APS User News
Issue 58, November 11, 2009

CONTENTS

MESSAGE FROM MURRAY

SCIENCE NEWS
1. Fast CCD Detector Collaboration

2. Science & Research Highlights

  • The Power of Proteins: Prion Diseases Demystified
  • Bacterium Helps in the Formation of Gold
  • Getting to the Roots of Lethal Hairs
  • Creating a Precise Atomic-Scale Map of Quantum Dots

USER MATTERS
3. Users and the Flu Season
4. Workshop on the Role of Synchrotron Radiation in Solving Scientific Challenges in Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems
5. First Experiment at the Linac Coherent Light Source
6. New Postings Available on Employment Bulletin Board

FACILITY NEWS
7. Recent SAC Meeting Focuses on APS Upgrade
8. The Life Sciences Council at the APS
9. Fitness Center Now Open in New Location

AWARDS AND HONORS
10. APS Users Awarded 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

BRIEFLY NOTED
--Seeking Proposal Review Panel Members

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MESSAGE FROM MURRAY

We continue to make progress in our planning for the APS Renewal--now renamed "APS Upgrade." The proposal we submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences in May has now been reviewed, and the results are very encouraging. (The text of this proposal is now available on the web at http://www.aps.anl.gov/Renewal/aps_cdzero.pdf.) In October, at a special meeting of our Scientific Advisory Committee, we affirmed the top priority elements that will be included in the project scope. They include substantial improvements to the accelerator, x-ray delivery systems, instrumentation, as well as new or upgraded beamlines. Although one component is the development of several unique new capabilities, all users at APS should see significant benefit from the improvements. The estimated cost for the project is $350M over five to seven years.

To manage the project, we have assembled an Integrated Project Team and are working with DOE closely as they evaluate the Mission Need case that is part of the Critical Decision zero (CD-0) and marks the formal beginning of the project. If all goes well, we hope to receive CD-0 approval in early 2010, following which we will develop the conceptual design report for the upgrade. In this important defining phase of the project, user involvement will be extremely important, and we will actively solicit user input and feedback. Geoffrey Pile (who was recently the successful project manager for the undulator portion of the Linac Coherent Light Source) will be the project manager for the APS upgrade, and I will be the project director. This will be a very integrated project. We are plan to maintain reliable 5000-hour user operations during the upgrade; of course, once the project is complete its operations will fold into the APS operations. It is important that we manage the project and APS operations distinctly during the project execution phase. As a result, Rod Gerig, currently APS Deputy Director for Operations, will take on additional responsibilities.

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SCIENCE NEWS

1. Fast CCD Detector Collaboration

The Argonne National Laboratory-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) Fast CCD detector is the result of a collaboration (begun in 2005) between the Beamline Technical Support Group at the APS and the detector group at LBL. The Fast CCD detector was awarded beam time at 8-ID under a Partner User Proposal to commission and characterize the detector. The detector has a CCD chip with 480 × 480, 30 µm × 30 µm pixels, which are 200-µm thick and fully depleted. The thickness of the CCD makes the detector very efficient and is ideally suited for direct-detection operation, a key requirement for x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) measurements.

Detector commissioning began at station 8-ID-I in July 2009. Initial measurements focused on characterizing the detector’s flat field response and efficiency, measuring static and fluctuating speckle patterns and examining performance of the control system. Results to date have demonstrated the exceptional prospects of the detector for small-angle XPCS measurements. In particular, the detector achieved a burst of images at 125 frames per second. Moreover, because of the very deep depletion layer, XPCS measurements were performed at considerably higher x-ray energies than have been used previously. This feature is especially advantageous for samples that are sensitive to radiation damage.

The detector will soon be available for use by general users in coordination with staff from the APS Detector Pool. It is anticipated that the detector will find applications in high-resolution time-resolved diffraction and coherent diffraction imaging measurements in addition to XPCS.

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2. Science & Research Highlights

  • The Power of Proteins: Prion Diseases Demystified
    It is hard to believe that a single protein can be responsible for the damage inflicted by diseases such as human Creutzfeldt-Jakob and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease). Yet the implicated protein, known as a prion and only about 200 amino acids long, can initiate and propagate a disease cycle just by changing its shape. More…
  • Bacterium Helps in the Formation of Gold
    Scientists using the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, have found that the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans catalyzes the biomineralization of gold by transforming toxic gold compounds to their metallic form using active cellular mechanism, the first direct evidence that bacteria are actively involved in the cycling of rare and precious metals. More…
  • Getting to the Roots of Lethal Hairs
    A short circuit can be quite hairy. Satellites have failed, a NASA computer center was repeatedly paralyzed, and the U.S. public health authority recalled thousands of pacemakers—all because tin whiskers caused a short circuit in the electronic components of these devices. More…
  • Creating a Precise Atomic-Scale Map of Quantum Dots
    With a big assist from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne, University of Michigan (U-M) researchers have created an atomic-scale map of quantum dots with unprecedented precision, a major step toward the goal of producing “designer dots” that can be tailored for specific applications. More…

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USER MATTERS

3. Users and the Flu Season

The dynamic nature of a user community (e.g., researchers traveling from a wide variety of locations to the APS, working long hours, etc.) makes it a potentially active source for the spread of illness, including influenza. This flu season is has the added risk of the H1N1 or “swine” influenza in addition to the more typical seasonal flu. (See the Center for Disease Control’s 2009 H1N1 flu information page for the latest information.) The coming flu season coincides with upcoming user runs making awareness of good practices to prevent the spread of illness critically important.

Most important: Do not place yourself in contact with co-workers if you are ill! This is the single best way to prevent the spread of illness. Additionally, working extended hours when you are sick can put you at increased risk for complications, especially in the case of flu. Here are some other guidelines for safe conduct during this cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • User hand sanitizer when hand washing isn’t practical.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Get your seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations—preferably before going on travel to the APS or other facilities.
  • If you become ill while working, STOP working and call Argonne Medical (2-2800) for assistance (please do not walk in).

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4. Workshop on the Role of Synchrotron Radiation in Solving Scientific Challenges in Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems

This workshop will be held January 26-28, 2010, at Argonne National Laboratory. Synchrotron radiation-based research has had an enormous impact on resolving forefront scientific issues in the area of advanced nuclear energy systems, despite the technical difficulties in working radiological samples at these facilities. Synchrotron techniques have made significant impact on materials, physics, chemistry, biology, and geophysical sciences aspects of nuclear energy. These diverse communities encounter similar technical hurdles including sample encapsulation and experiment design. Leading researchers in the field will pursue the following objectives:

  • To discuss important scientific and technological issues in all areas of nuclear energy systems, including fundamental electronic properties, radiological materials characterization, radiation damage studies, separation chemistry, and radionuclide behavior relevant to the geosphere that require synchrotron radiation techniques.
  • To encourage communication between nuclear energy researchers and synchrotron experts to optimize the use of synchrotron techniques for discovery in areas related to advanced nuclear energy systems.
  • To identify the user community’s future needs for synchrotron radiation facilities to address scientific questions of importance in nuclear-energy technology as well as examine the adequacy of current capabilities.

This workshop provides an important opportunity to assist the APS in identifying current and future synchrotron capabilities for solving the pressing scientific and technological problems in advanced nuclear energy systems. (Contact: Lynda Soderholm, ls@anl.gov)

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5. First Experiment at the LCLS

You can read an on-line journal written by Argonne’s Linda Young about what it’s like to be one of the first users at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford, CA.

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6. New Postings Available on Employment Bulletin Board

The following new employment opportunities have been posted on the Employment Bulletin Board:

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FACILITY NEWS

7. Recent SAC Meeting Focuses on APS Upgrade

At their meeting in early October, the APS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) focused on plans for an APS Upgrade. They heard presentations describing possible new beamlines and new beamline instrumentation, then offered advice on the process to be used by the APS to prioritize the possibilities. As part of the preparation for development of a conceptual design, the SAC asked the APS to arrange a one-day session with the Directors of the macromolecular crystallography (MX) Collaborative Access Teams, SAC members, and APS management during the January SAC meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to foster development of a collective vision for the future directions of structural biology at the APS. Responding to previous SAC advice, APS Director Murray Gibson reported that the position of Argonne Distinguished Fellow for Life Sciences is being established to advise him and coordinate this segment of the APS user community. This position was posted on October 30, 2009; ads are also being placed in several prestigious journals. The full posting can be accessed here.

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8. The Life Sciences Council at the APS

The Life Sciences Council (LSC) is a subgroup of the Partner User Council (PUC) formed to represent the special interests of Collaborative Access Teams (CATs) conducting research on biological systems. Ten of the 14 CATs at the APS operate beamlines that conduct research in the life sciences areas using techniques such as macromolecular crystallography, microcrystallography, time-resolved crystallography, static and time-resolved solution scattering, small-angle x-ray scattering/ wide-angle x-ray scattering, fiber diffraction, microfluorescence, and micro x-ray absorption spectroscopy.

The LSC membership is composed of PUC members from groups with a biological or biomedical focus as part of their mission and represents roughly half of the users at the APS. The LSC members discuss issues of common interest to the biological community and facilitate communication with APS management. These issues include matters affecting current and future beamline operations, future APS facility development such as the APS Upgrade, and the special APS-to-Partner User relationship. The LSC serves as an advocacy group for the facility, its partners, and the biological user community at large, as well as being a resource for upper management in the drafting of strategic plans, white papers, position descriptions, and assessment response reports. The membership meets at least quarterly to conduct the business of the LSC. In addition, the Chair of the LSC (or a designee) is a member of the APS Upgrade Steering Committee and serves as a conduit for ideas that impact biological research carried out on site. The current members of the Life Sciences Council include Chairman Bob Fischetti (GM/CA-CAT), Wayne Anderson (LS-CAT), Keith Brister (LS-CAT), Malcolm Capel (NE-CAT), John Chrzas (SER-CAT), Tom Irving (Bio-CAT), Andrzej Joachimiak (SBC-CAT), Denis Keane (DND-CAT), Lisa Keefe (IMCA-CAT), Keith Moffat (BioCARs), Vukica Srajer (BioCARs), and Steve Wasserman (LRL-CAT). For more information contact Susan Strasser or Bob Fischetti.

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9. Fitness Center Now Open in New Location

The Argonne Fitness Center is now open in Bldg. 200, K-wing. Use of the facility is free to Argonne and Department of Energy employees; the facility is also free to badged scientific users provided they complete a liability waiver form ANL-898 (submission instructions are provided on the form).

The facility is open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed on holidays and weekends). The fitness center is equipped with aerobic exercise machines, strength machines, free weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, and steppers. Locker room space and showers are available in other parts of Building 200. Lockers are daily use only; locks may be used to secure personal items but cannot be left in place on the lockers.

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AWARDS AND HONORS

10. APS Users Awarded 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Thomas Steitz (Yale University), Ada Yonath (Israel's Weizmann Institute), and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Cambridge, England's Medical Research Center). The three biochemists share the award for their work on the structure and function of the ribosome based on data collected at the Advanced Photon Source. You can read more about their accomplishment in this Argonne press release.

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BRIEFLY NOTED

--Seeking Proposal Review Panel Members
Would you be interested in serving as a member of one of our Proposal Review Panels (PRPs)? We currently meet for one day three times a year, usually in March, July, and October/November. Members are asked for a two-year commitment that can be renewed if mutually agreed upon. PRP members are asked to read all proposals in their particular discipline and to take primary responsibility for a portion of them. The review panels are made up of experts in the areas of high pressure, instrumentation, imaging/microbeam, scattering-applied materials, scattering-condensed matter, scattering-chemistry/biology/environmental, small-angle scattering, spectroscopy, and macromolecular crystallography. We are very interested in strengthening participation by our industrial users and they are particularly encouraged to reply. If you are interested in joining this important process, please contact Meg Vigliocco-Hagen, APS General User Proposal Administrator.

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