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  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on September 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II   

    From BNL: “New NIH/DOE Grant for Life Science Studies at NSLS-II” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    September 23, 2014
    Karen McNulty Walsh, (631) 344-8350 or Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174

    Funding will support operation of three powerful experimental stations designed to reveal detailed structures of proteins, viruses, and more.

    Much of our understanding of how living things function comes from knowledge of structures—atomic details of enzymes that catalyze the processes of life, the receptors that are docking stations for viruses and messenger chemicals, and the nucleic acids DNA and RNA that carry genetic blueprints for building cellular machinery, to name a few. To give scientists unprecedented access to these structural details, a new grant just awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will fund the operation of a suite of powerful experimental tools at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    “With the enhanced capabilities of NSLS-II, researchers will be able to look at smaller specimens of bigger biomolecular complexes and to learn more about them.”
    — Robert Sweet

    BNL NSLS II Photo
    interior
    Brookhaven’s NSLS-II

    The tools, being built with a previous award to Brookhaven Lab of $45 million (M) from NIH in 2010, are being installed at three beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), the nation’s newest and most advanced state-of-the-art synchrotron research facility and a DOE Office of Science User Facility, nearing completion at Brookhaven Lab. The new five-year grant—an estimated $17.5 M from DOE’s Office of Science, and $15.6 M from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences—will create the Life Science and Biomedical Technology Research Resource (LSBR) to operate these new stations at NSLS-II and to develop new and improved technologies that will enable researchers to address challenging biological questions more effectively.

    The new light source—an electron storage ring that produces intense beams of x rays and other forms of light for studies across a wide array of sciences—is set to open in late 2014, replacing its predecessor, NSLS, which is shutting down at the end of September. Compared to the older facility, which has been one of the most productive scientific facilities in the world, NSLS-II will produce light beams that are 10,000 times brighter. Like NSLS, NSLS-II will serve researchers from academia, industry, other National Labs, and Brookhaven Lab.

    “With the enhanced capabilities of NSLS-II, researchers will be able to look at smaller specimens of bigger biomolecular complexes and to learn more about them,” said Brookhaven’s Robert Sweet, the Principal Investigator of the new grant. He will manage the LSBR along with Sean McSweeney, who recently joined the Lab to serve as Photon Science Associate Division Director for Structural Biology and LSBR Director.

    “Over the course of its thirty years of operation, NSLS served as a resource for thousands of scientists studying the structure and properties of matter,” Sweet said. “Roughly 40 percent of those scientists have studied life science in some form, with many making x-ray diffraction measurements on crystals of proteins, nucleic acids, viruses, and other substances critical to understanding life. We expect that the same will be true at NSLS-II, and designed these new powerful experimental stations specifically to meet these needs.”

    LSBR will operate the three new NSLS-II beamlines—two for macromolecular crystallography and one for general x-ray scattering studies, plus smaller programs in macromolecular crystallography correlated with optical spectroscopy, and x-ray fluorescence imaging. Between now and 2016 the staff of LSBR, numbering about twelve scientists and ten software specialists, engineers, and technical staff, will finish NSLS operations, help build and commission the new facilities, and then operate them for an extensive user program and for internal research.

    The team also plans to foster collaboration among multiple complementary disciplines in an environment where staff scientists and their instruments will share office space, labs, and computational facilities.

    “In effect, we are creating a Biology Village,” said Sweet.

    McSweeney is already expanding on this idea. “We plan interaction with other biology researchers at Brookhaven and beyond,” he said. “For example, we will enable studies of plants in their environment, allowing us to follow individual organisms over a wide range of scales with methods including electron microscopy, positron emission tomography, and bioinformatics, to track the appearance, disappearance, and flow of metabolites in the organism. We have a new $4M pilot project funded by the DOE Office of Science (BER) to develop new capabilities for this research.

    “The combined investments of DOE and NIH will provide firstly a world-leading synchrotron light source of unparalleled brightness and secondly the suite of tools to exploit this opportunity. Synergistic instrumentation developments will, we expect, lead to great opportunities for new biological science.”

    The new NIH grant described in this press release was awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number P41 GM111244-01. The DOE Office of Science project number is PAR-10-225. NSLS-II was constructed and its overall operation will be funded by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here.

    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 4:03 pm on September 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II   

    From BNL: “Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II Approved to Start Routine Operations” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved the start of routine operations at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory, beginning a period of significant transition in project activities from construction and commissioning to operations. Passing this milestone comes after many years of diligent planning, design, and construction by staff within the Lab’s Photon Sciences Directorate along with staff from many other Brookhaven Lab organizations, and will lead to an exciting new chapter of synchrotron science.

    II
    NSLS-II at Brookhaven

    NSLS-II, a third-generation synchrotron light source, will be the newest and most advanced synchrotron facility in the world when it comes online later this year. As a DOE Office of Science User Facility, it will offer researchers from academia, industry, and national laboratories new ways to study material properties and functions with nanoscale resolution and exquisite sensitivity by providing state-of-the-art capabilities for x-ray imaging and high-resolution energy analysis.

    “I look forward to the exciting science and benefits that NSLS-II will deliver to the U.S. Department of Energy and the nation,” said Steve Dierker, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences at Brookhaven Lab.

    On September 22, after an Accelerator Readiness Review (ARR) team comprised of recognized experts in accelerator safety and operations from peer institutions completed an extensive review, DOE approved Brookhaven Lab’s request to begin routine operations, an important milestone on the pathway to full scientific productivity.

    In a letter to Dierker, David Freeman of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the ARR team lead, said, “The ARR Team believes that the facility, documentation, and personnel are in place and ready to transition into routine operations in a safe and environmentally acceptable manner.”

    Congratulations streamed in as the momentous news was shared with the Lab and the larger scientific community.

    “It has been a long and challenging road, but one which you and the larger team have navigated very successfully,” said Brookhaven National Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs in a note to Dierker. “On behalf of the Lab, thank you for your unwavering commitment and effort. There is much remaining to do, both to complete the project and start a world-class science program. It is a very exciting and important time for the Lab.”

    The next steps for NSLS-II project staff include completing commissioning activities, continuing assembly of the first set of experimental stations (beamlines), and the official opening of NSLS-II for scientific research, expected to occur later this year.

    NSLS-II will support the Department of Energy’s scientific mission by providing the most advanced tools for discovery-class science in condensed matter and materials science, physics, chemistry, and biology—science that ultimately will enhance national and energy security and help drive abundant, safe, and clean energy technologies.

    See the full article here.

    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 1:18 pm on September 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II   

    From BNL: “New NIH/DOE Grant for Life Science Studies at NSLS-II” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    September 23, 2014
    Contacts: Karen McNulty Walsh, (631) 344-8350 or Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174

    Funding will support operation of three powerful experimental stations designed to reveal detailed structures of proteins, viruses, and more

    Much of our understanding of how living things function comes from knowledge of structures—atomic details of enzymes that catalyze the processes of life, the receptors that are docking stations for viruses and messenger chemicals, and the nucleic acids DNA and RNA that carry genetic blueprints for building cellular machinery, to name a few. To give scientists unprecedented access to these structural details, a new grant just awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will fund the operation of a suite of powerful experimental tools at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    “With the enhanced capabilities of NSLS-II, researchers will be able to look at smaller specimens of bigger biomolecular complexes and to learn more about them.”— Robert Sweet

    BNL NSLS II Photo
    BNL NSLS Interior
    NSLS-II at BNL

    The tools, being built with a previous award to Brookhaven Lab of $45 million (M) from NIH in 2010, are being installed at three beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), the nation’s newest and most advanced state-of-the-art synchrotron research facility and a DOE Office of Science User Facility, nearing completion at Brookhaven Lab. The new five-year grant—an estimated $17.5 M from DOE’s Office of Science, and $15.6 M from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences—will create the Life Science and Biomedical Technology Research Resource (LSBR) to operate these new stations at NSLS-II and to develop new and improved technologies that will enable researchers to address challenging biological questions more effectively.

    The new light source—an electron storage ring that produces intense beams of x rays and other forms of light for studies across a wide array of sciences—is set to open in late 2014, replacing its predecessor, NSLS, which is shutting down at the end of September. Compared to the older facility, which has been one of the most productive scientific facilities in the world, NSLS-II will produce light beams that are 10,000 times brighter. Like NSLS, NSLS-II will serve researchers from academia, industry, other National Labs, and Brookhaven Lab.

    “With the enhanced capabilities of NSLS-II, researchers will be able to look at smaller specimens of bigger biomolecular complexes and to learn more about them,” said Brookhaven’s Robert Sweet, the Principal Investigator of the new grant. He will manage the along with Sean McSweeney, who recently joined the Lab to serve as Photon Science Associate Division Director for Structural Biology and LSBR Director.

    “Over the course of its thirty years of operation, NSLS served as a resource for thousands of scientists studying the structure and properties of matter,” Sweet said. “Roughly 40 percent of those scientists have studied life science in some form, with many making x-ray diffraction measurements on crystals of proteins, nucleic acids, viruses, and other substances critical to understanding life. We expect that the same will be true at NSLS-II, and designed these new powerful experimental stations specifically to meet these needs.”

    LSBR will operate the three new NSLS-II beamlines—two for macromolecular crystallography and one for general x-ray scattering studies, plus smaller programs in macromolecular crystallography correlated with optical spectroscopy, and x-ray fluorescence imaging. Between now and 2016 the staff of LSBR, numbering about twelve scientists and ten software specialists, engineers, and technical staff, will finish NSLS operations, help build and commission the new facilities, and then operate them for an extensive user program and for internal research.

    The team also plans to foster collaboration among multiple complementary disciplines in an environment where staff scientists and their instruments will share office space, labs, and computational facilities.

    “In effect, we are creating a Biology Village,” said Sweet.

    McSweeney is already expanding on this idea. “We plan interaction with other biology researchers at Brookhaven and beyond,” he said. “For example, we will enable studies of plants in their environment, allowing us to follow individual organisms over a wide range of scales with methods including electron microscopy, positron emission tomography, and bioinformatics, to track the appearance, disappearance, and flow of metabolites in the organism. We have a new $4M pilot project funded by the DOE Office of Science (BER) to develop new capabilities for this research.

    “The combined investments of DOE and NIH will provide firstly a world-leading synchrotron light source of unparalleled brightness and secondly the suite of tools to exploit this opportunity. Synergistic instrumentation developments will, we expect, lead to great opportunities for new biological science.”

    See the full article here.

    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on July 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II,   

    From Brookhaven Lab: “NSLS-II Reaches 25 Milliamps of Current with New Superconducting RF Cavity” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 9, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte

    In the early evening of July 2, 2014, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory reached 25 milliamps of current at 3 GeV (3 billion electron volts) using a new superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) cavity.

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    NSLS II campus

    The milestone was reached “thanks to enormous efforts by everybody in the last two months,” according to Accelerator Division Director Ferdinand Willeke in the Photon Sciences Directorate.

    The accelerator commissioning team achieved this significant milestone by completing several major tasks, which included installing a superconducting RF cavity in the storage ring and making it serviceable by operating a new cryogenic plant.

    In addition, the team installed several other important components, including two in-vacuum undulators in the storage ring; collimators mounted on the ratchet wall; and personal protection systems at beamline front-ends, where x-rays will exit the ring and enter the beam lines.

    25
    25 milliamps of current at 3GeV Just before 5:30 p.m. on July 2, 2014, the storage ring at the National Synchrotron Light Source II — outfitted with new a superconducting radio-frequency cavity — held 25 milliamps of current at 3GeV, a major milestone in the commissioning of the state-of-the-art facility.

    Radio-frequency (RF) group leader Jim Rose added, “With the help of the riggers and the support of the vacuum and cryogenics group, we installed the cavity into the NSLS-II tunnel. Then we cooled it down to 4.5 degrees Kelvin, where it becomes superconducting. After conditioning the cavity to 1.2 megavolts, we turned it over to operations, and the accelerator physicists quickly achieved the 25-milliamp objective of this commissioning run.”

    Advanced Energy Systems in Medford, NY, built the SRF cavity, their first of two superconducting cavities for NSLS-II.

    The second cavity and other hardware are still to be installed before the accelerator reaches full design current of 500 milliamps, according to deputy division director Timur Shaftan.

    “The intensity will come up little by little over the next few years,” Shaftan said. The next step is commissioning of insertion devices and front-ends, he said.

    When completed, NSLS-II will be a state-of-the-art, medium-energy electron storage ring that produces x-rays up to 10,000 times brighter than the original NSLS, which started operating at Brookhaven National Lab in 1982 and is shutting down at the end of September 2014.

    NSLS-II construction began in 2009, with a $912-million budget from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Construction has passed through distinct phases, starting with conventional construction of the ring building and laboratory-office buildings, and later installation of the accelerator and beamlines. Back in April 2014, accelerator physicists and operators achieved 25 milliamps of current at 3 GeV in the storage ring using a non-superconducting cavity. The final NSLS-II design calls for SRF cavities, however, and so the current milestone was key to final commissioning of the storage ring.

    Progress on the facility continues, with an initial suite of beamlines for early science expected to be commissioned in the coming months.

    DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:45 pm on June 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II, ,   

    From Brookhaven LAB: “Scientists Reveal Details of Calcium ‘Safety-Valve’ in Cells” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    Structure of membrane protein that plays a role in signaling cell death could be new target for anticancer drugs

    June 6, 2014
    Karen McNulty Walsh

    Sometimes a cell has to die—when it’s done with its job or inflicted with injury that could otherwise harm an organism. Conversely, cells that refuse to die when expected can lead to cancer. So scientists interested in fighting cancer have been keenly interested in learning the details of “programmed cell death.” They want to understand what happens when this process goes awry and identify new targets for anticancer drugs.

    The details of one such target have just been identified by a group of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, New York University, Baylor College of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, and the New York Structural Biology Center. The group, known as the New York Consortium on Membrane Protein Structure (NYCOMPS), used x-rays at Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) to decipher the atomic level structure of a protein that regulates the level of calcium in cells. The work is described as a research article published in Science June 6, 2014.

    “The accumulation of calcium is a key signaling agent that can trigger programmed cell death, or apoptosis,” explained Wayne Hendrickson of Columbia and Brookhaven, and the director of NYCOMPS as well as a senior author on the paper. “Our study reveals how this protein, embedded in a cellular membrane structure called the endoplasmic reticulum, serves as a molecular safety valve for keeping calcium levels steady. Designing drugs that inhibit this protein would promote cell death, which could be a promising strategy for fighting cancers in which such proteins are overexpressed.”

    cal
    A calcium-leak channel prevents calcium overload in cellular organelles for protection of life. Viewing from within the membrane, the structure is shown as ribbons for the closed-conformation. The di-aspartyl pH-sensor unit and the arginine/aspartate lock are shown as sticks covered by electron densities in magenta.

    3-D Model for Rational Drug Design

    The protein that the scientists studied is a prokaryotic homolog of human “Transmembrane Bax Inhibitor Motif” (TMBIM) proteins, which come in six varieties. TMBIM6 is overexpressed in various cancers—including prostate, breast, glioma, uterine, ovarian, and lung.

    “Our work using the prokaryotic version of this protein has enabled us to construct a three-dimensional model that can be used as a basis for the rational design of possible inhibitor molecules,” said Qun Liu, a scientist at NSLS and NYCOMPS and the lead author on the paper.

    The atomic-level structures were determined using x-ray crystallography at NSLS beamlines X4A and X4C. Interactions of x-rays with the 3-D lattices of the protein molecules produce diffraction patterns from which the 3-D molecular images were derived. The images reveal a novel structure consisting of a centralized helix wrapped by two novel triple-helix sandwiches that traverse the membrane. The central portion can take on an open or closed conformation dependent on the acidity level, or pH. At physiological pH, open and closed conformations exist in equilibrium, maintaining a steady of state of calcium in the cell by allowing gradual leakage of calcium across the membrane through a transient transmembrane pore.

    “This leak is intrinsic to all kinds of cells and is cytoprotective for life, similar to a pressure safety value used in a standard steam boiler for safety assurance,” said Liu.

    The studies reveal in detail how the TMBIM protein senses and responds to changes in acidity to precisely regulate the mechanism.

    “The next step will be to solve crystal structures of the human TMBIM proteins to refine the design of possible inhibitor drugs,” said Liu.

    That work will take place at a new light source nearing completion at Brookhaven known as NSLS-II. That facility, set to start early experiments later this year, will be 10,000 times brighter than NSLS, making it particularly suitable for studies of membrane proteins, which are difficult to crystallize.

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    Brookhaven NSLS II

    The New York Structural Biology Center is working in partnership with Photon Sciences at Brookhaven to build a microdiffraction beamline, called NYX, for advanced studies of biological molecules at NSLS-II.

    This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant GM095315 and GM107462. The NSLS at Brookhaven Lab is a DOE Office of Science user facility, with beamlines X4A and X4C supported by the New York Structural Biology Center.

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 2:04 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Brookhaven NSLS II, , , ,   

    From Brookhaven Lab: “News Flash: NSLS-II Stores 25 Milliamps of Current” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    April 30, 2014
    Mona S. Rowe

    Early on April 29, 2014, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory stored 25 milliamps (mA) of current at 3 billion electron volts using a room-temperature radio-frequency (RF) cavity. This achievement is a key performance milestone and comes more than nine weeks ahead of schedule for the NSLS-II construction project. The project team is now planning to push ahead with installation of the superconducting RF cavity and additional insertion devices.

    25
    Graph of NSLS-II storage-ring beam current (blue) peaking repeatedly at 25 mA between 4 and 9 a.m. on April 29, 2014

    “This achievement was made possible by the hard work of our staff, the Laboratory, the Department of Energy, and our many colleagues who have helped to shepherd the project to this milestone,” said Steve Dierker, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences. “Together we are looking forward to completion of the project and an exciting science program for our user community.”

    When completed, NSLS-II will be a state-of-the-art, medium-energy electron storage ring that produces x-rays up to 10,000 times brighter than the original NSLS, which started operating at Brookhaven Lab in 1982 and is shutting down at the end of September 2014.

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    NSLS-II

    NSLS-II construction began in 2009, with a $912-million budget from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Construction has passed through distinct phases, starting with conventional construction of the ring building and laboratory-office buildings; installation of the accelerator and beamlines; now commissioning of the injection system, which consists of a linear accelerator, the booster, transport lines and a storage ring (see earlier article on storage-ring commissioning); followed by commissioning of an initial suite of beamlines for early science.

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:49 pm on April 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II, ,   

    From Brookhaven Lab: “Disorder on the Nanoscale May Be Responsible for Solar-cell Efficiency” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    April 22, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte

    In the past few years, perovskite solar cells have made large leaps forward in efficiency, recently achieving energy conversion with up to 16 percent efficiency. These simple and promising devices are easy enough to make and are made up of earth abundant materials, but little work has been done to explore their atomic makeup.

    ml
    Methylammonium lead iodide perovskite

    Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University used high-energy x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) to characterize the structure of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) in titanium oxide – the active material in high-performance perovskite solar cells. Their results are reported in a paper published online in Nano Letters on November 22, 2013.

    Brookhaven NSLS
    Brookhaven NSLS

    Photoluminescent properties of these materials are thought to depend sensitively on the degree of structural order and defects. To characterize the structure, the researchers used beamline X17A at NSLS to study samples of the MAPbI3. Atomic pair distribution function analysis of x-ray diffraction data revealed that 30 percent of the material forms a tetragonal perovskite phase, while 70 percent exists in a disordered state. The presence of disordered material correlates with strong changes in the photoluminescence and absorbance spectra.

    This disordered structure has been undetected by conventional x-ray diffraction techniques used in previous studies. “This nanostructure is expected to have a significant impact on the optoelectronic properties and device performance of the perovskites,” said Simon Billinge, coauthor on the paper and a physicist with a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University.

    For example, the absorption of this composite material, made of both ordered and disordered states, is blue shifted by about 50 meV compared to the bulk perovskite crystalline structure. They also found that disordered MAPbI3 is photoluminescent, while the crystalline material is not.

    This new understanding of the structure of these materials will lead to better deposition and processing methods that may increase the performance and efficiency of future solar cells.

    The high-energy x-ray atomic pair distribution function analysis performed in this paper will be applied to a wide range of even more challenging problems at the higher brightness XPD-2 beamline (PDF) at NSLS-II.

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    NSLS-II at Brookhaven Lab

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:32 pm on April 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Brookhaven Lab: “National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves First Stored Electron Beam” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    April 10, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte

    Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory achieved a major milestone in the commissioning of the state-of-the-art National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) on April 5, 2014. For the first time, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences Steve Dierker and his project team were able to store electron beam in the NSLS-II storage ring overnight Friday into Saturday, with an initial beam lifetime of about three hours.

    nslsII
    NSLS-II at Brookhaven Lab

    Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs called it a “significant advance” and said, “Achieving stored beam means the team can now accelerate further optimization of the storage ring. Thanks in particular go to Division Director for Accelerator Systems Ferdinand Willeke for his strong leadership of the design, construction, and commissioning of the NSLS-II accelerator systems.”

    This achievement is the result of more than seven years of planning, design, construction, and commissioning by the Photon Sciences staff.

    More details on the technical aspects of this accomplishment and the next steps will be coming soon.

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on March 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II,   

    From Brookhaven Lab: “Make Way for ABBIX” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    March 26, 2014
    Mona S. Rowe

    Enter the experimental floor of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) and you’ll find an obstacle course. Around and across the half-mile circular floor are hutches jutting out for the NSLS-II “project” beamlines, cage after cage housing workbenches and tools, and parts along the inner and outer perimeters waiting for installation. Now come the three ABBIX beamlines.

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    NSLS II

    “It’s full speed ahead for ABBIX,” said project manager Lonny Berman, physicist with the Photon Sciences Directorate.

    team
    ABBIX team

    ABBIX is an acronym for Advanced Beamlines for Biological Investigations with X-rays. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting the construction of these beamlines with $45 million, supplemented by $3 million from the NSLS-II construction budget, money that came from the Department of Energy (DOE).

    Some recent and projected dates: ABBIX was baselined in April 2013, which set the budget and schedule. The final design report was approved in November 2013. Now is a period of procurement and installation of accelerator and beamline components. According to Berman, early project completion is expected by the end of calendar year 2015, with project closeout scheduled for June 2016.

    ABBIX consists of three beamlines:

    AMX (Flexible Access and Automated Macromolecular Crystallography)
    FMX (Frontier Macromolecular Crystallography)
    LiX (High-brightness X-ray Scattering for Life Sciences)

    Dieter Schneider, beamline group leader for both AMX and FMX, explained that the new crystallography beamlines will provide structural biologists with a pair of uniquely powerful beamlines for the efficient structure determination and functional studies of biomedically important macromolecules ranging in complexity from enzymes to large molecular assemblies with organelle-like functions.

    “Particularly valuable will be FMX’s micron-sized beams for wringing structures from large numbers of even the smallest crystals of membrane proteins, notorious for their fragility and heterogeneity when grown large,” said Schneider. “AMX – with a very high flux, short data collection times of just seconds, and automated specimen handling – will make it easy to measure each crystal in a lot of many crystals to obtain high data quality from relational sorting of redundant experiments.” He added that to better connect an investigator’s crystallization lab with NSLS-II and shorten the biochemistry-to-structure process, AMX and FMX will be able to characterize arrays of crystallization trials by diffraction at room temperature.

    The LiX beamline is designed to be a versatile instrument capable of multiple modes of operations all dedicated to life science applications, according to Lin Yang, group leader for that beamline. He said, “Compared to existing facilities, LiX will allow researchers to study the structures of biological molecules in their near-native environments much more quickly and at improved time resolution. The beamline’s wide energy range also presents unique opportunities to solve novel membrane structures.”

    In addition, Yang noted, researchers can examine the structures of biological tissues using scanning-probe imaging. And although the beamline has to accommodate different types of experiments, “the modular design of the experimental station enables rapid switching between experiments to maximize the utility of the beam time,” said Yang.

    Located at roughly 10 o’clock on the NSLS-II circle, the ABBIX beamlines are clustered in two (out of 30) wedges of the experimental floor and labeled 16-ID and 17-ID. (“ID” stands for insertion device, a special multi-magnet device that is “inserted” into a straight arm of the polygonal NSLS-II synchrotron ring to increase the brilliance of the x-ray beam delivered to the beamline.)

    Construction of the hutches for LiX started in December 2013, with New Jersey-based Global Partners in Shielding (GPS) assembling steel enclosures in which experiments will be done. That work was substantially completed in March 2014. Now, GPS and the French company Caratelli have started building the steel and lead hutches, respectively, for AMX and FMX.

    This activity is taking place along the inside edge of lab-office building 5 (Bldg. 745), where the ABBIX offices are located. Sharing space with the NSLS Macromolecular Crystallography Research Resource, known by the acronym PXRR and supported by NIH and by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and the East Coast Structural Biology Research group, supported by NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the ABBIX project is fully integrated in the structural biology program of NSLS-II that is operating beamlines at NSLS until the end of September 2014, when NSLS will shut down.

    “These two groups, plus ABBIX and members of the staff of the SRX [NSLS-II] project beamline, have teamed up to request further funding in a joint grant from NIH and DOE BER for the future operation of these and other life-science beamlines at NSLS-II,” said Bob Sweet, structural biologist in Photon Sciences. Sweet is principal investigator for PXRR and is leading the effort to win the new NIH/DOE grant. “The three ABBIX beamlines will be the first devoted to life sciences at NSLS-II,” he said, adding that several NSLS-II project beamlines have the capability to do some types of imaging and may host the first life science experiments performed at the new facility in the coming year.

    In the years leading up to NSLS-II construction, NIH evaluated the needs of the life sciences user community, with input from special advisory panels. ABBIX beamlines will address the needs of this community by providing small intense beams to improve sensitivity of crystal structure determination, critical for tiny crystals of proteins that are difficult to crystallize, particularly membrane proteins. And using such small beams, scientists will also gain unique insight into questions about the structure and behavior of macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies in solution, at time scales as short as 10 microseconds.

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:47 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Brookhaven NSLS II, ,   

    From Brookhaven Lab: “Understanding the Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Mammals” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    March 18, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte

    Protein synthesis, the process by which cells generate new proteins, is the most important cellular function, requiring more than 70 percent of the total energy of a cell. The initiation of this process is the most regulated and most critical component, but it is still the least understood.

    protein
    Messenger RNA (in red) latches closed around a pre-initiation complex, and attaches to transfer RNA (in green), beginning a process of protein synthesis specific to eukaryotes — animals, plants, and fungi.

    Research by Ivan Lomakin and Thomas Steitz of Yale University has unlocked the genetic scanning mechanism that begins this crucial piece of cell machinery.

    They determined the structures of three complexes of the ribosome, a complex molecular machine that links together amino acids to form proteins according to an order specified by messenger RNA. These three structures represent distinct steps in protein translation in mammals – the recruitment and scanning of mRNA, the selection of initiator tRNA, and the joining of large and small ribosomal subunits.

    “Any small defect or disruption in the protein synthesis process can cause abnormalities or disease,” said Lomakin. “Understanding this process is critical for understanding how human life comes to be, and how some over-expressions or abnormalities in the initiation of protein synthesis may be connected to cancer or Alzheimer’s or other diseases.”

    Using x-ray crystallography on ribosomal subunits purified from rabbit cells, they were able to determine the positions and roles of the different pieces of cellular machinery, a bit like creating a playbook for a football game. They found that the tRNA and mRNA compete for position at the P site – one of three key sites on a ribosome – where short chains of amino acids are linked to form proteins.

    “Now, we have a low resolution structure, so we can’t yet talk about atomic details of the mechanism,” said Lomakin. “The next important step is to get higher resolution images. And we can change organisms to see if they behave differently, so we’re working on the structure of human ribosome initiation complexes, too.”

    For this higher resolution, Lomakin and his collaborators will use the National Synchrotron Light Source II, a new state-of-the-art light source that will begin early science at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2014. “Our hope is to be able to look at very weak diffraction to get higher resolution structures of these important cellular mechanisms.”

    Brookhaven NSLS II Photo
    NSLS-II at Brookhaven Lab

    See the full article here.

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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