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SSRL Headlines Vol. 5, No. 7  January, 2005


Contents of this Issue:

  1. SPEAR3 Receives Authorization for Restart
  2. Science Highlight — Researchers Discover Living Nanoscale "Necklace"
  3. LCLS Project Gets an Injection of Funds from Congress
  4. W.M. Keck Foundation Grant to Advance Ultrafast X-ray Studies in the Chemical Sciences
  5. Visitors from DC: US Senate Committee Staff and Deputy Director of the DOE Office of Science
  6. Research led by SSRL Faculty on the Structure of Water Makes the Science Top 10 List
  7. Book Lodging at the Guest House to Maximize Your Time on the Beam Line
  8. User Administration Update

1.  SPEAR3 Receives Authorization to Restart
      (contact: Keith Hodgson,

On January 13, the Restart Validation Committee made the recommendation to SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan that SSRL operations be allowed to resume. After receiving concurrence on the recommendation from Dr. Raymond Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science, Dr. Dorfan accepted the restart plan and authorized SSRL to resume operations beginning on January 18. The first step in the start-up process after receiving the approval included a series of checks on the Personnel Protection System (PPS) and the power supplies system, among others, as outlined in the SSRL Restart Plan (see link below). Once the linac was turned on, it took just a couple of days to store 10 mA of beam in SPEAR3. Two days later, on Tuesday, January 25, 100 mA had been successfully injected and stored in SPEAR3.

The second part of the restart process involves bringing up the beam lines. A pre-restart requirement (electrical safety inspection by the SLAC electrical safety officer) was completed and several findings documented and corrected. As with the first SPEAR3 run in 2004, the beam lines are being opened in stages, pending review and approval of each beam line by SLAC Radiation Protection (RP) personnel. After the initial approval to open individual beam lines, each beam line will be reviewed again over the course of a week or so to ensure safe operations. Once RP has determined that a given beam line meets all radiation safety criteria, staff can then get online to complete the commissioning process. Thus far, BLs 4, 7, 9, 10 and 11 have been opened. If start-up activities continue to proceed smoothly according to the restart plan, we hope to have users back on at least some of the beam lines by February 7. Over the following 7-14 days, most of the remaining beam lines should be brought into user-operational status.

We wish to thank all of those staff — both at SSRL and from other SLAC Divisions — who have put a tremendous amount of effort into getting us to this point. We are thrilled at the prospect of welcoming users back to SSRL and look forward to a safe and productive experimental run through the end of July, 2005.

2.  Science Highlight — Researchers Discover Living Nanoscale "Necklace"
      (contact: Cyrus R. Safinya,

In an interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), a team of researchers in physics and biology have made a discovery at the nanoscale level that could be instrumental in the production of miniaturized materials with many applications. Dubbed a "living necklace," the unexpected finding could influence the development of vehicles for chemical, drug, and gene delivery, enzyme encapsulation systems and biosensors, circuitry components, as well as templates for nanosized wires and optical materials. Using bovine brain tissue, the researchers studied nanometer-scale hollow cylinders derived from cell cytoskeleton, microtubules, to understand the mechanisms leading to their assembly and shape. In an organism, microtubules and their assembled structures are critical components in a broad range of cell functions, from providing tracks for the transport of cargo to forming the spindle structure in cell division to aiding in the transport of neurotransmitters. However, the mechanism of their assembly within an organism has been poorly understood. In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report the discovery of a new type of higher order assembly of microtubules. Unexpectedly, they found that small, spherical divalent cations caused microtubules to assemble into a "necklace." They discovered distinct linear, branched and loop shaped necklaces. From a formal theoretical physics perspective, the living necklace phase is the first experimental realization of a new type of membrane where the long microtubule molecules are oriented in the same direction, but can diffuse within the living membrane. The team explained that the living necklace bundle is highly dynamic and that thermal fluctuations will cause it to change shape. Based on both the tight bundle and living necklace phases, they envision broad applications from nanomaterials with controlled optical properties to drug or gene carriers (using the assemblies encased by a lipid bilayer where each nanotube may contain a distinct chemical). This work was performed using SSRL Beam Line 4-2 as well as the electron and optical microscopy at UCSB. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy.

necklace To learn more about this research see: or

3.  LCLS Project Gets an Injection of Funds from Congress
      (contact: John Galayda,

With news of the $54 million in LCLS funding provided by Congress in the fiscal 2005 budget appropriation (the DOE Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences), the LCLS project team is stepping up its engineering design activities and will procure a few of the first long-lead components for the project. Along these lines, the team met for a three-day conference last week to review the project status and engineering aspects. Collaborators from APS, LLNL, UCLA, as well as SLAC made presentations and received comments on all major systems of the project from the Injector/Linac to the Conventional Facilities.

Breakout sessions included the LCLS Project Office which covered Risk Management and Earned Value reviews of all subsystems; Conventional Facilities reviewed Title I progress and start of Title II issues;
LCLS Ultrafast Center
Injector/Linac systems looked into RF gun studies, drive laser and feedback simulations; Undulator Systems involved AC conductivity issues with material choice for the vacuum chamber and alignment/tuning budget; XTOD/X-ray End Stations discussed simulations, total energy measurement systems, spectrometer decisions, and end station shielding; Controls Systems reviewed bunch length monitors, motor and vacuum hardware choices, and plans to make a transparent connection between the existing SLC Linac Controls System and EPICS controls for the new LCLS systems. LCLS Week closed out with summaries and highlights detailed by the system managers and overall status summary by the project director. LCLS remains on track for first XFEL light in 2008 with operation scheduled by mid-2009.

For more information on the LCLS see:

See January 19, 2005 article in the Stanford Report at:

4.   W.M. Keck Foundation Grant to Advance Ultrafast X-ray Studies in the Chemical Sciences
      (contact: Kelly Gaffney,

The future of ultrafast x-ray studies at SSRL has received a significant boost with a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation ( The funds will be utilized to develop and apply ultrafast x-ray techniques in the chemical sciences and expand the scientific scope of the new Ultrafast Science Center at SSRL. The initial research will focus on identifying and understanding the origin of efficient light harvesting and solar energy conversion in molecular systems. The coming of the world's first hard x-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the support of the W.M. Keck foundation, and the Ultrafast Science Center will ensure that Stanford and SSRL can be at the forefront of ultrafast x-ray studies of chemical dynamics in the near and foreseeable future.

5.   Visitors from DC: US Senate Committee Staff and Deputy Director of the DOE Office of Science
      (contact: Keith Hodgson,

Two staff members from the Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water visited SLAC on Monday, January 10. In addition to briefings on the new Kavli Institute, GLAST and the International Linear Collider, Tammy Cameron and Scott O'Malia visited SSRL and heard presentations by Keith Hodgson on the prospects for the future of SPEAR3 and John Galayda on the LCLS. The Subcommittee on Energy and Water is part of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is responsible for appropriating funding for the DOE Office of Science.

On January 26, Dr. James Decker, the Principal Deputy Director of the DOE Office of Science, visited SLAC for the day. Part of his tour of SLAC included the SPEAR3 Control Room, where the staff were in the process of starting up the accelerator complex, and the overlook to see where LCLS will be constructed. Dr. Decker also held program discussions with SLAC management. In the afternoon he presented the DOE Mentor Awards to two SLAC recipients.

6.   Research led by SSRL Faculty on the Structure of Water Makes the Science Top 10 List

In late December, Science Magazine listed their top 10 breakthroughs in 2004, which included exciting synchrotron-based results on the structure of water. A team of researchers, led by scientists at SSRL and Stockholm University, used soft x-ray core-excitation spectroscopy at the ALS and APS to determine that water molecules clump much more loosely than previously thought. This work, featured as number 8 of Runner-Up Breakthroughs of the Year for 2004, revealed detailed information about the nearest neighbor coordination geometry in liquid water and has implications for fields from chemistry to atmospheric sciences.

7.   Book Lodging at the Guest House to Maximize Your Time on the Beam Line

Users are encouraged to stay at the SLAC Guest House which provides comfortable lodging just a short 2-minute walk from the beam lines. Amenities include cable TV and DVD;
SLAC Guesthouse
SLAC Guest House
high-speed, in-room internet access; complimentary coffee/tea; free parking; free fitness center; laundry facilities; and a 24-hour gift shop. Contact the Guest House directly to secure your reservations (specify SSRL upon check-in so that we can accurately track usage for SSRL users): 650-926-2800 -

8.   User Administration Update
      (contacts: Cathy Knotts,; Lisa Dunn,

The deadline for beam time requests for the March-May scheduling period on macromolecular crystallography (MC) beam lines is Monday, February 7, and beam time requests for the April-July scheduling period on X-ray and VUV beam lines are due by February 14. Beam time requests can be submitted electronically via our website:


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 by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. 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 Institute for General Medical Sciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site.


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Last Updated: 31 JAN 2005
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn