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In this issue:
From the Director of Photon Science: A New Initiative in Catalysis and Interfacial Science at SLAC
Frequent Injection Mode Boosts Resolution for SSRL Users
Synchrotron Summer School Goes Beyond Textbook Techniques
Blood Drive Tomorrow
Last Day for Legacy Logowear

SLAC Today

Tuesday - June 8, 2010

From the Director of Photon Science: A New Initiative in Catalysis and Interfacial Science

Welcome to Dr. Jens Nørskov and His Team

Helle Wellejus, Frank Abild-Pedersen and Jens Nørskov at a welcome reception last week hosted by Persis Drell.

In my SLAC Today Director's column last Friday, I discussed the many changes taking place in the Photon Science Directorate that position the lab for future growth and delivery of science essential for achieving future SLAC and Department of Energy missions. Today I am extremely pleased to announce an exciting next step in realizing those objectives, with the arrival of Jens Nørskov and a new initiative in catalysis and interfacial science being developed and lead by Jens.

Catalysts are widely used in many industrial processes, including energy production and mitigating pollution. New catalysts also hold the key to future energy technologies such as efficiently splitting water to form hydrogen or other fuels. To design these technologies, we first need to understand how catalysts carry out their function on the atomic level. We currently do not have a unifying predictive strategy (as for example the Standard Model provides for the field of high energy physics). Jens and his team are leading designers of new materials, especially for catalysis and energy storage applications, using advanced techniques of theory, modeling and simulation. Jens' new center at SLAC will provide a unique capability to understand and model new materials which can then be synthesized. Our light sources at SLAC (LCLS and SSRL) offer valuable techniques for characterizing the new materials. These materials can then be tested for improved catalytic properties with the ultimate goal of finding real world applications.  Read more...

Frequent Injection Mode Boosts Resolution for SSRL Users

The live SPEAR3 status screen shows the current levels over a 24-hour period. The current dropped steadily over each eight-hour cycle prior to the start of frequent injection mode, then became stable around 200 mA beginning at 10:00 a.m. Monday.

After months of planning and testing, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource began its first user run with the SPEAR3 storage ring operating in frequent injection mode yesterday. This is the most recent in a series of steps toward operating at its full design current of 500 milliamperes, which aims to provide faster and higher resolution data collection for SSRL users.

SSRL began running in what's called top-off mode last year, with the last few beamlines approved for top-off earlier this year. Photon beamlines remained open while electrons were injected into the SPEAR3 storage ring three times a day to replenish the 200-mA current. Still operating in top-off mode, these injections now happen once every 10 minutes, or 144 times a day.

"The number one advantage for operating this way is power constancy," said Tom Rabedeau, who works on beamline developments at SSRL. The frequent injections allow the current to remain relatively stable, dropping only about 1.5 mA before more electrons are added. Since the optics used to focus and guide the beams can experience thermal distortion under larger current fluctuations, they perform better under the nearly constant power load provided by the smaller, more frequent injections.  Read more...

Synchrotron Summer School Goes Beyond Textbook Techniques

(Photo - SRXAS 2010 attendees at SLAC)
SRXAS 2010 attendees. (Photo by Nikola Stojanovik.)

Last week, about 45 researchers gathered at SLAC for the fifth annual Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application. This workshop had a simple goal: to familiarize more scientists with synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments. The participants, who were mostly graduate students and postdocs from nearby schools, spent June 1-3 learning new techniques to probe technological and environmental materials.

"It's a practical, hands-on type of workshop," said co-organizer Mike Toney, a SLAC scientist with SSRL. "What we explained and demonstrated is typically not found in textbooks." A working understanding of the beamlines at SSRL is crucial to successfully studying nano- and atomic-scale structures.

Some of the experimental methods covered include thin-film scattering, powder diffraction, small angle X-ray scattering and X-ray reflectivity. One and one-half days of this workshop were devoted to explanatory talks, one day to gaining hands-on experience at the SSRL beamlines, and the last half day was spent working on data analysis.

Blood Drive Tomorrow

The SLAC Blood Drive will take place tomorrow in the Panofsky Auditorium breezeway. All are invited to help SLAC hold its own in the competition among tech companies in the Bay Area that, like SLAC, hold at least four blood drives during 2010.

Participating organizations such as Apple, Cisco, eBay, Google—and SLAC—will be awarded "points" after each drive, based on performance. In addition to helping put SLAC in the running to win, donors will receive a special water bottle. And most of all, blood donors get the satisfaction of knowing they've helped to provide hope and life to a patient in a local hospital.

The blood drive is open to members of the SLAC community and the general public. Please make an appointment or drop by when it is convenient for you. To make an appointment or for further information, please see the SLAC Blood Drive page.

Last Day for Legacy Logowear

Today is the last day! Don't miss your last chance to purchase legacy SLAC logo T-shirts, sweatpants, mugs and more, available today only at Stanford Guest House.


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