Director’s Update: The ALS Moves Forward
We begin the summer at the ALS having recently closed a period of reduction in force (RIF), but looking forward, with proposals to develop new resources and fund new instruments. I want to thank everyone for their cooperation during the RIF, and recognize that, although it was painful, we have met our goals; the ALS is now better able to deal with the continued uncertainty in federal budgets
We are in the process of submitting a variety of funding requests to DOE, ranging from a theory program, to detector development, to research on energy problems, to the rebuilding of Sector 7, and more, all in anticipation of new programs that Congress and the President seem poised to support in the next fiscal year. For example, a recent DOE call for proposals spans a wide range of activities, extending from single-investigator and small-group research (SISGR) to Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). Funding for new awards under these programs should be available in FY 2009, pending appropriations. The research and instrumentation areas covered include those outlined in the Grand Science Challenges Report of the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, and Use-Inspired Discovery Science, as described in The 10 Basic Research Needs Workshop Reports.
The EFRCs will focus on the scientific breakthroughs needed for advanced energy technologies. Examples of research areas include the direct conversion of solar energy to electricity and chemical fuels, biological feedstock conversion into portable fuel, and new radiation-tolerant materials. The SISGR grants cover areas such as ultrafast science, chemical imaging, complex materials research, and instrumentation.
Together with users, the ALS is proposing a collaboration involving the Berkeley campus and Stanford called the Theory Institute for Photon Sciences (TIPS), which will provide theoretical support to the users of existing and future light source facilities in meeting the Grand Challenges. One of the missions of TIPS will be to initiate stronger interactions between experimentalists and theoreticians.
Proposals for rebuilding Sector 7 of the ALS focus on the MAESTRO and COSMIC instruments; this remains a priority in our strategic plan. The Microscopy and Electronic Structure Observatory (MAESTRO) will address the need for improvement of spatial and energy resolution for photoemission. Coherent Scattering and Diffraction Microscopy (COSMIC) will provide improved, intense coherent light in the 0.5–3 keV range with full polarization control.
We also see opportunities for advances in how we generate and detect photons. We have submitted two proposals—one for advanced accelerator R&D towards a next generation light source and one for advanced x-ray detector technology. The detector proposal is specifically tuned to the soft x-ray needs at the ALS, with an initial emphasis on the needs of new beamlines such as MAESTRO and COSMIC.
It is important to note that although growth at the ALS and other national facilities has been limited under recent federal budgetary restraints, new opportunities for funding continue to arise. I strongly encourage our users and staff to bring forward new ideas to take advantage of such opportunities. We can provide important assistance in bringing such proposals to funding agencies, foundations, etc. Partnerships among users and the ALS can be very persuasive.
Finally, Ben Feinberg, ALS Deputy Division Director, has decided to retire at the end of June. Ben has been with Berkeley Lab for over 30 years—he worked in magnetic fusion, was a leader at the Super HILAC and Bevalac, then joined the ALS in 1993. Ben says “it’s time,” but fortunately, he will still be around to advise us as he continues research as an emeritus scientist but finds some time for other activities. We’ll roast Ben at a celebration in the near future, since someone with such a long and distinguished history at the Lab cannot easily get away! I greatly value my friendship and working relationship with Ben, and I am very sorry to see him leaving us, but understand his decision. As a new director, I learned much from him about the ALS, its people, the Lab, DOE, etc. He continues to be part of the heart and soul of the ALS, and I will miss his wisdom and our partnership.
Solving the Unsolvable: The Nanostructure of Gold at 1.1 Å Resolution
For the first time, a team of scientists led by Roger Kornberg has synthesized thiol-covered gold nanoparticles and, usingBeamline 5.0.2 and Beamline 8.2.2 and SSRL Beamline 9.2, conclusively ascertained their atomic structure (at 1.1 Å resolution). The gold–thiol nanoparticle consists of 102 gold atoms surrounded by 44 molecules of a thiol compound (para-mercaptobenzoic acid, or p-MBA). The central gold atoms are grouped in a fivefold symmetric packing arrangement known as a Marks decahedron, which is surrounded by additional layers of gold atoms in unanticipated geometries. The protective p-MBAs interact not only with the gold but with one another, forming a rigid surface layer. This research is a success on several levels. The group developed a technique that solves a previously unsolvable nanostructure. They delivered a very detailed atomic map of this structure, which itself reveals an unusual discovery: the discrete nature of the nanoparticle, which can be explained by the closing of a 58-electron shell. Read more…
Publication about this research: P.D. Jadzinsky, G. Calero, C.J. Ackerson, D.A. Bushnell, and R.D. Kornberg,” Structure of a thiol monolayer-protected gold nanoparticle at 1.1 Å resolution,” Science 318, 430 (2007).
A Key Enzyme to the Potency of an Anticancer Agent
Incorporation of halogen atoms into drug molecules often increases biological activity. This is the case with salinosporamide A (sal A), a natural product from the marine bacterium Salinispora tropica that is 500 times more active than sal B, its nonchlorinated analog. Sal A is in phase I human clinical trials for the treatment of multiple myeloma and solid tumors. A group of researchers, using diffraction data collected at Beamline 8.2.2 , discovered and characterized the chlorinating SalL enzyme, a crucial component in sal A biosynthesis that uses a unique chlorine-activating mechanism. Read more…
Publication about this research: A.S. Eustáquio, F. Pojer, J.P. Noel, and B.S. Moore, “Discovery and characterization of a marine bacterial SAM-dependent chlorinase,” Nature Chemical Biology 4, 69 (2007).
ALS Detector Development Update
Detector development for the ALS is slowly taking off, with current efforts focused on finalizing and deploying fast CCD cameras. The fast CCDs and their corresponding custom readout chips were developed under the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program, and the camera is being assembled as a collaboration between the ALS and Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), with the ALS providing the CCDs, readout chips, and mechanics, and APS providing the clocking and digital readout.
The prototype CCD has 480 × 480 × 30 µm pixels and 96 output ports. It has been used in the lab as well as on Beamline 5.3.1 to characterize the CCDs. First tests clocking the CCD at several hundred frames per second (compared to the present rate of several seconds per frame) were performed in February 2008, when the Argonne clocking system was mated to the Berkeley CCD.
The full Argonne readout will be connected to the fast CCD during the first week of June. After that, the complete assembly will be checked on Beamline 5.3.1 and will then be ready for use. At next month’s ESG/SSG seminar (June 10 at 9 a.m.), Peter Denes will update the status of the detector activities and describe the proposal submitted to DOE based on the workshop at the last Users’ Meeting. There will be ample time for discussion, as this should be less of a seminar and more of a follow-up to what was discussed at the Users’ Meeting.
On Saturday, May 10, friends and colleagues gathered at the University of California, Berkeley, to remember former ALS Division Director Daniel Chemla. Invited speakers included Berkeley Lab Director Steven Chu, former director Charles Shank, leaders of the American and French Shotokan Karate Federations, and family members. Speakers described his youth in Tunisia, his studies in France, his unmatched prowess in karate, his brilliant scientific career at Bell Labs and Berkeley Lab, and his love of family. Through all these stories, Daniel was repeatedly remembered for his intensity, his passion, and the excellence he achieved in anything he did. The well-attended and often gently humorous memorial was followed by a reception at the Men’s Faculty Club where Daniel’s family, friends, and fellow scientists and karate experts from around the world enjoyed more stories of his exploits. For more information about Daniel, go to http://www-als.lbl.gov/als/news/chemla.html.
BIW08 Brings Beam Diagnostics and Instrumentation Community Together
The 13th biennial meeting of the Beam Instrumentation Workshop (BIW) took place at Lake Tahoe on May 4–8. It was sponsored by Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator and Fusion Research, Engineering, and ALS divisions. This international conference on beam diagnostics and instrumentation for accelerators is probably the most important gathering in the field of beam instrumentation, together with its European counterpart, the Diagnostics for Particle Accelerators Conference (DIPAC), which alternates with BIW on alternate years. The conference offers formal presentations, a poster session, and informal discussions to promote the exchange of ideas and issues between scientists, engineers, and representatives of companies operating in the field. Approximately 120 people attended, tutorial sessions served as introduction to relevant topics, and a vendor exhibition allowed participants to get updated information on related commercial products.
The Faraday Cup Award , which recognizes and encourages innovative achievements in the field of particle accelerator beam instrumentation, was presented during the workshop. The award consists of a money prize and a certificate, and the BIW program committee is solely responsible for the selection of the recipient. This year’s winner is Suren G. Arutunian, of the Yerevan Physics Institute, Yerevan, Armenia, for the development, publication, and successful testing of the diagnostic system, “Vibrating Wire Scanner.”
Fernando Sannibale of the ALS Accelerator Physics Group was the BIW08 chair this year, and the local organizing gommittee was coordinated by Joy Kono of the ALS. Berkeley Lab’s contributiion included three invited talks, one contributed talk, and two posters. Information on BIW08 as well as PDFs of presentations can be found on the conference Web site. Conference proceedings will be published on the Joint Accelerator Conferences Web site (JACoW) at the end of this summer.
Report on NUFO Annual Meeting: April 24–25, 2008
NUFO , the National User Facilities Organization, provides a unified voice for a diverse group of nationally funded user facilities across the United States, including light sources, neutron sources, nanoscale centers, etc. This year representatives from 20 North American user facilities met at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) in Richland, WA, to discuss security and outreach and to compare and share their experiences with supporting users. Representatives include user services administrators and the Users’ Executive Committee (UEC) chairs from national user facilities.
After introductions, the speakers were led by Pedro Montano (DOE) with a wide-ranging presentation on “Future Challenges for National User Facilities.” Jack Bagley (Battelle Memorial Institute) gave an update on science funding, and several speakers described their outreach experience. Linda Horton (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) talked about establishment of the nanoscale research science centers, and David Koppenaal (EMSL) discussed a case study of how to integrate research teams. During several talks there was discussion of potential ways to streamline the proposal process for users applying to multiple facilities, and to what extent similar facilities could learn from each other and coordinate their processes to simplify the interface to users. EMSL, which provides integrated experimental and computational resources for the environmental molecular sciences, held tours of the laboratory that exhibited the breadth of the science done there. The diversity of the facilities made available to users include spectrometers (900 MHz NMR, mass spectroscopy, EPR, photoelectron), microscopes (EM, Raman, scanning probe, PEEM, fluorescence), and high-performance supercomputing.
A key component of the conference was the establishment of a charter for NUFO, a draft of which can be found on the NUFO Web site, along with presentations from the workshop. The Web site also gives access to contact details for the user administrators and user organization representatives from all the national user facilities.
Contact: Ken Winters (510-486-6876)
Please update the ALS publications database with your recent publications (2007–2008). These are our metric for demonstrating the productivity of the ALS and of individual beamlines. Details of publications are reported annually to the DOE, and triennially when we are reviewed. We are interested in all journal articles, conference proceedings, books, and theses, as well as patents based on work done at the ALS. Since duplicates can be difficult to track down, please always check that the publication is not already present in our database.
Simply go to the User Services Publications Web page and follow this two-step process:
ALS Apartments Closing. After consulting with the UEC and ALS senior management, we have decided to close the accommodations provided by the ALS apartments earlier than was previously envisaged and before the Berkeley Lab Guest House is ready to accept guests. The decision is a cost-saving measure and is effective August 9, when the current lease on the apartments expires. The User Services Office will provide support for users by making available information on alternative accommodations available in the Berkeley area.
ALS Shutdown Status. Another busy shutdown is underway at the ALS. The second of four phases of a seismic retrofit of the ALS dome is being done as well as a variety of technical projects. These include the annual replacement of the superbend magnet cold heads, installation of apertures in beamline front ends to ready for top-off mode injection, interlock installations and testing for top off, as well as many smaller beamline projects. User operations will resume on June 12.
For the user runs from April 22 to May 11: Beam reliability*: 97.9%; Completion**: 94.9%.
There were no significant interruptions. Questions about beam reliability should be sent to David Richardson.
Requests for special operations use of the “scrubbing” shift should be sent to Rick Bloemhard (ALS-CR@lbl.gov, x4738) by 1:00 p.m. Friday.
*Time delivered/time scheduled