APS User News-at-a-Glance
Issue 56, August 7, 2009
6. Stimulus Funding Bringing New Instrumentation to APS
-- Key Dates for Center for Nanoscale Materials Users Meeting Announced
-- A Reminder about Visitors in the Experiment Hall
-- General User Proposal Deadline for Run 2010-1
-- Final Report from NUFO Meeting Now Available
Instructions for subscribing, unsubscribing, and submitting info
I hope you are enjoying your summer. Those users who visited APS in June may have noted a higher than normal number of beam faults at the beginning of the current run. These faults were mostly in radio frequency (rf) systems but were otherwise unrelated. Fortunately, after this rocky start, the availability has now risen to almost 97% and the mean time between faults has increased to almost 70 hours. While we are still attaining our reliability and availability targets on a yearly basis, we believe that the faults are a symptom of aging systems. For example, we had a spate of unrelated power supply problems in the recent past. We are working hard to address the root causes of aging problems and have developed a plan to address obsolescence risks in the years to come. The plan includes complete replacement of the klystron-based rf system with a solid-state system, replacement of many corroded and radiation-damaged components, and new digital power supplies. We have been fortunate this year to receive adequate capital and operating funds to begin to address these issues after several difficult years with inadequate funding that undoubtedly exacerbated our problems.
In parallel with our proposal for the APS renewal, we propose to use our regular accelerator improvement and operating funds to address obsolescence issues in order of risk. Before the renewal is completed in a decade, we will have brought APS systems into a more robust and higher performance state. While our obsolescence abatement plan does not require direct funding from the renewal project, it does require the release of our normal funds from the need to upgrade beamlines that would be made possible by the renewal. Therefore, the proposed renewal project is crucial to the future success of the APS, not only through opening new scientific opportunities but also through extended lifetime of the basic APS systems.
This year the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to advance basic science relevant to our nation’s needs for sustainable energy. Each EFRC will be funded at $2-5M per year for a five-year period. The goal of the EFRCs is to engage the best U.S. scientists and engineers in addressing important scientific issues related to America’s energy security. A total of 46 EFRCs have been funded from a pool of 260 applications submitted in response to a call issued by the DOE Office of Science in 2008. The EFRCs have been awarded to 31 universities, 12 DOE laboratories, two non-profit organizations, and one corporate research laboratory in the categories of renewable and carbon-neutral energy, crosscutting science, energy efficiency, and energy storage. The Advanced Photon Source is involved in a significant way in at least 13 of these EFRCs. The following four EFRC’s are those in which Argonne National Laboratory is the leader or a major partner:
The Institute for Atom-efficient Chemical Transformations (or IACT) will be established at Argonne to investigate efficient chemical pathways for the conversion of coal and biomass to fuels and chemicals. IACT research will use the Advanced Photon Source and several DOE Office of Science computational facilities and will establish collaborations between researchers from Argonne, Northwestern University, Purdue University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Center for Electrical Energy Storage (also located at Argonne) will use the APS, the Center for Nanoscale Materials, and the Argonne Leadership Class Computing Facility to study phenomena in electrochemical reactions that are critical to advanced electrical energy storage. The center will focus on challenges facing electrical energy storage technologies across a wide range of applications. Argonne will collaborate with Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on this EFRC.
The Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center will be located at Northwestern University. This EFRC will seek to revolutionize the design, synthesis, and control of molecules, materials, and processes to significantly improve the conversion of sunlight into electricity and fuels. Scientists from Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source and the Center for Nanophase Materials will collaborate with researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and Yale University.
For the Center for Emergent Superconductivity (headquartered at Brookhaven National Laboratory), Argonne is a major partner in conjunction with leadership from Cornell University and Brookhaven. Scientists from Argonne and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will seek to understand the underlying physics of superconductivity, focusing on improving on the performance of current superconductors and discovering new high-temperature superconductors. The Advanced Photon SourceAPS will participate by conducting angle-resolved photoemission experiments.
For more information about EFRCs, please check the DOE Basic Energy Sciences website here.
Anthrax, long feared for its potential as a biological weapon, has lost some of its mystery. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Chicago, have determined the structure of a protein crucial to the virulence of anthrax bacteria. More >>
The APS will soon require all beam time--including CAT, partner user, and staff time--to be requested and scheduled through a central system. The change is necessary so that the APS can fully comply with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requirements for reporting beam time usage. Several sectors will begin pilot-testing the system for run 2009-3 (which begins Tuesday, October 6, 2009); if the pilot goes well, all sectors will be required to use the system for run 2010-1 (beginning on January10, 2010).
[CORRECTION 9/17/09--The previous sentence should have read as follows: "Several sectors will begin pilot-testing the system for the 2010-1 proposal cycle (proposal deadline October 30 for beamtime in January-April). If the pilot goes well, all sectors will be required to use the system for the 2010-2 proposal cycle (proposal deadline March 5, 2010, for May-August 2010 beamtime)."]
This article gives an overview of the upcoming change; future articles will provide details of the implementation of the new system. If you are a user of a sector that opts to participate in the pilot test, you will receive further information as part of that process.
The change is part of the DOE's move to establish standard "master user agreements" between user institutions and the national laboratories (see also User News no. 52, item 7). Under these agreements, the APS must be able to tell the DOE about the nature of the research conducted by any user of the facility. In addition to this external requirement, the system also meets a long-recognized internal need for more accurate data on CAT and staff usage to facilitate planning. In general, the intent of the new system and requirement is to more efficiently capture a full "who, what, when, and where" picture of work at the APS.
The system is being implemented through an expansion of the general user proposal system, which will include new proposal types and a scheduling interface for beamline administrators. The system will be able to generate automatic notifications to users when time is scheduled or canceled.
General users will see little change, beyond a slightly modified initial screen for the proposal system, the automatically generated notifications, and a slightly modified and streamlined procedure for creating an experiment safety assessment form.
Partner users will see moderate changes. They will now submit proposals through the central proposal interface and use that interface to request beam time.
Collaborative access team members and staff members will see more significant changes, although the aim is to limit the amount of additional work involved. There are two major changes. These users will need to
- submit one very brief proposal per project that will not expire (a one-time effort), and
- use the online system to request beam time for each desired visit.
The effect on individual users will vary. Each CAT, partner user group, and staff group will develop its own policies and procedures for submitting proposals and requesting time and will communicate them to its individual users. Beamline administrators will also have significant flexibility to develop their own procedures for scheduling and notification using the new system.
More details about the implementation of this system, as well as specific instructions for each proposal type, will be provided in the future.
Certain general user proposals can qualify for “project status,” which means that the proposal is allocated a fixed amount of predictable beam time in advance for up to a possible maximum of six cycles (two years) on one or more beamlines. This sounds great, you say, and you want your proposal to fall into this category!
You need to know that project status is granted very sparingly and only to proposal packages that make an excellent case for why the work cannot be effectively pursued under a standard general user proposal. Each beamline has only a limited amount of time that can be designated for project status work.
These proposals are evaluated not only by the Proposal Review Panel (PRP) but also undergo further scrutiny by a subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC subcommittee takes into consideration the PRP’s rating of the proposal, the supplemental information supplied by the principal investigator during proposal submission, and input from sector management for the requested beamline(s). APS management makes the final decisions on granting project status.
So, should you request project status when applying for beam time for your proposal? Here are some things to consider:
- You must specify the beamline(s) desired and justify the need for the location(s).
- You must clearly explain why the goals of the proposal can’t be effectively achieved under a standard general user proposal.
- You must have a strongly written proposal to ensure a good PRP rating.
Contact Meg Vigliocco-Hagen (phone: 630-252-9026) in the APS User Office if you have any questions about the proposal submission process.
Skype is a VOIP or “voice over internet protocol” solution that allows you make free calls over the Internet to any recipient who also has the service. Skype is free, easy to download and use, and works with most computers. It offers global telephony and unlimited voice calls with its next-generation peer-to-peer software.
Skype is supported at the APS and works well from the Advanced Photon Source visitor and wireless networks for Windows, Linux, and MAC OS X platforms. For APS internal wired network access (including CAT wired, Windows, and Linux), clients can use Skype when configured for proxy use through the firewall. Instructions can be found on the APS Information Technology Support web site here.
Currently there is no solution for Mac computers using the internal network due to a proxy configuration limitation within Skype. More information about this and other topics of interest to APS users can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions for APS Beamline Visitors document. Contact: Ken Sidorowicz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this year, the APS responded to a Department of Energy request for proposals for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. The APS is very excited to report that the proposal process has resulted in the APS receiving $7.9M for instrumentation.
Front end and insertion device upgrades are planned for GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS), sector 34-ID, and HP-CAT. All three beamlines will receive canted front ends. GSECARS will also receive vacuum chambers and two insertion devices (2.9 and 3.6 cm periods), sector 34-ID will receive an additional undulator A, and HP-CAT will also get vacuum chambers and insertion devices. The schedule for installations is currently being developed; the first front end installation should begin in September 2010. Installations will be conducted during shut downs and project completion is slated for 2011.
Funding in the amount of $4.3M (broken into two installments) has also been earmarked for new detectors and staff for detector software support. The APS detector pool, which currently includes 42 instruments, receives approximately 300 requests annually from the APS user community. An evaluation of the high-demand detectors combined with considerations for maximizing scientific impact and the APS renewal has resulted in the first $2M installment being used to purchase five new detectors: a Pilatus 100K, two SII NanoTechnology USA Inc. four-element Vortex detectors, a Pilatus 2M, and a Pilatus 1M, as well as additional detector software support. The second installment of ARRA funds for detectors has not yet been received, and the list of possible purchases with this funding is currently being reviewed.
AWARDS AND HONORS
Do you know any researchers or groups at the APS that have recently received an award or honor? Please tell us about it!
A National Science Foundation (NSF) International Fellowship (NSF-IRFP) grant has been awarded to Jerald J. Kavich, a former graduate student of John W. Freeland at the 4-ID-C beamline of the Advanced Photon Source. The award will support Kavich for a two-year post-doctoral position at an innovative research facility in Barcelona, Spain called the Institut Catalá de Nanotecnologia. Kavich will be collaborating with Prof. Dr. Pietro Gambardella on research using polarized soft x-ray spectroscopy and magnetic imaging techniques to study impurity doped systems and single molecule magnetism.
The NSF-IRFP awards (which are available for any discipline of science/engineering research or education supported by NSF) offer scientists the opportunity to participate in international collaborative research, not only expanding the scientist’s personal technical experience but also providing a unique and valuable global perspective in scientific research.
Congratulations to a team of researchers from Argonne and the Xradia company on being selected as one of the 2009 winners the prestigious “R&D 100” award (microscopy category), presented by R&D Magazine for the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN). This award (now in its 47th year) is a symbol of excellence recognized by industry, government, and academia and is presented annually in recognition of the 100 most technologically significant new products.
The Argonne group (Jorg Maser, physicist; Deming Shu, senior engineer; Robert Winarski, physicist; Martin Holt, assistant physicist; Brian Stephenson, senior physicist; and Volker Rose, assistant physicist) and the Xradia group (Michael Feser, VP/GM X-ray Nano-Imaging; Tobias Beetz, project manager; Juana Rudati, project manager; and Wenbing Yun, President/ CTO) jointly developed the HXN to provide x-ray imaging and x-ray analysis at a spatial resolution not previously possible in the hard x-ray range. The system also combines full-field transmission imaging with scanning probe capabilities to achieve qualitative new characterization capabilities.
Details about this and three other R&D 100 awards presented to Argonne researchers can be found here.
Congratulations to Randall E. Winans, group leader for Chemical and Materials Science in the X-ray Science Division of the Advanced Photon Source on being elected to the inaugural 2009 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS)! The ACS Fellows Program recognizes members of the American Chemical Society for their outstanding achievements and contributions.
Winans (Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry, Cornell University) and the other 2009 ACS Fellows will be honored at a special ceremony during the ACS National Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Monday, August 17, 2009.
--Key Dates for CNM Users Meeting Announced
The Center for Nanoscale Materials Users Meeting is set for October 5-7, 2009, at Argonne National Laboratory and will include keynote and plenary sessions, a vendor expo, short courses, facility tours, and a poster session. Two focus sessions on solar energy and on nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) will also be offered. Key dates are:
- August 21: deadline for receipt of poster and invited speaker abstracts
- September 7: deadline for non-US citizen registration
- September 18: deadline for US citizen registration
More information is available at http://nano.anl.gov/user2009.
--A Reminder about Visitors in the Experiment Hall
A person coming to the APS as a visitor (i.e., the person has a gate pass but NOT an APS user badge) MUST be escorted at all times while on the experiment hall floor and may not take part in any hands-on work.
Any visitor to the APS can contact the APS User Office (630-252-9090) and arrange to take GERT training. Completion of GERT training will permit the visitor unescorted access to the experiment hall floor, but they still may not participate in any hands-on activities.
If you have any questions about visiting the APS or becoming an APS user, please contact the APS User Office.
--Final Report from NUFO Meeting Now Available
The final report from the National User Facilities Organization (NUFO) meeting held at Argonne in June is now available on line. You can view the “Industrial Usage Report” from the NUFO home page here.