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In this issue:
SSRL Gains New Spectrometry Capabilities
Twenty Years of the Women's Interchange at SLAC: What's in a Number?

SLAC Today

Tuesday - February 1, 2011

SSRL Gains New Spectrometry Capabilities

(Photo - SSRL Beamline 6-2)
From left: Tsu-Chien Weng, Dennis Nordlund and Dimosthenis Sokaras with the new 40-crystal spectrometer at SSRL Beamline 6-2. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

A new spectroscopy instrument has been installed on Beamline 6-2 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, where staff scientists are now working to test its various components before offering beam time to users this spring. The setup will expand SSRL capabilities in X-ray Raman and X-ray emission spectroscopy—two techniques used to analyze the organization of electrons in solids, liquids and gases—and keep SSRL positioned as a leading synchrotron user facility.

"This will open up the science to a whole new set of users," said SSRL staff scientist Dennis Nordlund, who is part of the team building the instrument. According to Nordlund, the higher intensity and better resolution offered by the X-ray Raman instrument make it a very competitive alternative to soft X-ray spectroscopy. What's more, he says, it overcomes many technical limitations that come with soft X-ray studies, such as the need to operate under a vacuum.

"The main things holding X-ray Raman spectroscopy back were intensity and resolution," Nordlund said. The main feature of the new X-ray Raman spectrometer is a 40-crystal array made up of four-inch bent and diced silicon wafers. A beam is scattered off a sample and then hits the crystals, which redirect and focus the beam onto the same spot on a detector. The new spectrometer increases the intensity of this signal by about a factor of three over the previous instrument.  Read more...

Twenty Years of the Women's Interchange at SLAC: What's in a Number?

(Photo)
WIS planners Cherrill Spencer and Barbara Hemstad prepare for the celebration. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

In the 20 years since its inception, the Women's Interchange at SLAC has organized 185 public seminars and tours; launched a series of eight Take Our Daughters (and later, sons) to Work Days that led to ten (and counting) annual Kids Days @ SLAC; and hosted 20 end-of-year potluck luncheons. These are just numbers, but they give a rough outline of the all-volunteer organization, which for two decades has promoted women's interests and provided a regular, open forum to learn about topics of interest to women and men alike.

"Statistics are interesting to me," said Cherrill Spencer, who leads the WIS planning group together with Barbara Hemstad. "They tell a story, and it's a story we should keep track of." At the WIS 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday, January 20, alongside albums showcasing 20 years of WIS event photos and flyers, the planners provided some numbers about the working environment at SLAC. They include salary statistics and percentages of women working in 23 job groupings at SLAC in 1991 and 2010. The numbers show some increase in the percentage of women in non-technical management and finance roles, and minimal change in other categories since 1991. Separate counts show an upward trend in the number of women in top management over the lab's history—zero in 1960, three in 1991 and five in 2010, including the lab director and CFO.  Read more...

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