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SSRL Headlines Vol. 6, No. 5  November, 2005


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — SPPS Traces Atoms from Solid to Liquid
  2. 2006 Experimental Run Underway
  3. DOE BES Review of Materials Science Program at SSRL
  4. Bill Oosterhuis, Champion of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Chemistry, Dies
  5. Public Lecture on "Using X-rays to Decipher Archimedes Text" Coming Up on December 13
  6. Information Needed for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies
  7. SSRL Users and Faculty Receive Honors
  8. What Matters to Artie Bienenstock and Why
  9. User Administration Update
  10. Photon Science Job Opportunities

1.  Science Highlight — SPPS Traces Atoms from Solid to Liquid
      (contact: Jerry Hastings,

SPPS figure
Single shot image of x-ray diffracted intensity from the (111) Bragg peak of an InSb crystal.
When a snowball melts, you can tell it has achieved a liquid state when the frigid water drips through your fingers. But if you could follow the melting process, driven by the heat of your hand, from its very first moments - the first trillionth of second, would you be able to point to the exact moment the snowflake crystals disorder into liquid H2O? That's the challenge facing researchers using the Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source (SPPS) to probe the activities of materials on ultrafast timescales. SPPS makes intense x-ray pulses lasting quadrillionths of a second (femtoseconds), enabling researchers to directly monitor the earliest atomic changes during melting with ultrafast x-ray diffraction.

In one of the first SPPS experiments, SLAC scientists looked at the laser-driven melting of a semiconductor material similar to silicon. In that study, they found that the atoms in the tetrahedrally shaped crystal moved away from their crystal lattice positions, but retained the overall crystal shape in the first 500 femtoseconds (half a picosecond). New follow-on research has extended the time range and shown more: that the atoms move faster parallel to the chemical bonds than they do in the perpendicular direction, opposite of what models have so far predicted. At about 500 femtoseconds, the atoms have moved far enough to bump into their neighbors. The collisions produce random, diffusive motion, no longer preserving the tetrahedral shape. This suggests that collisions are the mechanism for turning a solid into a liquid. This work was led locally by Kelly Gaffney, Aaron Lindenberg, and Jerry Hastings of SSRL and critically depended on the efforts of the SPPS international collaboration.

2.  2006 Experimental Run Underway
      (contact: Ed Guerra,

November 28 marked the official start of SSRL's 2006 experimental run. Thanks to some heroic measures from support personnel, all problems were taken care of in time to keep us on schedule. As of Monday, November 28, SPEAR3 delivered user beam with a vacuum quality at 3.36 Ah and lifetimes of approximately 33 hours. SPEAR fills to 100 mA are currently occurring three times a day at 6 am, 2 pm and 10 pm. Our thanks to accelerator, vacuum and operations staff for doing a tremendous job in keeping us on schedule to welcome users back to our facility!

3.   DOE BES Review of Materials Science Program at SSRL
      (contacts: Jo Stöhr,; Z.X. Shen,

An important review for the DOE-BES funded materials program at SSRL/Stanford was conducted November 8-9. A review team visited the X-ray Laboratory of Advanced Materials (XLAM) at SSRL and on the Stanford campus to hear presentations and talk with researchers. The review team included three scientists from the Division of Materials Science/Office of Basic Energy Sciences at the Department of Energy, and eight external reviewers from a selection of universities and national laboratories. Speakers at SSRL included SSRL Director J. Stöhr with a program overview and photon science perspective and a talk on Magnetic Materials research; Hans Siegmann on Nano-Magnetism; and Anders Nilsson and Russ Chianelli on the Scientific and Educational Gateway Program at UTEP. The GLAM perspective included talks by Z. X. Shen on complex materials as well as others with summaries of research in Nanoscale Ordering in Complex Oxides; Nanoscale Electronic Self-Organization in Complex Oxides; and Nanoscale Magnetism in the Vortex State of High Tc Cuprates.

The agenda also included guided tours of GLAM, the Nano-Characterization Center, and PI laboratories on Campus, and on Wednesday, a tour of XLAM and BL5 at SSRL. The reviewers met with students, postdocs and PIs for lunch on both days to discuss their research.

4.   Bill Oosterhuis, Champion of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Chemistry, Dies

Bill Oosterhuis
Sadly, we pass on the news that our friend and colleague, Dr. Bill Oosterhuis, passed away on November 16, 2005. Bill left a remarkable legacy as a scientist and federal program manager after over 30 years of service to the materials research community. Before joining DOE as a Team Leader for Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Chemistry in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in 1991, Bill was a program manager and section head in the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation. From 1986-1987, Bill was on assignment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He had also previously held faculty position at Carnegie-Mellon University after his postdoctoral research in England.

Under Bill's outstanding leadership, several new programs had been added to the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Chemistry Team including X-ray and Neutron Scattering, Theoretical and Computational Materials Physics, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the Operations of the BES User Facilities, the Construction of the Spallation Neutron Source, Biomolecular Materials, and the Nanoscale Science Research Centers programs. We will miss Bill greatly for his passion for materials research, dedication to scientific excellence, keen sense and sharp vision for revolutionary discoveries, and most of all, for his ultimate optimism.

5.   Public Lecture on "Using X-rays to Decipher Archimedes Text" Coming Up on December 13

Archimedes Image
Please join us in a fascinating journey of a 1,000-year-old parchment from its origin in the Mediterranean city of Constantinople to the SSRL in Menlo Park. The 10th-century parchment document known as the "Archimedes Palimpsest" is the unique source for two of the Archimedes' treatises. Archimedes (287-212 BC), who is famous for shouting 'Eureka' (I found it), is considered to be one of the most brilliant thinkers of all time. Some of his writings, hidden under gold forgeries, have recently been revealed at SSRL's Beam Line 6-2, where the intense x-ray beam caused the iron in the original ink, which has been partly erased and covered, to send out a fluorescence glow. A detector recorded the signal and a digital image showing the ancient writings was produced. This free public lecture will be presented by SSRL Scientist, Uwe Bergmann, in the SLAC Panofsky Auditorium at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, December 13.

6.   Information Needed for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies

Please send information on publications, invited lectures and major awards, patents and science highlights to Lisa Dunn, In December we will compile this latest information for inclusion in our Annual NIH, NCRR/Biomedical Technology Program (BTP) Progress Report. This information is extremely important in presenting our scientific achievements and productivity, and thus funding case to agencies such as the DOE and NIH, and we very much appreciate your help and support in keeping us updated.

7.   SSRL Users and Faculty Receive Honors

 Bill Weis
William Weis, Director of the graduate program in biophysics at Stanford and SSRL faculty member since 1997 has been named the William M. Hume Professor in Medicine. Dr. Weis' research interests include the targeted delivery of proteins to intracellular membranes, the architecture and dynamics of intercellular adhesion junctions and the signaling pathways that govern cell fate determination.
Dan Herschlag

Stanford Professor Daniel Herschlag was one of the 376 newly elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Herschlag was selected for outstanding research on the mechanisms of enzymatic catalysis, mediated by both protein and RNA enzymes.

8.   What Matters to Artie Bienenstock and Why

Artie Bienenstock
Artie Bienenstock was in the news again, this time in an article in the Stanford Report by Krista Zala summarizing Artie's talk on November 9 for the Stanford "What Matters to Me and Why" lecture series. This lecture series is designed to give the Stanford Community a better understanding of the values and motivations of Stanford faculty and administrators who help shape the university. Stating that his definition of a prosperous life includes: to love and be loved, to have meaningful work and to truly enjoy living, Artie traced the roots of his value system from an early interest in Zionism, to Stanford and directorship of SSRL, his years at the OSTP and back to Stanford where he is now the Vice Provost and Dean of Research and Graduate Policy. For the full story in the Stanford Report, see:

9.   User Administration Update
      (contact: Cathy Knotts,

10.  Photon Science Job Opportunities

A number of positions are currently available for physicists, engineers, technicians and a procurement/subcontract administrator 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 NOV 2005
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