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SSRL Headlines Vol. 5, No. 5  November, 2004


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Safety Comes First - Status of SPEAR3 Restart Following Accident at SLAC
  2. Science Highlight — Structural Studies of Catalytically Stabilized Industrial Hydrotreating Catalysts
  3. Structural Biology Program at SSRL - 5-year Review
  4. An Early Look at the FY2005 Budget
  5. SSRL/Stanford Faculty Position in "Ultrafast X-ray Studies of Matter"
  6. Public Lecture on "Physical Attraction: The Mysteries of Magnetism"
  7. User Research Administration Announcements

1.   Safety Comes First - Status of SPEAR3 Restart Following Accident at SLAC
      (contact: Keith Hodgson,

As most of you certainly know, SLAC had a serious accident in mid-October where an electrical contract worker was injured. Immediately after the accident, SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan suspended all operations on the site. The "Safety Comes First" principle was reviewed and strengthened with everyone here, including staff, users, and contractors. A team of investigators from the DOE was also on-site for several weeks following the accident and has subsequently completed its investigation. We understand that the accident report will be presented to Stanford University in the next 10 days or so. Only at that time will the real causes become known and the needs for corrective actions be identified.

Except for a number of on-going work restrictions related to electrical, hoisting/rigging, and subcontractor activities, much of the 'normal work' at SSRL (and the rest of SLAC) has now resumed. However, we do not expect that accelerator operations (including SPEAR3) will resume until SLAC has had time to review the DOE investigation report. Hence it is highly unlikely that we will be able to resume any normal user activities with SPEAR3 during December. We currently anticipate that we will be able to fully checkout accelerator and beam line systems and perhaps get beam lines operational - anticipating resumption of regular user operations in January. However, it has become clear that users with beam time previously scheduled during this scheduling period (from October through the end of December) will lose their beam time. As soon as we are able to resume activities, we will make every attempt to reschedule users who lost beam time during this unexpected shutdown. We are also seriously looking into extending the run next summer beyond the planned summer shutdown date.

During this period of operations shutdown, SSRL staff has been busy in reviewing and validating many of the procedures and processes involved in running a safe operation and program. One activity of particular relevance to our users is that we have created a task force on user training and safety. This task force, which includes representatives from SSRL, SSRLUOEC, SLAC HEP, and ALS, has been proactively reviewing training documents and other aspects of user safety at SSRL - covering activities from the time proposals are received until users are on-line conducting experiments. If you have ideas or comments related to safety which you would like to share with the task force, please forward those to Dave Dungan (, who is heading up this team, or to one of your representatives on the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee (see More information on the results of this working group's review will be shared in a few weeks.

As we prepare to move forward with resuming operations of SPEAR3, each one of you is encouraged to remember that safety comes first and it is your responsibility to help us provide a safe working environment. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding during this time.

2.  Science Highlight — Structural Studies of Catalytically Stabilized Industrial Hydrotreating Catalysts
      (contact: Russell R. Chianelli,

As oil prices rise, so will the market for cheaper forms of petroleum-based fuels. Cheaper petroleum contains more impurities, which will aggravate environmental problems, like heavier air pollution and acid rain. Purifying the fuel will alleviate the environmental harm. Sulfur impurities can be removed by treatment with catalytic materials such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).

Researchers from the University of Texas at El Paso, CNRS and SSRL are collaborating to study the morphology of catalytically active forms of MoS2 and how the morphology changes over time under the high pressures of industrial desulfurization reactors. Through x-ray structure analysis, they determined that the catalyst changes morphology after several years in a high-pressure industrial reactor without significant change to its activity. The researchers were surprised by these findings, since they contradict the traditional understanding of how morphology affects activity. This study has enabled a better understanding of the mechanism of MoS2 catalytic action, which could lead to the design of more active and longer lasting catalysts to purify fuels.

To learn more about this research, see: or

3.   Structural Biology Program at SSRL - 5-year Review
      (contact: Britt Hedman,

During the week of November 8, a team of scientists visited SSRL to review our structural biology program which is primarily supported by NIH NCRR and DOE BER. The peer-review team, organized by NIH as a special study section, had been previously given the five-year renewal proposal, which was submitted June 1 (K. Hodgson, PI, B. Hedman and W. Weis, co-PIs). A full day and part of the following morning were spent interacting with SSRL staff - presentations updating results since the proposal was submitted, recent scientific highlights by a few users, and a tour of experimental facilities were among the things included. The combined NIH-NCRR and DOE-BER proposal features continued support/further development of the structural biology facilities in macromolecular crystallography, x-ray absorption spectroscopy and small angle x-ray scattering. Also included was a small new initiative in the applications of x-ray free electron lasers in biology. Overall, we felt that the review went very well. The written report will not be available for a few more weeks but we feel very confident that we will be able to continue to provide the SSRL SMB community with outstanding instrumentation and support for the next five-year period, including implementation of innovative new detectors and software.

4.   An Early Look at the FY2005 Budget
      (contact: Keith Hodgson,

Earlier this month (November 20), Congress completed work on the FY2005 omnibus appropriations bill to fund the majority of the Federal agencies for the current fiscal year. A procedural problem to remove certain provisions in the large bill has delayed its final passage and the President's signature, but this is expected to occur by December 8. Overall, the bill provides for very modest growth in R&D spending (see the AAAS analysis on its www site at for more details). The DOE Office of Science shows growth in some areas, including BES (also on the AAAS site is a table of DOE appropriations, see Full funding is provided for the LCLS project, including a significant increase in project engineering and design funds (PED) and the first funding for procurements (including the injector and undulator magnet material). This is indeed an exciting real start for LCLS and will keep the project on a schedule which should see the world's first x-ray laser light being delivered sometime during calendar 2008. The funding level for DOE-BES (which is above the President's FY2005 request) should provide for a reasonable level of operations support and new developments for the 4 DOE synchrotron light facilities. It is important to stress that the synchrotron users' organizations (in our case the SSRLUO, working closely with our sister organizations at ALS, APS, and NSLS) have been very active in describing the impact and importance to Congress of the DOE synchrotron scientific user facilities. More details on the FY2005 budget for SSRL will be provided as we gain, during the coming month, a full understanding of the budget that will be available this FY.

5.   SSRL/Stanford Faculty Position in "Ultrafast X-ray Studies of Matter"
       (contact: Gordon E. Brown, Jr.,

SSRL invites applications for a faculty position (Assistant, Associate or Full Professor) in the general area of x-ray science with emphasis on studies of ultrafast processes in matter. Applicants should hold an earned doctorate in a core science and engineering discipline and should have outstanding potential for establishing an independent research program utilizing and developing ultrafast x-ray capabilities for investigations of matter. Senior applicants are expected to have made outstanding scholarly contributions to their field and to have a professional standing among the very best in that field.

We are interested in an individual with research experience in synchrotron radiation research and expect that the candidate's research program will be based in part on utilization of SSRL's existing x-ray sources SPEAR3 and the Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source (SPPS) with emphasis on future use of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the first x-ray FEL worldwide. Experience in technique development is desirable, but the emphasis should be on the application of techniques to science and engineering problems.

Applicants should submit a summary of their educational and professional background, a current list of published work, and the names of at least three referees who may be consulted by the search committee. A brief summary of how the candidate's experience matches the position described above should also be submitted with the application. Applicants are also encouraged to submit a brief description of their plans for future research and how those plans might be realized in the SSRL setting. Applications should be submitted by December 31, 2004 to:

Prof. Gordon E. Brown, Jr.
Chair SSRL Faculty
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, SLAC
2575 Sand Hill Road, MS 69
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Stanford University is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes nominations of women and minority group members and applications from them.

6.   Public Lecture on "Physical Attraction: The Mysteries of Magnetism" poster image
SSRL Professor and Deputy Director Jo Stöhr will give a public lecture on magnetism on December 14 at 7:30 pm in the SLAC Panofsky Auditorium. See the SLAC Public Lecture Series web site for more information on this lecture:

7.  User Research Administration Announcements
       (contacts: Cathy Knotts,; Lisa Dunn,

Macromolecular Crystallography proposals are due December 1. Proposals submitted for this deadline will be eligible for beam time beginning in March 2005.


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 NOV 2004
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