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SSRL Headlines Vol. 6, No. 7  January, 2006


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Hydrogenation of Carbon Nanotubes Provides Step toward Hydrogen Vehicles
  2. Beam Line Update
  3. Arsenic the Silent Killer - Public Lecture on February 28
  4. Abstracts for XAFS13 Due March 15
  5. First Announcement - Workshop on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application
  6. Light Source Communicators Meet at SLAC in January
  7. SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee Meets on February 13
  8. Sample Furnace Now Available for General Use
  9. Beam Time Requests Due in February
  10. Photon Science Job Opportunities

1.  Science Highlight — Hydrogenation of Carbon Nanotubes Provides Step toward Hydrogen Vehicles
      (contacts: A. Nikitin,; A. Nilsson,

 SWCN figure
Researchers at SSRL and Stanford have taken a step closer to hydrogen-run cars by adding hydrogen to tiny cylinders made entirely out of carbon. Recent experiments at SSRL and the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley have shown that carbon nanotubes, 50,000 times narrower than a human hair, are a promising material for storing hydrogen safely, efficiently and compactly. To attempt to store hydrogen, the researchers bombarded a film of carbon nanotubes with a hydrogen beam. Then they studied the film with different x-ray spectroscopy techniques to see if any hydrogen atoms had formed chemical bonds with the carbon.

They found that about 65 percent of the carbon atoms had bonded to hydrogen atoms. In carbon nanotubes, the carbon atoms have double bonds between each other. The incoming hydrogens break the double bonds, allowing a hydrogen atom to attach to a carbon atom while the carbon atoms renew their attachment to each other with single bonds. The carbon nanotubes offer safe storage because the hydrogen atoms are bonded to other atoms, rather than freely floating as a gas, which is potentially explosive. The researchers estimated that five percent of the total weight of the hydrogenated nanotubes came from the hydrogen atoms, and they are already working to boost that number. For its FreedomCAR program, the Department of Energy has set the goal of developing a material that can hold six percent of the total weight in hydrogen by the year 2010.

To learn more about this research published in the November 23, 2005 issue of PRL see:

2.  Beam Line Update
      (contact: P. Pianetta,

An aggressive schedule of beam line development projects was launched as soon as the 2005 summer shutdown began on August 1, including major upgrades to Beam
BL diagram
Lines 2, 5, 9 and 10, a complete rebuild of BL7, as well as conventional construction for the new BL12. Most of the beam lines opened as planned when the run began in December and significant progress has been made in January. Users are now online on BLs 2-1, 2-3, 10-1 and 10-2 and commissioning is underway on BLs 5-1/2/4, 9-1, 9-2 and 9-3. We anticipate that BL7-3 will be ready for users by mid-April and BL7-1 sometime later in the spring. Our expectation for the "rebirth" of BL7-2 includes initial plans for vertically focused, but horizontally unfocused operations beginning in April. In May 2006, a new, sagittal focusing monochromator will be installed and commissioned on BL7-2; user operations with vertically and horizontally focused beam are expected to begin in June. BLs 4-1 and 4-3 will remain down for the rest of the 2006 run.

The schedule for the first part of the 2006 user run at SSRL is posted online at SPEAR3 has delivered approximately 95% of the beam to users to date. The 2006 SPEAR3 operating schedule, which includes information on scheduled maintenance and accelerator physics studies is also available at

3.  Arsenic the Silent Killer - Public Lecture on February 28

Poster Image
Join Andrea Foster, SSRL user and scientist with the Mineral Resources Program at the U.S. Geological Survey, on Tuesday, February 28, for the next SLAC Public Lecture. Andrea uses x-rays to determine the forms of potentially toxic elements in environmentally-important matrices such as water, sediments, plants and microorganisms. In this free public lecture, Andrea will discuss her research on arsenic, which is called the silent killer because dissolved in water, it is colorless, odorless and tasteless, yet consumption of relatively small doses of this element in its most toxic forms can cause rapid and violent death. Arsenic is a well-known poison, and has been used as such since ancient times. Less well known is the fact that much lower doses of the element, consumed over years, can lead to a variety of skin and internal cancers that can also be fatal. Currently, what has been called the largest mass poisoning in history is occurring in Bangladesh, where most people are by necessity drinking ground water that is contaminated with arsenic far in excess of the maximum amounts determined to be safe by the World Health Organization. This presentation will review the long and complicated history with arsenic, describe how x-rays have helped explain the high yet spatially variable arsenic concentrations in Bangladesh, discuss the ways in which land use in Bangladesh may be exacerbating the problem and summarize the impact of this silent killer on drinking water systems worldwide.


Abstracts for XAFS13 Due March 15

      (contacts: B. Hedman,; P. Pianetta,

Scientific abstracts for the 13th International Conference on X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS13), July 9-14, 2006 at Stanford, California, are due by March 15. XAFS13, which will be held at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center on the Stanford University campus, is hosted by Stanford University and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. The XAFS Conference constitutes an international series held every three years. The last two XAFS conferences took place in Malmö, Sweden (2003) and Ako, Japan (2000). The scope of the conference is X-ray Absorption Fine Structure and related techniques and topics. Many techniques and the theory focusing on XAFS-related phenomena will be covered, as will applications to a wide range of scientific areas. The conference website will be continuously updated as information becomes available. Queries can be sent to the email address We look forward to your participation in this conference and seeing you here at Stanford in 2006!

5.   First Announcement - Workshop on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application
      (contacts: J. Bargar,; M. Toney,

Date:  May 16 (Lectures); May 17 (Hands-on practical session)
Modern synchrotron-based X-ray scattering (SR-XRS) techniques offer the ability to probe nano- and atomic-scale structures and order/disorder relationships that critically govern the properties of advanced technological and environmental materials. The high collimation, intensity, and tunability of SR allow the investigation of a wide range of materials, including thin films and interfaces, nanoparticles, amorphous materials, solutions, hydrated and disordered bacteriogenic minerals and highly crystalline materials. Good planning and a working knowledge of beam lines, in addition to technique, are keys to conducting successful SR-XRS measurements. This workshop will address exactly these aspects by providing a practical users' guide to planning and conducting scattering measurements at SSRL beam lines. The workshop will emphasize topics that are not commonly addressed in text books or class lectures, but are typically obtained only through on-the-experiment training.

The workshop includes a day of hands-on training at four SSRL beam lines (registration limited to 20 participants). The workshop cost will be $25 for graduate students and $50 for all others. Registration will open on February 14, 2006.

6.   Light Source Communicators Meet at SLAC in January
      (contact: C. Knotts,

Lightsources.Org Image
Light source communicators from around the world met at SLAC on Friday, January 20, to discuss ways to boost awareness of, as well as content and applications for their collaborative website This site serves as a clearing house for information on all the world's light sources, including SSRL and LCLS. This website is updated daily and includes proposal deadlines, a calendar of upcoming scientific conferences and educational material A newsflash service offers interested individuals immediate updates via email as soon as news relevant to light sources is released to the public; sign up today at

7.  SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee Meets on February 13
      (contact: J. Andrews,

All users are encouraged to participate in activities of the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee (SSRLUOEC), including attendance at the next meeting which has been scheduled for Monday, February 13, in the SLAC Central Lab Bldg. 40, Sierra Conference Room (11 am-4 pm). The SSRLUOEC is a group of elected users who represent the entire SSRL user community and who work closely with SSRL/SLAC management on internal issues of interest to the users as well as externally for such activities as raising awareness about the breadth of research made possible by DOE user facilities like SSRL and the need to support basic sciences overall. This is an especially important message for users to share with elected officials in Washington and elsewhere. We expect that this will be a busy year for the SSRLUOEC: budget issues in Washington are likely to become even more important in the near future. We are working with representatives of the four DOE synchrotron users' organizations as well as the neutron facilities on issues related to user advocacy, outreach and education. Along those lines, we plan to prepare a pamphlet which summarizes who we are, what we do, and why basic sciences and user facilities our important. And, we hope to share this information with various groups and individuals on a trip to DC which we are trying to coordinate for the early spring. In short, the SSRLUOEC needs users to be aware of and responsive to issues important to the user community. We are also here to support your needs, so please contact me or anyone else on the SSRLUOEC with any feedback, suggestions, or questions. If there are things to be improved, please tell us, and if things are going well, we would love to pass the information on as well. We look forward to seeing you at future SSRLUOEC meetings!

8.  Sample Furnace Now Available for General Use
      (contacts: S. Brennan,; M. Toney,

Brochure Image
download brochure
We are pleased to announce the availability of a sample furnace for general use. This was originally purchased for the scattering beam lines but has been used by several spectroscopists with success on Beam Lines 6-2 and 10-2, so SSRL intends to make the furnace available on request. The furnace is a commercial model made by Anton-Paar, called the DHS-900. You can download information describing the furnace at The furnace consists of a heater plate and a hemispherical dome made of PEEK, a polymeric material. The furnace can be evacuated to about 10 mTorr or run at an atmospheric pressure of either air or a specific gas. In some early experiments with the furnace an oxygen atmosphere was used. The PEEK dome is cooled by compressed air flowing over the external surface of the dome, which keeps the dome cool even at the 900C maximum operating temperature of the dome. There are two thermocouples for measuring the temperature at the surface of the furnace. Depending on sample configuration and atmosphere the temperature of one's sample can be lower than that of the thermocouple by as much as 15C at elevated temperatures (i.e. >700C), so for best results one should calibrate the furnace for the temperature range of interest. The compressed air cooling turns on for furnace temperatures above 200C, thus one cannot run the furnace "windowless" above that temperature.

If you are interested in using the furnace please note this on your Beam Time Request form. For technical information contact either Sean Brennan ( or Mike Toney (

9.  Beam Time Requests Due in February
      (contacts: C. Knotts,; L. Dunn,

Macromolecular Crystallography Beam Time Requests for March through May are due by Friday, February 10:

X-ray/VUV Beam time requests for the third scheduling period in 2006 (late May through August 7) need to be submitted by Monday, February 27:

The schedule for the second X-ray/VUV scheduling period which begins in several weeks has been posted at:

The SPEAR3 operating schedule, which provides information on scheduled maintenance and accelerator physics days in 2006, is also posted to the website:

10.   Photon Science Job Opportunities

A number of positions are currently available at LCLS and SSRL. Please refer to the Photon Science Job Openings page at for more information about these job opportunities.


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: 30 JAN 2006
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