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From the Director of SSRL: The Next User Run

(Photo - Piero Pianetta)

The past few months have been an extremely busy time at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. Not only have we been taking care of numerous shutdown activities and getting ready for users to start up again, but we have been working out the details to transition the SSRL Accelerator Division as a core team in the new Accelerator Directorate, as well as moving into the new financial system. To my pleasant surprise, not only have we all accomplished these varied tasks on a fast time scale but we have also learned how to better work together as a lab and develop a vision of the next steps we must take.

I can attest to Persis' recent comment about the creation of the Accelerator Directorate that "we didn't break anything." The SPEAR3 core team is now firmly planted in the directorate and the startup of SPEAR3 has gone very smoothly with the Beamline, Accelerator and Radiation Protection groups coordinating their activities to make sure that a high-quality beam is delivered safely to users during the coming weeks.

During this past shutdown, we have put the finishing touches on the remaining technical elements that will allow us to move to delivering beam to users at a stored current of 500 mA, which is eagerly being awaited by our users. During the fall and winter runs, we will be performing the final radiation protection and procedural certifications to allow the beamlines to operate routinely for users at the higher currents in top-off mode, i.e., where injections are carried out with shutters open. We will also be testing the stability of the beamline optics and learning how to ensure that data collection is not negatively affected during injection. This latter point will be critical to achieving the ultimate goal of running at 500 mA with "trickle charge," where a small amount of beam is injected every few minutes to keep the stored current steady to within a fraction of a percent. A few enhancements are still needed on the accelerator side to optimize this form of beam delivery but we will all be working hard to come as close to this goal as possible during the coming year.

With the completion of the SPEAR3 Beamline Upgrade project in 2009, we are back to our full complement of 25 fully operational beamlines with two more that will be brought into operation during the coming year. These additional beamlines will enable us to increase the number of users who can to perform science at SSRL and help alleviate some of the oversubscription rates that we have been experiencing over the past several years.

The large number of users who cycle through SSRL on a daily basis presents a challenge to ensure that the work is properly planned and that hazards are identified and mitigated. Starting this past year, we have worked to improve the SSRL user processes to make sure they are well aligned to Work Planning and Control. For the coming run we will have an enhanced process in place that will provide additional pre-run oversight to our users in an effort to help identify any hazards that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks. In addition, we have added personal protective equipment, or PPE, stations at strategic places around the lab and at each beamline so that safety glasses, gloves, sharps containers etc. are readily available.

I am looking forward to a safe and productive run in FY2010 as well as working hard with users and staff to identify opportunities that will bring new and exciting programs to the laboratory.

—Piero Pianetta
SLAC Today, October 23, 2009