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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SSRLUO Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Notes: Friday, July 20, 2007, 1-4:30 pm

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Previous SSRLUO Minutes


Rebecca Fenn, Chris Kim, Cathy Knotts, Richard Lee, Wayne Lukens, Karen McFarlane Holman, Apurva Mehta, Hiro Ogasawara, Hendrik Ohldag, Stephane Richard, Monika Sommerhalter, Jo Stöhr, Robert Szilagyi.

Chris Kim, SSRLUOEC Chair, welcomed the meeting participants and began the conference call. Notes follow.

SSRL34 Users' Meeting: Robert Szilagyi (SSRLUOEC Vice Chair; Montana State University) and Hiro Ogasawara (SSRL) provided an update on plans for the annual users' meeting which will be a joint SSRL and LCLS meeting. Postcards advertising the meeting have been sent to everyone on the SSRL mailing list, and registration is now open on the meeting website: An email was sent recently to all users on active proposals for the last five years to encourage users to submit abstracts for oral presentations or poster presentations and to consider nominating their colleagues for either the Spicer Young Investigator Award (due August 1), the Klein Professional Development Award (due August 1), or the Lytle Award (due August 15). Committee members were confirmed for most of the committees. Spicer Committee: Becky Fenn. Glenn Waychunas; Klein Committee: Becky Fenn, Dick Lee, Bill Schlotter; Lytle Award: All SSRL-UOEC members.

Karen McFarlane Holman agreed to be the MC for the poster data blitz on October 1st during lunch. The plan is for Cathy to contact people who submit an abstract for a poster presentation to ask if they are willing to give a 2-3 minute summary during lunch to "advertise" their poster. Robert anticipates that this will generate interest and enthusiasm for the poster session and would be particularly helpful for students interested in participating in the outstanding poster competition. Users are needed to serve as poster judges as well as on the selection committees for the Spicer and Klein awards. Nominations for the Lytle Award will be circulated to the committee by email in mid August.

There will be an SSRLUOEC meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 2 ~1-5 pm, and exciting topics are needed to encourage people to stay after the conference to participate in the meeting as well as to attend the keynote presentation by Roger Kornberg later that evening (5:45-6:30 pm). Suggestions included: the top 5 things you need to know to be a SR user; a mini advocacy workshop; a discussion of 500mA plans and top off injection and what it means for user experiments; feedback from the January 2007 user survey and what issues people want feedback on for the 2008 survey.

SSRL User Feedback: The user survey conducted in January 2007 has been reactivated on the web so that committee members can review the questions and consider what issues should be surveyed next year. It was noted that maintaining a similar structure on future surveys will make it easier to monitor feedback and trends over time. A summary of the 2007 survey results will be posted to the SSRL website. Discussions included:

  • A question was raised about whether the survey data could be collected/reviewed by user type or technique to allow more specific analysis of results.
  • Regarding beam line software upgrades/automation, it was suggested that more specific questions about which beam line and/or which software was used would provide more focused feedback and suggestions for improvement related to automation.
  • Some users remarked that they were unaware of a stock room at SSRL; several others noted that items were occasionally out of stock and that the white board re-ordering process should be reviewed. Users request a list of supplies which they can expect to be available in the stock room to be posted on the web.
Jo Stöhr participated in this meeting and encouraged users to provide feedback on management and operations as part of the current review underway by the external consulting group, McCallum Turner. Specifically, users are asked to consider what types of central services might be utilized by users, and if there are critical services that users would want to continue to be provided by SSRL. Wayne Lukens reported that the current process with OHP works well for actinides. Monika Sommerhalter reported that there are continuing problems with dry dewars being sent by Federal Express as hazardous. There was concern that rather than bother with SLAC shipping, users would drive their dewars directly to a FedEx store for shipping. Several users also noted that they appreciated that data remained available to users for a very long time, and they wanted to ensure that this continued (assuming that long-term data storage space is not an issue).

Undergraduate Research Initiatives: Chris Kim summarized the points made in a letter to Jo Stöhr regarding undergraduate research. Since the last meeting, it was determined that it was unlikely that funds could be used to support student travel to conduct experiments (this is not allowed with DOE funds). Chris will contact the Stanford Guest House to inquire if they have any flexibility to provide housing subsidies or to reduce the rates for students.

Several users suggested that SSRL consider extending the run year by several weeks and shifting the summer shutdown for upgrades and maintenance until later August. This would allow users who have heavy teaching obligations during the school year to conduct experiments as well as encourage undergraduate students who are working at various facilities over the summer (e.g., NSF REU) to participate in experiments and gain practical experience. Jo Stöhr reported that this idea could be pursued further to determine how many users would use the extra beam time in August and if it is feasible from an operations perspective.

Robert Szilagyi expressed interest in writing an NSF REU proposal to support undergraduate research, and he also reported that at MSU NSF funds ($5K) could be requested specifically to support students during the summer. Several users expressed interest in working together and they will investigate whether multiple universities could apply for NSF funds to support undergraduate research at their respective institutions.

STXM Workshop: Hendrik Ohldag summarized the STXM workshop held at Stanford on July 9-10 (full workshop summary is being prepared). The SSRL BL13 STXM presents a unique chance to study forefront proteins in the bulk and at surfaces of thin films, multilayers and nanoparticles. There is a large demand for nanospectroscopy and imaging probes, which is not satisfied currently. While the spatial resolution will improve the currently 20-50nm down below 10 nm in the future, the more important aspects of a new facility would be the possibility to cover a wide energy range (e.g., 200eV-10keV). SSRL is very strong in this energy range and has a strong user community. Working groups convened during the workshop to identify challenges, roadblocks, and needs for STXM based science in bio-, geo- and environmental sciences. Two identical STXM microscopes at different beam lines (each optimized for the soft and "harder" x-ray range so that samples can be taken from one beam line to another) are proposed. Sources can be undulator magnets. This plan would require some administration in terms of scheduling.

New Directions in X-ray Scattering: Apurva Mehta summarized the workshop held in December 2006 to solicit user input on the new directions that the SSRL materials science scattering program should take to better meet the needs of materials and chemical sciences, upgrade beam lines to take advantage of modern instrumentation and maximally utilize the improved source characteristics that the SPEAR3 upgrade provides. The workshop concluded that most of the needs can be met by two wiggler and one bend magnet beam lines (upgraded or rebuilt BLs, 10-2, 7-2 and 2-1). A detailed summary of the workshop and copies of the presentations can be found at

Next meeting: Chris suggested scheduling the next SSRLUOEC meeting in late August.

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