ALS Users’ Meeting 2010: Stimulating Science and Innovation
For the nearly 400 attendees, the 2010 ALS Users’ Meeting was a smashing success. In his opening remarks, Users’ Executive Committee Chair David Osborn thanked co-chairs Hendrik Bluhm and Brandy Toner for what was to be an enjoyable and stimulating conference.
ALS Director Roger Falcone opened the meeting by announcing, “The ALS is very healthy!” This year the ALS welcomed new staff, built new beamlines, increased proposals and remote usership, and received an R&D 100 award for APPELS, its ambient-pressure research instrument. “The ALS accelerator is at the forefront of performance globally,” Falcone said. “The stimulus money received in FY09 helped to launch our renewal,” which is well underway. To keep the ALS recognized as a top facility, Falcone encouraged users to enter all publications, theses, awards, and invited talks for the upcoming BES review.
Congressman Vern Ehlers (R-MI) giving his keynote address Wednesday morning.
Dr. Harriet Kung, DOE Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy Sciences (pictured below speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony), focused on the need to discover new, earth-abundant materials using computational, chemical, and material sciences. Kung praised the new User Support Building (USB) as “a success in project management: heartening, early, and under budget. A true highlight.” Michaell Lubell, Director of Public Affairs for the American Physical Society, followed Kung, speaking about the prospects for American science. Congressman Vern Ehlers (R-MI) pondered how to increase awareness amongst politicians and the public of science and its impacts on everyday life. “Energy is the most basic natural resource because without it we cannot use other natural resources,” Ehlers said. Donald DePaolo (Earth Sciences Division, Berkeley Lab) rounded out the morning session discussing research challenges in earth and environmental science.
The USB was formally opened in a well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony. See article below.
In the afternoon, Steve Rossi, Dave Robin, and Jim Floyd gave updates on the USB, operations, and safety, respectively. Highlights included a photo tour of the USB, and updates on the water-cooling tower, controls, and brightness upgrades in progress.
Zahid Hussain updated users on MERLIN, ARPES’ new VLS spectrometer that is unique worldwide, and the Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology Program. Patrick Naulleau of the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO) gave an overview of their research programs and plans for new 8-nm-resolution lithography and microscope tools. A lively open forum brought discussion on what to do with unscheduled beam time, and feedback about the Guest House. It was also decided by a vote that users prefer the beam to be OFF during the meeting. Do you agree? Answer the poll.
Alice H. England answers questions about her poster “pH dependent NEXAFS Spectroscopy of the Aqueous Carbonate System” during a poster session.
The Lab’s main auditorium was packed to hear invited science highlight talks. Aaron Bostwick showcased his study of graphene using photoemission. George Cody pondered the composition of chondrites and the existence of wet comets. Bill McCurdy gave a preview of soft x-ray science over the next 10 years, stressing the importance of understanding artificial photosynthesis and variable charge-transfer dynamics in molecules and complexes.
The first Student Poster Slam was a giant success: 24 students each spoke for 50 seconds about their poster. Nearly all stayed within their allotted time, and the audience was enthralled! Graduate students from Switzerland, Hungary, Mexico, and China made up most of the group, along with five students from the University of Saskatchewan and one UC Berkeley undergraduate.
The Thursday morning session began with a presentation by Hoi-Ying Holman, awarded the David A. Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at the ALS for her “pioneering study of living cells and their response to environmental stimuli using synchrotron-based FTIR spectromicroscopy.” Her talk, “Synchrotron Infrared Spectroscopy and the Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Oil Plume,” detailed alternate ways to think about microbial community composition and function in environments like the Gulf of Mexico. This work was particularly relevant following the blow out of the Macondo Well (better known as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion), where the escaping oil’s biological effects and expected fate are unknown due partly to the extreme depth and magnitude of this event. By using FTIR spectromicroscopy, Holman demonstrated molecular measurements of in-situ microbial processes that revealed how indigenous deep-sea microbes have the potential for bioremediation of oil hydrocarbons in the deep-water oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico. See the Berkeley Lab News Center article on this research.
Henry Chapman shares diffractive imaging results from experiments at various light sources during an evening lecture honoring former ALS Acting Director Janos Kirz.
Weilun Chao, representing the team (Erik Anderson, Weilun Chao, Peter Fischer, Tolek Tyliszczak, David Kilcoyne, and Tony Warwick) that won the Klaus Halbach Award for Innovative Instrumentation at the ALS for “hitting the 10-nm resolution milestone with soft-x-ray microscopy,” described a new overlay nanofabrication technique for narrower outer-zone creation that aided in the achievement of 12-nm outer-zone lines and 10-nm resolution for both full-field and scanning microscopes–world records in x-ray microscopy.
The Student Poster Award winner was Robert Green, University of Saskatchewan. His engaging presentation highlighted the doping of semiconductors to create dilute magnetic semiconductors and subsequent measurement of the energy dependence of photon absorption and decay using XAS and RIXS, respectively.
The awards banquet was so well attended the ALS patio had standing room only. Awardees were lauded for their contributions to the ALS; participants then honored former ALS Acting Director Janos Kirz with an evening lecture on the history of diffractive imaging by his former student, Henry Chapman.
Workshops preceded the awards banquet Thursday and continued Friday. A full agenda is posted on the Users’ Meeting Web site.
Platinum Nanoclusters Out-Perform Single Crystals
Researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division have found that under high pressure–comparable to the pressures at which many industrial technologies operate–platinum surfaces can change their structure dramatically in response to the presence of high-coverage reactants. High-pressure scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) and ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS) at ALS Beamlines 9.3.2 and 11.0.2 allowed researchers to study catalysts’ structure and composition under realistic conditions. Read more…
Structure of All-Polymer Solar Cells Impedes Efficiency
Organic solar cells are made of thin layers of interpenetrating structures from two different conducting organic materials and are increasingly popular because they are both potentially cheaper to make than those currently in use and can be “painted” or printed onto a variety of surfaces, including flexible films made from the same material as most soda bottles. Researchers have now found, through microscopy and resonant scattering and reflectivity studies at ALS Beamlines 6.3.2 and 5.3.2 , that the low rate of energy conversion in model all-polymer solar cells is caused by domains that are too large and interfaces that are not sharp enough. Read more…
Ahead of schedule and under budget, the User Services Building (USB) formally opened on October 13 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Users’ Meeting. As Berkeley Lab’s newest building, the USB received rave reviews during the ceremony from ALS Director Roger Falcone, Vern Ehlers (R-MI), Dr. Harriet Kung, State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, State Senator Loni Hancock, and Bruce Darling, the UC Lab Management Director for LBNL, LLNL, and LANL.
The USB is “highly functional and stunningly beautiful,” said Darling. “It really epitomizes DOE goals for growth,” Kung added. Hancock praised its green construction, and advocated going for the gold–gold LEED certification, that is.
Dr. Harriet Kung, DOE BES Associate Director of Science, addresses a large crowd at the USB ribbon-cutting ceremony.
UEC Chair David Osborn thanked ALS staff during the ceremony: “On behalf of users, I’d like to convey sincere appreciation to Roger (Falcone), Steve (Rossi) and other teams. You listened to users.”
More than 60 users and support staff who now call it home have actually been in Building 15 since early September. The USB has biology and chemistry laboratories, a server room, a semi-clean precision assembly room, and a two-story staging area with two-ton bridge crane. Flexible work stations are available for part-time users who may also utilize lockers on the first floor. For more details read the Berkeley Lab News Center article.
ALS Draws a Crowd at Berkeley Lab Open House
Berkeley Lab and the ALS opened their doors to visitors from around the Bay Area on Saturday, October 2. More than 3500 guests ventured up the hill to see exhibits, try out hands-on activities, and to hear lectures from LBNL scientists on everything from current cancer research to how supercomputers visualize climate change and exploding stars (view the entire program here). At the ALS, beamline scientists, users, and staff were on hand to show off ALS beamlines and current research, explain about the aluminum foil everywhere, and answer innumerable questions as visitors followed a self-guided tour around the ring. More than 1200 guests visited the facility, and their comments were uniformly enthusiastic: “Wonderful,” “fantastic,” “informative,” “awesome!” See photos of the volunteers and visitors here.
UEC Voting Is Open – Vote Now
Greetings ALS Users,
Thank you to all who participated in the ALS Users’ Meeting, and a special thanks to the co-chairs of the meeting, UEC members Hendrik Bluhm, David Kilcoyne, and Brandy Toner, for their dedication in organizing such an interesting and exciting event. If you have feedback on this year’s meeting or suggestions for the next Users’ Meeting, we would like to hear from you (http://alsuec.org/).
Voting is now open to elect new UEC members and to amend the Users’ Association Charter. Please vote; it is quick and easy! Just go to http://www.alsuec.org/uec_nominees.php. The deadline for voting is Tuesday, November 2. You can vote for up to four UEC candidates and for the charter amendment.
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.
For the user runs from September 8 to October 4, 2010, the beam reliability [(time scheduled – time lost)/time scheduled)] was 99.0%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 61.4 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 46 minutes. There were no significant interruptions.
A note about Fiscal Year 2010 (Oct 2009 – Sep 2010): Our beam reliability for FY-2010 was 95.4% (5706.5 hours delivered / 5980.0 hours scheduled. This metric includes only scheduled user hours: additional unscheduled light that is sometimes provided to users is not included in this calculation.)
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).
Operations ALS Operations Group Leader Rick Bloemhard describes who the operators are, how they keep the ALS running, and what they can do for you. Read the Article
Science Cafés Mark your calendar: ALS Science Cafés will return November 12. If you are interested in presenting, please go to the ALS Science Café Web page.
Photo Contest Decided Users’ Meeting attendees voted on 26 photos taken as part of the first ALS Photography Contest. The winner, Heather Pinto, and the runners-up have their photos featured online.
Guest House Special Visiting Berkeley Lab? Book accommodations at the new Berkeley Lab Guest House located on site. The current special features discounted rates, no occupancy tax, and free parking; visit the Web site for more information.