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Vol. 14, No. 4 - October 2013
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From the Director


This year's SSRL/LCLS joint Users' Meeting and Workshops were a great success with a record attendance of scientists from around the world. I would like to thank to the organizers for their effort in planning a wonderful program that included many exciting workshops and the latest scientific results from both the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and the Linac Coherent Light Source, and the participants for enthusiastically engaging with talks, interactions and expressing support for our user facilities. Many new ideas and suggestions were generated at the meeting, and we will follow up on several of them in our strategic planning processes.

The beginning of the FY2014 run is coming very soon, with user operations resuming on most beam lines in the week of November 4 (i.e. next week). SPEAR3 is already up at the 500 mA run current, and the beam lines and instruments are being optimized for user experiments. I would like to thank the staff for their hard work during the current down time, which allowed us to complete scheduled improvements to the SPEAR3 accelerator and to the beam lines, including the installation of two undulators (for BLs 5 and 15), a number of new mirrors (BLs 5 and 9) and upgrades to hutch instrumentation. During this run, we will commission the new ARPES PGM BL5-2, which will provide spin-resolved PES capabilities and also host an in-situ thin film growth chamber, continue the engineering/design work on BL15 (for advanced spectroscopy), BL16 (for metrology) and others, and implement new instrumentation on BL13-3 (resonant soft-x-ray scattering) and BL10-2 (high-pressure scattering). But most of all - we will continue to strive to enable the user community to have a year of fruitful experimentation, and to provide the highest possible user support services to them in this endeavor. We look forward to yet another very busy year of science!

Science Highlights


Role of Cation–Water Disorder during Cation Exchange in Small-Pore Zeolite Sodium NatroliteContact: Yongjae Lee, Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea)

Zeolites are microporous minerals that can extract ions from their environment. This property is used in a large variety of applications, ranging from cat litter to laundry detergent to the cleanup of nuclear waste. A Korean–U.S. research team, including scientists from SSRL, has now explained the peculiar ion exchange behavior in a zeolite known as natrolite, or hydrated sodium aluminum silicate. Read more...


Tunable Transmittance of Near-infrared and Visible Light in Reconstructed Nanocrystal-in-Glass Composite FilmsContact: Delia Milliron, LBNL

Amorphous materials such as glasses have optical, electrochemical and transport characteristics that are closely linked to their inner structures. Modifying the structure of an amorphous material can create new properties that may be of interest for industrial applications. Recently, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB, Spain) have altered niobium oxide glass by inserting tin-doped indium oxide nanocrystals into its structure. Read more...


Structure of Chinese Herbal-based Medicine Captured by ATP on a Human tRNA SynthetaseContact: Paul Schimmel, The Scripps Research Institute

For approximately 2,000 years, the Chinese have been using the Chang Shan herb to treat malaria-induced fevers. A derivative of the herb’s active ingredient has also been utilized in clinical trials for cancer and other therapies. Previous studies showed that the derivative, called halofuginone (HF), binds to an enzyme known as prolyl-tRNA synthetase (ProRS). Inhibition of ProRS by HF requires the additional presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), interestingly one of ProRS’s three native substrates. Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have recently shed light on the structural interplay of ProRS, HF and ATP. Read more...

Awards and Honors

Farrel Lytle Award Goes to Longtime SSRL Scientist
From October 22, 2013 SLAC Today Article by Glenn Roberts Jr.

P. Pianetta & S. Brennan
Sean Brennan's decades of x-ray expertise keep pulling him back to SSRL even though he formally retired in 2008. During a recent visit to the lab, he accepted the Farrel W. Lytle Award for his extensive contributions to SSRL over the years.

The award recognizes achievements in synchrotron radiation-based science and efforts to foster collaboration and make the best use of experimental time at SSRL for both staff and visiting scientists.

Bart Johnson, an engineering physicist supporting SSRL, wrote in a nomination letter that Brennan is well known for his work on a software program called Super that collects data for a popular research technique known as x-ray diffraction. The program has been used in data collection at SSRL for about 30 years.

Brennan got his start at SLAC in 1977 as a graduate student and served as an SSRL staff scientist from 1986 until his retirement. Read more of the SLAC Today article

Updates and Announcements

SSRL Users’ Organization News
Sarah Hayes, Colleen Hansel, Cathy Knotts

A record crowd of about 400 people participated in this year's SSRL and LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops, held October 1-4, 2013. Sarah Hayes (University of Alaska Fairbanks) who completed her term as Chair of the SSRL Users Executive Committee commented, "High quality, relevant workshops with dynamic speakers engaged the user community and generated record registration as well as a sense of excitement about the ongoing work and possibilities in light source science at the joint SSRL-LCLS User Meeting."  See SLAC Today article

In conjunction with the event, interested scientists participated in the SSRL Users' Organization Meeting, which was an open discussion with SSRL Interim Director Piero Pianetta and SSRL Science Director Britt Hedman. The UEC thanked Sarah Hayes for her leadership over the past year and welcomed Colleen Hansel (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) as the SSRL UEC Chair for the coming year. The UEC also thanked Katherine Kantardjieff (CSU San Marcos) and Matthew Sazinsky (Pomona College) for their years of service and looks forward to working with newly elected members Blaine Mooers (Oklahoma University) and Justin Chartron (Stanford University). See 2013 UEC membership

The SSRL UEC encourages users to share feedback/suggestions and to participate in events like the Annual Users' Meeting and Workshops. If there are particular topics of interest for the next event, let us know.

Getting through Gate 17

Automated access is now in operation 24/7 at Gate 17 and the Sector 30 Gate. Avoid delays by contacting us before arriving and allowing extra time for badging/check-in.  Initially, the process is likely to take longer as we make the transition to the new system.

If you have current safety training and an activated proximity card, your card will open the automated gate. Proceed to User Research Administration (URA) in Building 120 for check-in.

However, you will need to first stop at SLAC Security IF you are a first-time user, don't have a proximity ID card, have incomplete or expired safety training, or your proximity card has been de-activated (access is only valid for 30 days and has to be re-activated by us for subsequent visits). After showing the guard your photo ID at the Main Gate, turn right and then make another immediate right to enter the SLAC Security Office (Building 235). Security will issue a temporary card after confirming that your training is current and that you are listed on a scheduled proposal. Use the temporary card to enter Gate 17 and proceed to URA in Building 120 for check-in.

Security and URA are open weekdays 7am - 4pm (URA is closed 12n -1pm).  Temporary cards will be issued by the Main Gate during evenings, weekends and holidays.

New Temporary Food Service

The SLAC Cafe, auditorium and visitor center have been closed and will be replaced with a new Science and User Support Building (SUSB). During this construction (2013-2015), temporary food service will be provided by the Cardinal Chef Mobile Gourmet food trucks, 11am - 2pm in front of SLAC Building 27. Lunch menus are posted online. 

Video Available Online for Recent SLAC Public Lecture

Jennifer Mass of the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, delivered the SLAC public lecture, "Don't Fade Away: Saving the Vivid Yellows of Matisse and Van Gogh."  Watch the video

User Research Administration Update

  • FY2014 Experimental Run Starts in November

    SPEAR3 restart is underway with beam line vacuum processing and commissioning over the next week. Beginning November 4, beam lines will be opened after radiological commissioning surveys have been completed on each beam line. Staff and users are reminded to label shipping boxes and crates stored on the experimental floor with owner contact information and marked "DO NOT DISCARD". Unlabeled containers will be discarded.

  • Beam Time Request Deadlines

    Submit X-ray/VUV Beam Time Requests for the second scheduling period (February - May 2014) by November 15.

    Submit Macromolecular Crystallography Beam Time Requests (March - June 2014) by January 22.

  • New Proposals Due December 1

    X-ray/VUV proposals can be submitted three times a year: December 1, June 1, and September 1.  Proposals submitted by December 1 will eligible for beam time beginning in May 2014. 

    Macromolecular Crystallography proposals can be submitted December 1, April 1 and July 1.  Proposals submitted by the December 1 deadline will be eligible for beam time beginning in March 2014.

    Submit proposals through the user portal.

  • Inform Us of Publications

    SSRL provides technical tools for world-leading science at no charge for scientists who conduct non-proprietary research, with the understanding that significant results are to be publicly disseminated. Scientists must acknowledge use of the facility in presentations and publications and must inform the facility of all publications, theses, awards, patents and other forms of recognition resulting from research conducted fully or partially at SSRL. These metrics of scientific achievements and productivity are extremely important to the facility and to funding agencies. Please contact us as results are about to be published so that we can work with you to more broadly communicate your research. More information and acknowledgement statements can be found on our publications page.

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) is a third-generation light source producing extremely bright x-rays for basic and applied research.  SSRL attracts and supports scientists from around the world who use its state-of-the-art capabilities to make discoveries that benefit society. SSRL, a U.S. DOE Office of Science national user facility, is a Directorate of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.  The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Program is supported by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, and by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. For more information about SSRL science, operations and schedules, visit

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn