quadrus.

  • Registration Open for LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting & Workshops, October 3-6, 2012
    Register now for our Annual Users' Meeting & Workshops and book your lodging at our Guest House by September 3 while rooms are still being held in reserve for this event. Specify 'Users12' to take advantage of discount rates for SLAC guests.

    This event is a valuable opportunity to learn about our latest plans, new developments and exciting research at LCLS and SSRL. It is also a great time to interact with other scientists, potential colleagues, and vendors of light source related products and services. A poster session will be held to highlight recent research and development at LCLS and SSRL. Graduate students are especially encouraged to submit an abstract to compete in the poster competition, but all submissions are welcome.  Please submit a poster abstract by September 17.

    Keynote talks at the Users’ Meeting will be given by George Crabtree, ANL, on Opportunities with Synchrotron Radiation at the Mesoscale and Helmut Dosch, DESY, on Future Opportunities with XFELs.

    This year's workshop topics include the following:

    • De-Mystifying the Lightsource Experience
    • Opportunities for Nanoscale Spectromicroscopy - Hard and Soft X-ray Imaging
    • Science with High Energy X-rays
    • Toward Controlled Excitations: Ultrafast Mechanisms of Lattice and Electron Dynamics
    • Translating Your Science for the Public
    • Opportunities with Synchrotron Radiation at the Mesoscale
    • LCLS-II Instrument Workshop

    More details can be found at the meeting web site.


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