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SSRL Headlines Vol. 9, No. 3  September, 2008


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Steap3 - a Protein to Enable Iron Incorporation in Cells
  2. Science Highlight — A Different Type of High Temperature Superconductor
  3. Joe Kline to Receive the 2008 Spicer Young Investigator Award
  4. Annual Users' Meeting October 15-18: Register and Vote
  5. LCLS/SSRL Workshops Held in Conjunction with Users' Meeting
  6. Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies
  7. The Fourth Conference on Synchrotron Environmental Science
  8. Beam Line Update
  9. User Research Administration Update

1.  Science Highlight — Steap3 - a Protein to Enable Iron Incorporation in Cells
       (contact: C.M. Lawrence,

Steap3 figure
Structure of the oxidoreductase dimer.
Iron plays an integral role in many biochemical processes essential for life. Now, working in part at SSRL's Beam Line 9-2, a team of researchers led by Martin Lawrence from Montana State University has solved the structure of a protein critical to the process of importing iron into cells. The results were published in the May 27, 2008 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In humans, iron is predominantly found in hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component in red blood cells (RBCs). As RBCs mature, they incorporate iron into hemoglobin. A protein called Steap3 plays a crucial role in this process.

The Steap family includes four proteins involved in various crucial processes. Malfunction or overexpression of Steap proteins is associated with a range of diseases, from anemia to prostate cancer. In the current study, the team solved the structure of the oxidoreductase domain of Steap3 responsible for changing the oxidation state of iron from Fe3+ to Fe2+. This step makes it possible for iron to enter the RBC precursor cells where it can be incorporated into heme, the molecule that gives hemoglobin the capacity for carrying oxygen.

Understanding the unique structure of the oxidoreductase domain of Steap3 could lead to more precisely targeted drugs for treating certain disorders, with fewer side effects. Research is ongoing to understand the overall structures of the other Steap proteins.

The project was carried out in collaboration with Mark D. Fleming from Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

2.  Science Highlight — A Different Type of High Temperature Superconductor
       (contact: D.H. Lu,

Comparison between angle-resolved photoemission spectra and LDA band structures along two high-symmetry lines.
The recent discovery of superconductivity in iron-based layered compounds known as iron oxypnictides has renewed interest in high-temperature superconductivity. Now, SLAC and Stanford researchers, using SSRL's angle resolved photoemission spectrometer at Beam Line 5-4, have furthered the quest to understand this iron-based compound. In a recent paper published in Nature, SSRL scientist Donghui Lu, with colleagues at SSRL and Stanford, reported on the mechanism behind the superconductivity of a lanthanum-oxygen-iron-phosphorus (LaOFeP) compound, one of the new iron-based superconducting materials.

Superconductivity occurs when a material's electrons pair up and electrical resistance disappears. The precise mechanisms by which this happens are fairly well understood for conventional superconductors, but remain elusive for copper-based high temperature superconductors. The new iron-based superconductors seem to be fundamentally different from both, even though they operate at high temperatures like the copper oxide superconductors. Lu and colleagues performed detailed ARPES measurements of the LaOFeP compound, and the results from these measurements may lead to a deeper understanding of why the electrons pair up in iron superconductors. That, in turn, could also help to sort out the essential factors that are important to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

Although this research suggests that the mechanism behind superconducting LaOFeP is likely different from the one behind copper oxides, the same may not hold true for other iron-based oxide compounds. Lu and colleagues are now conducting experiments at SSRL on an iron-based compound that includes arsenic instead of phosphorus.

To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

3.   Joe Kline to Receive the 2008 Spicer Young Investigator Award

Congratulations to R. Joseph Kline who has been chosen to receive the 2008 William E. Spicer Young Investigator Award. The award, honoring one of the founders of SSRL, recognizes a young investigator who has made important technical or scientific contributions that benefit the light source community. The award presentation will take place at the joint LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting during the Thursday, October 16 session on young investigator science highlights.

Kline is a staff scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. His thesis work while a graduate student in Mike McGehee's group at Stanford University and his more recent work as a NRC-NIST postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Eric K. Lin, in the Polymers Division in the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, have been well received by the research community. Specifically, Kline is recognized for his seminal studies on the effect of molecular weight on the performance of polymer semiconductor field effect transistors and his expertise in grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GIXD), atomic force microscopy, and organic thin films. According to University of California at Santa Barbara collaborator Michael Chabinyc, "Joe's previous work continues to generate interest. He has four publications that have been cited more than 50 times with increasing numbers of citations each year".

SSRL staff scientist and research collaborator Mike Toney maintains that the use of SSRL Beam Lines 11-3, 7-2, and 2-1 to conduct x-ray scattering experiments on polymer thin films was absolutely critical to Kline's thesis work. McGehee, impressed at Kline's ability to publish a high impact paper with only five days of beam time, lends some insight: "Joe has an extraordinary ability to ask the right questions, prepare the right samples, make the right measurements, and elucidate important structure-property relationships". Also enthusiastic about Kline's abilities, Lin says, "The impact of his work on the rapidly growing field of organic electronics has been significant and highlights the facilities and capabilities at SSRL. He is certainly a rising star in organic electronics and the application of synchrotron radiation for materials science".

User Mtg banner
4.   Annual Users' Meeting October 15-18: Register and Vote
       (contact: C. Knotts,

Register to participate in the upcoming October 15-17 LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting and Workshops. The Users' Meeting will feature presentations on recent developments and new opportunities to conduct photon science research at the LCLS and SSRL. SLAC Director Persis Drell will give a keynote presentation on the future of photon science at SLAC. Several focused workshops (descriptions below) will be held in conjunction with the meeting.

The polls are now open to fill three open positions for representatives on the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee (SSRL UOEC) including one each in the areas of materials science and macromolecular crystallography and a graduate student coming from any of the represented disciplines.

This year there are also a number of slots to fill on the LCLS Users' Organization Executive Committee (LCLS UOEC) with candidates representing AMO Science, X-ray Pump-Probe, Coherent X-ray Imaging, and X-ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy.

Having full and engaged Users' Organization committees is essential, particularly during times of growth and change. Please take a few minutes to cast your ballot between now and October 15. Users' Organization representatives will be elected by the user community by majority vote, and the results will be announced on October 16.

5.   LCLS/SSRL Workshops Held in Conjunction with Users' Meeting       

SSRL Workshop: Advanced Topics in EXAFS Analysis and Applications
 October 15, 2008
 Organizers: R. Sarangi (SSRL) and C. Booth (LBNL)

Extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) is a powerful local structure determination technique, which has been successfully applied to problems in a broad range of scientific fields. In recent years, significant research has been performed towards theoretical development and scientific applications of EXAFS. The aim of this workshop is twofold: a) To present recent developments in methods for EXAFS data analysis. Presentations will cover various aspects of modern analysis tools to address different analytical approaches, error analysis, alternate fitting methods, etc. b) To discuss applications of the EXAFS techniques in different scientific areas, which include biology, material science, chemistry, geology and physics. Modern applications of EXAFS, which have been used in combination with other spectroscopic techniques to answer specific questions in science will be presented and discussed.

SSRL Workshop: Crystallography Made Easy through Automation
October 15, 2008
Organizers: I. Mathews (SSRL) and E. Snell (HWI)

Recent advances in experimental automation have brought macromolecular structure determination closer to the non-experts in the field. This workshop will introduce the participants to what information structural crystallography can provide, the basics of crystallographic techniques (protein crystallization, x-ray diffraction data collection, and data analysis) and then demonstrate how these steps may be simplified by taking advantage of the automated facilities available at SSRL and the Hauptman Woodward Institute (HWI). In particular, HWI offers services for high-throughput crystallization condition screening and optimization and automated facilities at SSRL enable experimenters to remotely collect x-ray diffraction data for crystal quality analysis and structure determination using an internet connection at their home laboratory. SSRL also provides remote access to software and computing resources necessary for complete structure determination. Participants will get hands-on experience with some of the automation techniques used at SSRL and learn how to prepare crystalline samples for remote data collection. Anyone in the general biology community who is interested in learning about how to make use of the technique of macromolecular crystallography enabled by automated technology developments is invited to attend.

LCLS Workshop: Application of Coherent X-rays at the LCLS
October 17, 2008
Organizers: A. Robert (LCLS), S. Boutet (LCLS), B. Stephenson (ANL) and H. Chapman (DESY)

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together world experts on the use of coherent x-ray beams to study the structure and dynamics of matter. It will provide a perfect opportunity to discuss the scientific capabilities of the coherent x-rays that will be produced by LCLS. It will also be a good opportunity to identify the types of problems that the LCLS will be ideally suited to answer. Finally, this forum will provide the perfect platform to get people excited about the LCLS instruments and will be a great starting point to build the user community for the X-ray Correlation Spectroscopy (XCS) and Coherent X-ray Imaging (CXI) instruments.

LCLS Workshop: Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics with the LCLS
October 17, 2008
Organizers: J. Bozek (LCLS) and L. Young (ANL)

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss AMO experiments for the LCLS. The AMO instrument will be the first online at LCLS, and by the time of this workshop the first round of proposals will have been submitted for consideration. Scientific opportunities and technical challenges for x-ray FEL AMO experiments will be discussed.

Joint SSRL/LCLS/ALS Workshop: Soft X-ray Beam Line for Material and Energy Science at the LCLS
October 18, 2008
Organizers: W.-S. Lee (SIMES), A. Scherz (SIMES), D. Nordlund (SSRL) and P. Heimann (LBNL)

The workshop will establish the current status of the LCLS soft x-ray (SXR) material and energy science consortium and aims for a coherent effort to make the most compelling science, detailing instrument requirements and commissioning a success. The participants will learn about the SXR instrumentation and scientific opportunities. Presentations will cover the scientific areas and the beam line design for the three main experimental setups: Coherent Diffraction Imaging, PES/XES/RIXS, and XAS. Each session will be followed by a directed discussion mainly focusing on instrumentation including unresolved issues, time line and proposal preparation. Potential users for the SXR beam line at LCLS are encouraged to give a 5-minute presentation during the discussion sessions.

6.   Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies
       (contact: C. Knotts,; L. Dunn,

It is extremely important that users not only inform us whenever work conducted at SSRL results in a publication, but also acknowledge SSRL and our funding agencies in each publication. User help is needed to keep current records on publications including refereed journal papers, conference proceedings, book chapters and theses, invited lectures and major awards and patents based at least in part on work conducted at SSRL. This information allows SSRL to demonstrate scientific achievements and productivity when responding to requests sent out by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

This information can be submitted anytime via email message to Lisa Dunn or Cathy Knotts or via the reference submission form at:

For recent publications lists and the proper acknowledgement statements see:

7.   The Fourth Conference on Synchrotron Environmental Science

       Organizers: J. Bargar (SSRL) and Peter Nico (LBNL)

SES-IV Image
Synchrotron based investigations have made wide-ranging impacts in environmental science. For example, they have increased our fundamental understanding of heavy metal bioavailability in contaminated aquifers, elucidated the mechanisms by which living organisms utilize carbon, sulfur, chlorine, and metal ions to control the compositions of potable water supplies, and accelerated the clean-up and closure of radionuclide-contaminated nuclear legacy sites.

The fourth conference on Synchrotron Environmental Science (SES IV), to be held in San Francisco, December 11-13, 2008 (immediately prior to the fall 2008 American Geophysical Conference), will highlight the growing role of synchrotron based studies in environmental science. Presentations from internationally-renowned speakers will explore emerging scientific frontiers and current challenges in global environmental problems, including carbon dioxide sequestration, environmental remediation, climate change, marine science, and atmospheric science. The conference will also highlight new synchrotron methods and facility developments in North American. This conference is supported by DOE Offices of Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, and by the US NSF.

Participation by graduate students, post docs, and other prospective synchrotron facility users is strongly encouraged. One day of hands-on sessions and introductory-level talks will provide important information, perspectives, and networking opportunities to these participants. Travel fellowships will be provided to qualified graduate student and postdoctoral researchers to encourage their participation.

SES-IV will catalyze new research partnerships and opportunities in earth, energy, and environmental sciences. All who are interested are invited to participate and to visit the conference web site at:

8.   Beam Line Update

The Upgraded BL4-2 Awaits the Return of Structural Molecular Biology Users
       (contact: H. Tsuruta,

The SMB bioSAXS/D station Beam Line 4-2 received its SPEAR3 optics upgrade earlier this year and the new station was successfully commissioned during the FY08 user run. We anticipate hosting the full range of experimental activities on BL4-2 beginning in December. The 20-pole wiggler end station, now located in Building 130, employs a Rh-coated toroidal focusing mirror and a cryogenically cooled double crystal monochromator with interchangeable pairs of Si(111) and multilayer crystals. A 7.5-m long new experimental hutch was built to accommodate longer sample-to-detector distances. The beam flux using the Si(111) crystals with the standard focused beam size of 0.2mmx0.8mm FWHM is 4 times higher than previous years due to use of the full wiggler field, which has been enabled by the upgrade, shortening exposure time of 10-15s to just a few seconds for typical protein solution scattering studies. The use of the multilayer monochromator further increases the beam flux by a factor of 20 to allow fast time-resolved studies. The 500-mA operation of SPEAR3 will further enhance the beam flux. The higher mirror cut-off energy of 17 keV allows anomalous scattering studies at biologically relevant absorption edges that were previously not accessible. The in-hutch instrumentation for non-crystalline x-ray scattering and diffraction studies on biological systems has also received an extensive array of hardware and software upgrades. The segmented beam flight path has been rebuilt to provide the shortest and longest sample-to-detector distances of 0.25 and 3.5m, respectively. A computer-controlled distance change mechanism covers the Q range of 0.003-3.7 -1 with seven discrete distances. Another significant enhancement is the acquisition of a Rayonix MX225-HE detector, which has been delivered and was characterized during beam line commissioning. The substantially improved photon sensitivity and electronic stability as compared to the previous MarCCD165 detector are highly advantageous when working with low concentration samples. Its larger active area improves accessibility to higher scattering angles at all distances. In addition to a number of other hardware improvements, we have been updating the BL4-2 Blu-ICE/DCS software to control new hardware as well as to provide improved experiment control, in particular for high throughput solution scattering studies. We further anticipate the availability of a new time-resolved x-ray detector and significantly improved sample handling devices during the FY09 run.


New X-ray Microscopy Facility for Bioimaging on BL6-2
       (contact J. Hayter,

An x-ray microscopy facility for bioimaging, based on an Xradia nano-XCT transmission x-ray microscope (TXM), has been developed at the BL6-2 wiggler beam line at SSRL ( The instrument has been designed to operate in the photon energy range from 5-14 keV in absorption contrast, and at 8 keV (and soon 5 keV) in Zernike phase contrast, with 40 nm resolution. The TXM field of view is 14x14 mm2 field of view, and larger mosaics of up to 20x20 individual exposures can be used to survey large sample areas. The sample stage rotates for 3D tomography. The microscope has been used to image biological samples such as bones, teeth, and yeast cells, environmental samples such as plants which have absorbed heavy metals, and nanomaterials, computer chips and meteorite particles. A fluorescence detector is being added to the system thus allowing elemental mapping of a site of interest. If you are interested in using the microscope, please contact Joy Andrews Hayter ( or Piero Pianetta ( We will be glad to help you incorporate this into your new beam time proposal.

TXM Facility

New Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscope (STXM) Facility
      (contact: H. Ohldag,

A new Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscope (STXM) beam line is being installed, with plans for user operations later in 2009. The new STXM BL13-1 will allow the study of magnetic phenomena with a spatial resolution of 40 nm or less using soft x-rays in the energy range between 250 and 1000 eV. In such a microscope, x-rays are focused down to a spot of 40 nm or less onto the sample using a Fresnel Zone Plate. The sample is then scanned perpendicular to the incoming beam, while the transmitted intensity is detected behind the sample using a photodiode or a photomultiplier. Samples for such a microscope are typically grown on substrates that are transparent to soft x-rays, like membranes made of silicone nitrides. The microscope will be able to operate in an ultra high vacuum environment (<=10-9 mbar) and in a variable temperature range (25 - 450 K), thus allowing for studying field and temperature dependent magnetic phenomena. It will also be equipped with electrical feedthroughs to apply electric currents and pulses to the sample.

9.   User Research Administration Update
       (contact: C. Knotts,

As mentioned, in part, above, we have been busy over the last year upgrading and building new beam lines for our users. Beginning in December, BL13-2 ( will be available for PES and NEXAFS experiments, and Coherent Scattering experiments can be done on BL13-3 ( We also anticipate that XAS experiments will resume on BL4-1 and BL4-3 beginning in January.

If you are interested in exploring our latest capabilities or planning new experiments utilizing SSRL's beam lines, please submit an X-ray/VUV proposal by November 1 or macromolecular crystallography proposal by December 1.


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 SEP 2008
Content Owner: L. Dunn
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