User Services User Services Group Leader Sue Bailey explains how she and her team want to make life (and work!) easier for ALS users.Read the Article
Science Café The latest energy-themed ALS Science Café was held in Perseverance Hall on January 31. More than 65 people filled the Hall to listen to researchers discuss their most recent work in energy and technology on their beamlines. Speakers and topics were: Zhi Liu (photoelectron spectroscopy in energy-related research on Beamline 9.3.2), Ferenc Borodnics (x-ray spectroscopy under ambient conditions on Beamlines 7.0.1,9.3.2, 11.0.2) and Musa Ahmed (probing combustion and environmental chemistry with VUV radiation on Beamline 9.0). The next café will be held Wednesday, March 31 in Perseverance Hall.
Guest House Special
Visiting Berkeley Lab? Book your accommodations at the new Berkeley Lab Guest House, located on site. Through June 2010 there will be discounted rates, no occupancy tax, and free parking; visit the Web site for more information.
Successful Top-Off Operations Hit One-Year Mark
On February 11, ALS staff and users gathered in the ALS Lobby to celebrate the first-year anniversary of the ALS operating with top-off injection. The top-off mode of operation has been a major improvement in the performance for users-doubling the photon flux, improving the stability, and eliminating fill–time interruptions. According to Accelerator Physics Group Leader Dave Robin, “This first year of operation has surpassed all expectations.”
200th ALSNews Science Highlight Published! With this issue of ALSNews, we are publishing our 200th ALS science highlight. ALSNews itself began as a weekly electronic newsletter in November 1994 that occasionally featured science and technology articles. In mid-1998 the late Daniel Chemla, then the newly installed ALS Director, requested science highlights in a standard format that would better showcase the scientific productivity of the facility to its various audiences, from the U. S. Department of Energy and other funding agencies, to the user community and the interested public. To this end, science highlights as a feature of ALSNews emerged in August 1998.
Having such a broad readership raised the question of how technical to make the articles. Thanks to a reader’s suggestion, we added a “sidebar” to each highlight as a way to draw in more non-technical readers. The first highlights had no graphics, but in December 1999 we shifted to the present graphics-friendly format, linking to the ALS Web site featuring the full highlight, which becomes part of the Science Highlights Archive.
Evolution is ongoing and we are always looking for ways to improve our format as well as for candidate highlights. Please send us your suggestions, and enjoy the highlights!
Imaging Antifungal Drug Molecules with Soft X-Ray Tomography
Berkeley Lab’s National Center for X-Ray Tomography teamed up with the Barron group from Stanford to carry out a series of imaging experiments on XM-2, the biological soft x-ray microscope at the ALS. The team imaged the sub-cellular changes that take place when C. albicans becomes infectious, as well as when the cells are treated with peptoids. The new microscope yielded stunningly clear 3-D images. This is the first time it has been possible to view the consequences of a cell switching phenotypes, and the effects of drug treatment on the detailed structure of a cell. Read Full Highlight
Electron Correlation in Iron-based Superconductors
Working at the ALS, Yang et al. have provided strong evidence that iron pnictide superconductors discovered in 2008, although with many similarities to cuprate high-temperature superconductors, are not highly correlated systems. Their results not only set a clear boundary on models for iron pnictides, but might also lead physicists to the mechanism of their superconductivity, and perhaps also to their optimization for technological applications. Read Full Highlight
If the promise of nanotechnology is to be fulfilled, nanoparticles will have to be able to make something of themselves. Researchers have found a simple and yet powerfully robust way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays. By adding specific types of small molecules to mixtures of nanoparticles and polymers, they were able to direct the self-assembly of the nanoparticles into arrays of one, two, and even three dimensions with no chemical modification of either the nanoparticles or the block copolymers. Read Full Highlight
Optical Metrology Lab gets New Funding A clean lab and new instrumentation will improve optics at the ALS.
The Optical Metrology Lab (OML) at the ALS is renowned for its precision and technical expertise in metrology of x-ray optics. It has achieved this notoriety with only two full-time staff members and extremely limited laboratory facilities. Now, with new funding from the DOE that provides 1.4M to upgrade and replace outdated instrumentation, the OML will be able to achieve an even higher level of excellence. Read the Full Article
ALS Staff Full of Mobile Application Ideas The Berkeley Lab Mobile Application Competition asked staff to submit ideas and/or code for “original” applications (or apps) that were of “value to Berkeley Lab.” Many ALS staff won awards, including Eric Schaible, a Scientific Engineering Associate whose application SafetyCAT enables immediate reporting and documentation of safety issues. Bob Gunion, who provides software support for CXRO beamlines, won an award for the “ALS Monitor for the iPhone.” Inspired by the ALS status page, this app provides near-real-time updates of beam current and other vital statistics in an intuitive interface, and will be ready for mass distribution in a month or two. James Glossinger’s “ALS Status by Text Message” sends ring status notifications by text message, so it can be used by any phone (sign up here). Other ALS winners include Rich Celestre (iApprove), Thomas Allison and Mike Greaves (IR viewer), Jeff Troutman (Maximo Work Interface), and Liz Moxon (ALS Beam Status Updater; X-Ray Data Booklet). Click here for a full list of winning applications.
For the user runs from January 21 to February 8, 2010, the beam reliability [(time scheduled – time lost)/time scheduled)] was 95.3%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 27.9 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 82 minutes. There were no significant interruptions.
More detailed information on reliability is available on the ALS reliability bulletin board, which is located in the hallway between the ALS and the control room in Building 80. Questions about beam reliability should be directed to Dave Richardson (DBRichardson@lbl.gov, x4376).
Save the Date: The 2010 ALS Users’ Meeting will take place Wednesday-Friday, October 13-15, 2010 – save the date! Now is the time to step up if you would like to organize a workshop for the meeting. Potential workshop leaders should contact one of this year’s co-chairs: Brandy Toner and Hendrik Bluhm.
Check the Users’ Meeting Web site periodically for the latest information. It will be updated as new information becomes available. Additionally, please encourage your colleagues who visit LBNL to stay at the Berkeley Lab Guest House. They are featuring discounted rates through June.
The UEC members are your representatives to ALS Management. All users are welcome to contact their UEC representatives to raise issues of concern relating to their own research, or to alert us to issues facing our whole community.