SLAC Today is available online at:

In this issue:
Launch of Fourth LCLS Instrument Reveals Crisp, Fine Detail
U.S. Particle Accelerator School Honors Zhirong Huang
Seen Around SLAC: A Temporary Cooling Tower

SLAC Today

Wednesday - February 16, 2011

Launch of Fourth LCLS Instrument Reveals Crisp, Fine Molecular Detail

The research team in the CXI control room. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

The first set of user experiments with the Linac Coherent Light Source's newest instrument is under way, and about 40 researchers are working very long hours this week to decipher the structures of proteins involved in photosynthesis, parasitic disease and other important life processes.

The results won't be known for months, after extensive analysis of the data. But near the end of the second 12-hour shift on Tuesday morning, scientists gathered in front of a bank of computer monitors in the CXI control room were beaming and pointing at the screens, to a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs."

"You see this protein, all these rings here?" Petra Fromme of Arizona State University asked me, pointing to a printed image of what looked like tiny, bright stars arranged in circular patterns against a dark sky. "What's really nice is that each spot is so very fine. The diffraction pattern is so much cleaner" than the ones obtained with traditional structural analysis. What that implies, at a preliminary glance, is that the team may have captured the structure of a photosynthetic protein complex in very fine, crisp detail, approaching atomic resolution.  Read more...

(Photo - Zhirong Huang)
USPAS honoree and SLAC accelerator physicist Zhirong Huang. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

U.S. Particle Accelerator School Honors Zhirong Huang

Accelerator physicist Zhirong Huang, head of SLAC's Free Electron Laser group, will receive one of two prizes for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology, awarded every two years by the U.S. Particle Accelerator School. According to the award citation, Huang was chosen "for contributions to the research and development, design, commissioning and operation of the world's first hard X-ray free-electron laser"—the Linac Coherent Light Source.

"Zhirong was actively involved in solving many of the most critical issues affecting the LCLS, and his contributions certainly helped enable the project's success," said Huang's colleague and former thesis advisor, SLAC Professor Ronald Ruth, who nominated Huang for the award.  Read more...

(Photo - temporary cooling tower)
The temporary cooling tower is almost ready to take the load. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

Seen Around SLAC: A Temporary Cooling Tower

A temporary cooling tower is in the last stages of setup between the Central Utility Plant in Building 23 and the Test Laboratory. The temporary tower will take much of the load while the main cooling tower is taken offline and its two circulation pumps upgraded, according to Mike Maguire, the Facilities Division project manager in charge of the project.

"The subcontractor is completing the last of the wiring and piping now," Maguire said, and the temporary tower is scheduled to start up by February 25. He explained that the pump upgrade is necessary because, as the lab has grown over time, demand on Cooling Tower 101 has grown with it and as a result, both existing circulation pumps must run at all times. However, each new pump is capable of maintaining cooling tower operation on its own. The new pumps will back each other up, adding needed redundancy to the Cooling Tower 101 system.

According to Maguire, replacement of the circulation pumps is scheduled to start on February 26 and will be completed in mid-April.




 Lab Announcements

Community Bulletin Board


Lab Training

Upcoming Workshops & Classes


dividing line
(Office of Science/U.S. DOE Logo)

View online at