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SSRL Headlines Vol. 3, No. 4  October, 2002


Contents of This Issue:

  1. Science Highlight - New SSRL Data Provides Challenge for Theory of the Random-Field Ising Model
  2. SSRL Director Keith Hodgson Appointed to University Endowed Professorship
  3. 29th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting Wrap-Up
  4. Users' Meeting Workshop Summaries
  5. Paul Phizackerley Receives 5th Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award
  6. Election Results Announced for 2003 SSRLUO Executive Committee
  7. Dr. Raymond Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science, Presides over SLAC Program Review
  8. SXNS Conference Highlight
  9. User Research Administration Announcements

1.  Science Highlight - New SSRL Data Provides Challenge for Theory of the Random-Field
      Ising Model

      (contacts: Lei Zhou, David Belanger, and Martin Greven)

The Ising model of interacting particles on a lattice has contributed greatly to the understanding of phase transitions in condensed matter. The three-dimensional Ising model for a pure system is well understood, with good agreement between theory and experiment. Theorists have been attempting to extend the model to systems including random defects. The Random Field Ising Model (RFIM) is perhaps the most important of these efforts.

A diluted antiferromagnet in an applied magnetic field provides a good system for testing the RFIM, but experimental difficulties have hindered these studies so far. The new High-Field Magnet facility at SSRL BL7-2, along with advances in sample preparation, have recently led to precise studies of critical phenomena in the random field system FexZn1-xF2. In particular, the order parameter exponent b was measured to be b = 0.16 +/- 0.02, a result which is at odds with most RFIM calculations, which yield values of b close to zero. This experiment will therefore serve as a stimulus and challenge to theoretical understanding of the RFIM.

More information regarding this research can be found on the SSRL Home Page and clicking on the Oct 2002 Science Highlight link. Please see the SSRL Science Highlights page for an archive of previous highlights.

2.  SSRL Director Keith Hodgson Appointed to University Endowed Professorship
     (contact: Gordon Brown)

Stanford Provost John Etchemendy informed Keith on October 15 of his appointment as the Howard H. and Jessie T. Watkins University Professor. This Professorship was established in 1982 and made possible by the generous bequest from Zoe Watkins Johnson who was a graduate of the Stanford Class of 1920. The Watkins Professorship provides the opportunity for Stanford's chief academic officer to reward faculty distinction anywhere in the University, irrespective of school or department. Regarding endowed chairs, Gordon Brown, Chairperson of the SSRL faculty and the Dorrell William Kirby Professor of Geology, School of Earth Sciences, remarked that "The endowed chair is a very real form of academic recognition beyond appointment to a tenured faculty position. It is a clear, unmistakable signal from the university that a faculty member is among its academic leaders." Upon learning of this Professorship, Keith commented that "It is a tremendous honor that Stanford has recognized my contributions which could not have been achieved without major support from many outstanding students and faculty colleagues at Stanford. I hope to use opportunities created by this new appointment to further strengthen and promote forefront research and education at the interface between SLAC and Stanford campus Departments."

3.  29th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting Wrap-Up
     (contact: Cathy Knotts)

This year's annual Users' Meeting took place on October 7-9. The meeting provided a dynamic forum for the presentation and discussion of research activities at SSRL and its synchrotron user community. New data and developments over the past year were highlighted through invited talks and poster presentations. As part of the poster session graduate students competed for prizes in several categories, including Materials, Environmental and Biological Sciences. The following posters were awarded prizes:
  • Characterization of Ultrathin Organic Films Using NEXAFS
       (Trevor M. Willey, LLNL/UC Davis)
  • Mechanisms of Fe Biomineralization Induced by Dissimilatory Iron Reduction
       (Colleen M. Hansel, Stanford University)
  • X-ray Spectroscopic Investigation of the Distribution and Speciation of Uranium in Contaminated Sediments from the DOE's Hanford Site
       (Jeffrey Catalano, Stanford University)
  • XAS Study of Ni Enzyme - Story of CODH and ACS
       (Weiwei Gu, UC Davis)

Additionally, several very productive workships covering a variety of topics were held October 8-9 in conjunction with this meeting (see workshop summaries on X-ray Imaging and Spectro-Microscopy, Catalysis, XANES and LCLS below).

SSRL Director Keith Hodgson noted that, "This was a very successful meeting with over 200 participants attending 24 talks, 46 poster presentations, 26 vendor exhibits, four workshops, two evening receptions and one Oktoberfest-themed dinner during the three-day event." If you were not able to attend this event, you missed a fun and informative meeting. Mark your calendar now for next years' meeting scheduled for October 9-10, 2003. We look forward to seeing you there!

4.  Users' Meeting Workshop Summaries (see Workshop Summaries for more complete
  • X-ray Imaging and Spectro-microscopy: the Present and the Future
       (Chairs: John Miao and Keith Hodgson)

    This workshop provided a forum to discuss the scientific applications of a variety of imaging and spectro-microscopic techniques. Invited speakers discussed important results using these applications and predicted possible future scientific directions with the advance of instrumentation and x-ray sources. The workshop was well attended with over fifty registered participants. Speakers and discussions covered a number of areas including scanning transmission x-ray microscopy, holographic imaging of local atomic structure, coherent x-ray diffraction imaging and phase retrieval techniques, approaches based on the oversampling method, the transport of intensity approach, x-ray microscopy for imaging cellular structures and of thick samples in their natural environment. Other topics included angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) of correlated materials and the development of magnetic x-ray microscopy. Throughout the workshop, it was very clear that instrumentation and methodology developments, coupled with the high brightness provided from insertion devices, was leading to breakthrough discoveries based upon microscopic imaging and spectroscopy. The potential for applications with 4th generation FEL lights sources was also seen to be great.

  • Opportunities in Catalysis Research Using Synchrotron Radiation
       (Chair: Anders Nilsson)

    Chemical catalysis is one of the research areas of enormous importance for the industrial society. There are important challenges to be met in the near future when development of new processes and catalysts will be a necessity. The intent of this workshop was to bring researchers from many different disciplines together to discuss how synchrotron radiation can be applied to address some fundamental questions in catalysis. There were overview lectures on the scientific challenges and future direction in fundamental aspects of catalysis. Presentations included ones on new technique development as well as on applications in areas that included oxide materials, the mechanism for oxidation of water in photosystem II, studies of supported gold catalysts and sulphide catalysts. A summary of the outcome of the recent DOE catalysis workshop held in Washington DC in May and the status of the written report were given. The workshop concluded with a long discussion on the role of synchrotron radiation applications in a new initiative in catalysis. Participants agreed that in order to have an important impact it is essential to provide in situ characterization under reaction conditions using a range of different techniques, both for model systems and industrial catalysts.

  • X-ray Absorption Near-edge Spectra in Analysis of Mixtures
       (Chairs: Ingrid Pickering and Graham George)

    This workshop focused on the applications and data analysis of x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy as a powerful method for analysis of chemical form in complex samples such as mixtures. An introductory talk was followed by presentations on the methodology of edge analysis using approaches like least-squares fitting and principal component analysis. Applications were drawn from a broad range of disciplines and included identification of Mn particulates emitted from auto engines, arsenic speciation in Bangladeshi aquifers, elucidating the chemistry of ascidian blood cells, and proposing preservation methods for the Swedish warship Vasa. During final sessions, the 42 participants in attendance were given the opportunity to try out principal component analysis and other edge analysis routines using the suite of programs EXAFSPAK (written by Graham George, SSRL) running on either in-house PCs or on personal laptops. The workshop was extremely successful and provided the participants with both theoretical and practical knowledge of how to apply the unique information contained in the near edge region to their own problems that spanned a wide range of disciplines.

  • Experimental Opportunities with LCLS
       (Chairs: John Galayda and Jerry Hastings)

    A very successful one and one half day meeting was held to begin the process of creating experiment teams to propose instruments for the LCLS experimental program. More than thirty people gathered representing most of the scientific disciplines discussed in the LCLS First Experiments document. The first afternoon was devoted to presentations of the status and plans for LCLS as well as the policy for experimental proposals. This meeting will be one of many held as we develop the instrument suite for LCLS. A major thrust of the workshop was to focus attention on the R&D needed for the experimental program to be most successful in the early operations phase. Two key components were highlighted: detector developments, in particular 2-D detectors for scattering experiments that will permit read-out at the LCLS repletion rate (120 Hz) and development of methods for x-ray pulse length measurement and pump laser - x-ray probe timing. Discussions also included the proposal timeline and pre-proposal submission to the LCLS Science Advisory Committee in late spring 2003.

5.  Paul Phizackerley Receives 5th Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award

On behalf of the SSRL Users' Organization, Keith Hodgson presented the 2002 Farrel W. Lytle Award to SSRL Prof. R. Paul Phizackerley following dinner at the Users' Meeting. Since coming to SSRL nearly twenty-five years ago, Paul has been involved in pioneering developments in synchrotron-based macromolecular crystallography. In particular, Paul led the development of the first beam line and area detector instrumentation in the U.S. devoted to the technique of Multi-wavelength Anomalous Dispersion (MAD). Paul, working in collaboration with other SSRL users and staff scientists, made a number of seminal contributions using these unique instrumentation capabilities. Among these was the first determination of a completely unknown structure (a "blue" copper protein from cucumber seedlings). In a very tangible and practical sense, one can see Paul's contributions to the SSRL user community by simply looking around the experimental floor. Beam Lines 1-5 and 7-1 were conceived and initially constructed and commissioned under his supervision. More recently, Paul initiated the design of SSRL's first robotics-based automated system for mounting and dismounting protein crystal samples from the experimental stage.

6.  Election Results Announced for 2003 SSRLUO Executive Committee
     (contact: Uwe Bergmann, Chair, SSRLUO-EC)

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate and vote for colleagues in the election of SSRL's 2003 Users' Organization Executive Committee ( SSRLUO-EC). The names of the newly elected members are:
  • Anneli Munkholm, Lumileds Lighting - Materials/Chemistry
  • Martina Ralle, Oregon Graduate Institute - Structural Molecular Biology
  • Richard Brennan, OHSU - Macromolecular Crystallography
  • Andrew Fischer, UC Davis - Macromolecular Crystallography
  • Richard Lee, LLNL - LCLS
  • Deanne Jackson Rudd - Stanford University - Structural Molecular Biology/Chemistry (graduate student)

SSRLUO-EC members are elected by the SSRL user community by majority vote. Members serve a two-year term, with the exception of the person elected Vice-Chair who serves an additional year. Meetings of the SSRLUO-EC are open to all users (except closed sessions which will be announced in advance). All users are encouraged to attend meetings of the executive committee and to actively participate in users' organization events. In addition to the liaison and advisory role, the SSRLUO-EC helps advocate the role synchrotrons play in the scientific enterprise to funding agencies.

A link to the SSRLUO-EC's contact information page is provided below and users are encouraged to contact anyone on the executive committee to discuss issues that may arise.

SSRLUO-EC FY2003 Contact Information

7.  Director of the DOE Office of Science, Presides over SLAC Program Review
     (contact: Keith Hodgson)

Over the past month, the management and scientific leadership at SLAC and SSRL have been preparing for the on-site program review by the DOE Office of Science. The review was held on October 15, 2002. Dr. Raymond Orbach and Dr. James Decker (Director and Deputy Director of DOE SC, respectively) were accompanied by a number of staff from DOE headquarters, DOE Oakland and the DOE local site office. Overviews of the whole SLAC program and of the high energy and synchrotron programs provided the framework for more detailed presentations. The SSRL talks focused on the strategic new opportunities that will be provided by SPEAR3 and especially the next generation of linac-driven light sources. Talks by Jerry Hastings on the sub picosecond photon source (SPPS) experiment and by John Galayda on LCLS laid out SSRL's strategic plan for developing and providing world leading capabilities for research with ultra-short, ultra bright x-rays generated by short electron pulses from the SLAC linac. Other talks and discussion included topics of much relevance to the synchrotron program including environmental safety and health and site-wide infrastructure. SSRL was a part of the very engaging laboratory tour. Overall, it was felt that the longer range vision of the laboratory, the synergy of the synchrotron and high energy/accelerator programs, the demonstrated track record of excellence in major project design, management and implementation, and the labs efficiency in "doing business" were all points that were communicated well.

8.  SXNS Conference Highlight
     (contact: Sean Brennan)

During the week of Sept. 23-27 a group of 75 scientists met at the Granlibakken Conference Center near Lake Tahoe to discuss the latest results in the field of Surface X-ray and Neutron Scattering. The conference was co-chaired by John Ankner (Spallation Neutron Source), Sean Brennan (SSRL) and Jeff Kortright (LBNL), and sponsored by the SNS, SSRL and the ALS at LBNL. The goal of these conferences has been to explore the commonalities between the two techniques as well as the complementarities. Recent developments in the studies of magnetic surfaces have demonstrated both of these aspects. Many of the talks presented at the conference described new methods with both neutrons and x-rays for studying surfaces. For the x-ray scatterers, the idea of coding each neutron's incidence angle using its spin was novel and intriguing. A second area of strong overlap is in studies of organic and biological molecules on surfaces. The neutron scatterers make up for the lower brightness of their sources by artificially enhancing the scattering contrast in their samples with deuterium replacing hydrogen in strategic locations. A third area of overlap is in the analysis of the scattering from surfaces and solutions to the "phase problem", which exists when either neutrons or x-rays are scattered from surfaces. Expect the next conference to be in 2004 near Dortmund, Germany.

9.  User Research Administration Announcements
      (contacts: Cathy Knotts and Lisa Dunn)

Beam Time Requests: X-ray and VUV beam line users are invited to request beam time for the second scheduling period of the FY03 experimental run at SSRL. Beam time requests for February-March 2003 are due by Friday, November 15, 2002; these can be submitted by fax (650-926-3600) or electronically via our website:

For beam time planning purposes, the FY2003 SPEAR Operating Schedule provides information on shutdown periods and dates set aside for maintenance and accelerator physics.

SPEAR3 Shutdown Reminder: Please note that all beam lines will be shut down for the SPEAR3 installation beginning at 6:00 am on Monday, March 31, 2003. Commissioning of this new third generation light source is expected to start in October 2003, with user operations to resume on many beam lines in January 2004.

End-of-Run Summaries: As a reminder, the proposal spokesperson or a designated representative is responsible for ensuring that an End-of-Run Summary is completed after each experiment at SSRL. Information collected from these summaries is extremely valuable in helping us understand what works well for users and what could be improved upon. This form is available both electronically and in hard copy at SSRL.

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 S ciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site.

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Last Updated: 31 OCT 2002
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn