Siegfried S. Hecker regales the audience with stories from his visits to North Korea, working with plutonium.
A record 461 people registered for the 2011 ALS User Meeting, packing the plenary sessions, workshops, and meals. Berkeley Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon welcomed guests to the meeting, touching on the ominous challenge of data storage and processing. ALS Director Roger Falcone gave an in-depth overview of ALS progress and prospects, highlighting the new AMBER beamline, the controls upgrade, and a new user processing system as the top three priorities for the coming year.
DOE Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy Sciences Dr. Harriet Kung spoke about supporting use-inspired science and shortening innovation paths. She also introduced the Materials Genome Initiative, a new White House initiative meant to “speed our understanding of the fundamentals of material science.” The morning continued with an engaging talk by Siegfried S. Hecker, former director of LANL, who shared personal stories about his visits to North Korea to assess their plutonium program. Richard Muller of UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab challenged the audience to turn a skeptic scientific eye toward the data for and against climate change. Mary McGrath ended the morning session with a perspective on how Gilead Sciences uses protein crystallography to improve drug candidates for HIV treatment. Tom Wallow (Globalfoundries) added another industry perspective, showcasing ALS beamlines and scientists that are improving semiconductor lithography, advancing materials and processes for future microchip fabrication.
Oleg Chubar (BNL) presents a talk about numerical modeling of beamline performance at a workshop dedicated to LUXOR, the Light Source Upgrade of X-ray Optics for Research.
ALS staff updates included User Services group lead Sue Bailey discussing the proposed user processing system, which will automatically link training and access at the ALS. She continued this discussion with users during the open forum, also touching on new options for the ALS proposal cycle and rapid access. Falcone asked for input on the proposed LUXOR project (Light Source Upgrade of X-ray Optics for Research), citing increases in three areas as the motivation for LUXOR: demand for higher-brightness beam, throughput due to increased robotics use, and operations efficiency due to increasing numbers of remote users. Howard Padmore’s Experimental Systems Group update also focused on LUXOR, which, if funded, would improve the optics in existing Basic Energy Sciences beamlines, hopefully achieving order-of-magnitude increases in performance. He also reviewed the operation of ESG’s 11 beamlines and discussed the opportunities for advanced computing and computational physics. Jim Floyd followed with an overview of ALS Safety.
Prior to the second annual student poster slam, Tony McDaniel of Sandia Labs described how soft x-rays are advancing electrochemical devices by illuminating information on their surface and bulk states and their mechanical operation. During the student poster slam, 21 students each gave a 50-second introduction to their poster. Students came from as far as Germany, Thailand, Sweden, and South Korea, and again this year several students from the University of Saskatchewan participated. One student thought a cartoon slide might garner an edge, but first place ultimately went to Alice England of UC Berkeley for her poster “on the hydration and hydrolysis of carbon dioxide.” Guests who braved the soggy weather could view all the posters at the poster session and reception that evening, where they also had the chance to vote for their favorite photograph of “The ALS at Work” in the ALS photography contest.
Tuesday was an exciting day at Berkeley Lab, as Saul Perlmutter won the Nobel Prize in Physics early in the day. ALS User Meeting sessions moved from the auditorium into the User Support Building to accommodate a press conference for Perlmutter, and the second day of plenary sessions began with a bit of excitement in the air.
Student Poster Award winner Alice England (in purple) presents her work during the student poster slam.
Subrata Chakraborty, winner of this year’s David A. Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at the ALS, opened the second day’s sessions with a funny and engaging presentation of his work. He won the award for “designing and executing the most important and difficult experiment relevant to understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system,” measuring the isotope ratios of oxygen in different parts of the solar system. England followed, clearly illustrating the work that won her the Student Poster Award.
Invited science highlight talks began with David Esteves from the University of Colorado, Boulder, touting the potential importance trapping atoms in carbon cages could have on the future of medicine. The recent observation of confinement resonances in endohedral fullerenes confirmed their long-hypothesized existence, adding a wealth of information to this growing field. Brian Collins of North Carolina State University demonstrated the benefits of using soft x-ray scattering to gain insight into organic devices like solar cells.
Eli Dart followed, bringing full circle what Horst Simon touched on at the beginning of the meeting, that data processing and storage are fast becoming the bottleneck in scientific research. Dart presented the Energy Sciences Network, or ESNet: a dedicated DOE network that can be optimized to fit the needs of a specific project, lab, or facility with the goal of advancing science. ESNet is looking for early adopters interested in moving data.
With more registrants than ever before, the ALS patio was packed for the awards banquet, which was especially colorful this year thanks to the decorative efforts of a new caterer. After thanking this year’s meeting co-chairs Gyorgy Snell and Jeffrey Kortright, UEC chair David Osborn went on to give the Klaus Halbach Award for Innovative Instrumentation at the ALS to Yi-De Chuang for “world-leading achievements that have revolutionized conventional soft x-ray scattering instrumentation and enabled the first time-resolved resonant scattering experiment at the Linac Coherent Light Source.”
Ed Domning and Brian Smith received the Tim Renner User Services Award for Outstanding Support to the ALS User Community for “creating solutions using LabView that enable users to automate experimental endstations and synchronize them with accelerator operations.”
Recently, researchers from the ALS and the University of Oregon have shown that it is possible to form x-ray holograms in reflection geometry, opening the door to single-shot, high-resolution lensless imaging of a wealth of new material samples. Read more…
The ALS was once again the star attraction at this year’s Open House. More than 1000 visitors climbed up the hill to take a self-guided tour around the ring. As they toured the ring, many marveled at the size of the building, the equipment, and the amount of tin foil in use. Along the way they peppered ALS staff and users with questions about everything from “Why is graphene important?” to “How can x rays be used to ‘see’ the structure of proteins?” One popular stop on the route was by Beamline 6.3.1 where an ALS Souvenir Photo Booth was staged; take a look at our smiling visitors! Pictures of the event are also available on the ALS Flikr photostream, and a video of our guests’ impressions of the the ALS will be posted shortly on our YouTube channel.
Proposal scores for the January-June 2012 cycle have been finalized and users have been notified of their beam time allocations. The distribution of general sciences proposal scores as well as the cutoff scores for each beamline are posted online.
Patrick Naulleau Named Director of the Center for X-Ray Optics
Patrick Naulleau has been appointed as the Director of the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO). He has been serving as Interim Director of CXRO since 2010. In early 2000, Patrick launched the EUV nanopatterning program in CXRO and went on to lead the development of the 0.3-NA EUV nanolithography tool at the ALS, which has become the world’s highest resolution projection lithography tool and now serves as the epicenter of a vibrant industrial and fundamental research program dedicated to the development of EUV materials, optical techniques, and processes. Naulleau is also a member of the UC Berkeley IMPACT program that focuses on research in advanced lithography.
Patrick and his colleagues at CXRO are global leaders in x-ray research and technology, and they have developed strong and critical connections between the Materials Sciences and Advanced Light Source Divisions at LBNL. Read more about Patrick and CXRO in this Ring Leader article from last year.
Alex Aguilar (in white shirt) takes a lunch break with students and fellow speakers at MePAS.
The first session of the Mexican Particle Accelerator School (MePAS) recently took place Guanajuato from September 26 to October 7. The program was designed to gather interested students and scientists from across the country to train them in the field of particle accelerator technology and scientific research opportunities with light sources. ALS Beamline Scientist Alex Aguilar assisted organizer Mauro Napsucile (University of Guanjuato) in designing the program and selecting speakers, and also gave a talk about current research at the ALS. In addition to Aguilar, other Berkeley Lab participants included Dave Robin and John Byrd (AFRD) discussing synchrotron radiation sources and ring instabilities, respectively. More information about the school, talks, and participants, can be found on the MePAS Web site.
User Meeting Is a Smashing Success!
Greetings ALS Users,
The ALS User Meeting took place October 3-5, 2011, and was a great success with our highest attendance ever. You’ll see a full report on the meeting in this issue of ALSNews, but I want to personally thank UEC members Jeff Kortright and Gyorgy Snell for organizing the scientific program at this year’s meeting. Without their dedicated work, the meeting could not have happened. I also want to thank Deborah Smith of the User Services Office who was the master planner for the meeting, and all those who worked with Deborah to pull off a smooth event.
I would like to draw your attention to the National User Facility Organization (NUFO). NUFO represents the interests of all users who conduct research at US national scientific facilities, and scientists from US institutions who use facilities outside the United States. NUFO provides a unified voice at the national level to emphasize the critical role that user facilities like the ALS play in economic competitiveness and the education of the next generation of scientists.
NUFO can provide you with statistics about light sources and outreach information to help you convey to an audience the importance of these national resources. For more information, see their redesigned Web site at www.nufo.org.
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 20 to October 16, 2011, the beam reliability [(time scheduled – time lost)/time scheduled)] was 98.2%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 47 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 60 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).
Come to the ALS Science Café Wednesday, November 30 in the User Support Building’s main conference room. Speakers and topics TBA. If you are interested in presenting in a future Science Café, please go to the ALS Science Café Web page.
The American Physical Society has awarded its 2012 John H. Dillon Medal to ALS user Rachel Segalman. She is recognized for “Fundamental and technological contributions to the field of polymer science and engineering, especially in the area of rod-coil block copolymers.” Segalman is in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley.
The newest issue of ALS Spectrum is now available online, featuring scientific and facility updates, a roundup of science highlights, brief reports from ALS staff and user groups, articles about ALS people and events.