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  • richardmitnick 7:36 pm on November 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From BNL: “X-Ray Powder Diffraction Beamline at NSLS-II Takes First Beam and First Data” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    November 26, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte

    On November 6, Eric Dooryhee walked into a crowd of people excitedly talking at the X-ray Powder Diffraction (XPD) beamline beaming an enormous smile. The group broke into applause for the enormous achievement they had gathered to celebrate: the operators had opened a shutter to the electron storage ring of the National Synchrotron Light Source II and captured light for the first time at the XPD beamline. It was the second beamline at NSLS-II to achieve x-ray beam.

    BNL NSLS II Photo
    BNL NSLS Interior
    BNL NSLS II

    team
    The beamline group at XPD during their open house for first light at the beamline. They are led by Eric Dooryhee, the Powder Diffraction Beamline Group Leader, and Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences and NSLS-II Project Director Steve Dierker. Within the beamline hutch behind them stands the specially designed robotic sample changer, which will allow for high through-put data collection at the beamline.

    “This is a big day for all of us,” said Dooryhee, the Powder Diffraction Beamline Group Leader. The list of acknowledgements he made reflected the huge effort of many support groups across the Photon Sciences Directorate and beyond, that made the milestone possible: administration and procurement staff, surveyors, riggers, carpenters, vacuum specialists, mechanical and electrical utilities technicians, equipment protection and personnel safety staff, x-ray optics metrology experts, scientists, designers, and engineers. “We couldn’t have achieved our first light without the commitment and support of many collaborators around the Lab, including work with Peter Siddons and his group, who are developing several state-of-the-art detectors for XPD.”

    The XPD core team includes Sanjit Ghose, beamline scientist in charge of operating XPD and consolidating its research program; Hengzi Wang, mechanical engineer; John Trunk, beamline technician; Andrew DeSantis, mechanical designer; and Wayne Lewis, controls engineer.

    The complexity of this accomplishment came through when Dooryhee talked about the effort put in by Wayne Lewis, the controls engineer for XPD.

    “How many motors, vacuum gauges and sensors did you have to take ownership of? Hundreds?” Dooryhee asked. Lewis wryly smiled and responded, “Yeah, a few.”

    It was Lewis who ultimately opened the shutter, allowing the white x-ray beam for the first time to travel through a diamond window and several other components until it was purposely intercepted by a beam stop. Both the window and the beamstop emitted a bright fluorescent light once struck by the x-rays, and the x-ray footprint at several locations down the beam pipe could thus be imaged and shown on large screens to everyone present.

    Eventually, once commissioning starts, a monochromator will select one part of the white beam at a particular color (or wavelength). This one-color (monochromatic) x-ray beam will go past the white beam stop and will be reflected off a four-and-a-half-foot long mirror and over to the sample.

    “As we open the shutter, the beam is spot on,” said Dooryhee. “We find the beam is very stable, and we are extremely happy with these start-up conditions, thanks to the work accomplished by the Accelerator Division. This concludes 5 years of preparation and installation, and now is the beginning of a new phase for us. We have to commission the entire beamline with the x-rays on, get beam safely into the experimental station, and transition to science as soon as we can.”

    Part of this “open house” celebration at XPD was a demonstration of the 250-pound robotic sample changer, which will operate within the lead-lined hutch while the x-ray beam is on. This robot will be able to perform unmanned and repetitive collection of data on a variety of sample holders in a reliable, reproducible and fast way. XPD is designed with high throughput efficiency in mind.

    The robot will also enable landmark experiments of radioactive samples, like those proposed by Lynne Ecker of Brookhaven’s Nuclear Science and Technology Department. Ecker was awarded $980,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program that will enable cross-cutting research at XPD and will fundamentally improve the safety and performance of nuclear reactors.

    “BNL is a truly outstanding environment and our chance with NSLS-II is to interact with very high-level scientific collaborators across the Laboratory, that will enable XPD to host premier work from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the Nuclear Energy group, Chemistry, and Physics,” said Dooryhee. “And XPD is also planning to accommodate a part of the high-pressure program at NSLS-II that includes a large volume press and diamond-anvil cells that were previously in use at NSLS, in collaboration with the COMPRES consortium and Stony Brook University.”

    The XPD beamline research will focus on studies of catalysts, batteries, and other functional and technological materials under the conditions of synthesis and operation, and Dooryhee is optimistic about the science to come. He is also excited about the intersection of XPD’s scientific program with Brookhaven’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. “Young, active, committed scientists will have access to our beamline, and will help us develop new capabilities. Current LDRD-XPD partnerships have already led to the invention of a novel slit system for probing the sample with x-rays at well controlled locations and are helping develop a new method called “Modulation Enhanced Diffraction.”

    d
    NSLS-II diffraction image

    Just before publication of this feature, Dooryhee reported that the XPD team managed to condition and focus the x-ray monochromatic beam after only three weeks of commissioning. Shown here is the first diffraction image from NSLS-II:

    The very first scientific sample run on XPD is a new material system, “TaSe2-xSx ” — Sulfur-doped Tantalum Selenide — that is being studied by Cedomir Petrovic in the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Sciences department at Brookhaven.

    At low temperature, electrons in both the pure TaSe2 and TaS2 compounds spontaneously form into charge density waves (CDWs), like ripples on the surface of a pond, but characteristics of the waves (such as the wavelength) are different. The question is, when you vary composition smoothly from one end of the series to the other end (meaning vary x in TaSe2-xSx), how do the waves cross over from one to the other? The surprise is that in between the waves disappear and are replaced by superconductivity – the ability of the material to conduct electricity with no resistance.

    “It is like mixing red paint and white paint, and instead of getting pink you get blue after mixing,” said professor Simon Billinge, joint appointee with Brookhaven and Columbia University, who has been the spokesperson and the chair of the beamline advisory team for the XPD beamline since the inception of the project. “The data from XPD provides crucial information about how the atomic structure varies with composition which is used to understand the delicate interplay of CDW and superconducting behavior in these materials.”

    “As well as being interesting in their own right, these studies at XPD are important to understand the phenomenon of unconventional high-temperature superconductivity, currently our best hope for technological devices for low loss power transmission, where a similar interplay of CDW and superconductivity is seen,” added Dooryhee.

    See the full article here.

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    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 1:52 pm on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Brookhaven NSLS II, , ,   

    From FNAL: “Multilaboratory collaboration brings new X-ray detector to light” 


    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
    Troy Rummler

    A collaboration blending research in DOE’s offices of High-Energy Physics (HEP) with Basic Energy Sciences (BES) will yield a one-of-a-kind X-ray detector. The device boasts Brookhaven Lab sensors mounted on Fermilab integrated circuits linked to Argonne Lab data acquisition systems. It will be used at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II and Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source. Lead scientists Peter Siddons, Grzegorz Deptuch and Robert Bradford represent the three laboratories.

    BNL NSLS II PhotoBNL NSLS-II Interior
    BNL NSLS II

    ANL APS
    ANL APS interior
    ANL APS

    “This partnership between HEP and BES has been a fruitful collaboration, advancing detector technology for both fields,” said Brookhaven’s Peter Siddons.

    team
    These researchers work on the VIPIC prototype. Peter Siddons of Brookhaven National Laboratory (fifth from the left), Grzegroz Deptuch of Fermilab (third from the right) and Robert Bradford of Argonne National Laboratory (far right) lead the effort. Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

    This detector is filling a need in the X-ray correlation spectroscopy (XCS) community, which has been longing for a detector that can capture dynamic processes in samples with microsecond timing and nanoscale sensitivity. Available detectors have been designed largely for X-ray diffraction crystallography and are incapable of performing on this time scale.

    det
    The 64-by-64 pixel VIPIC prototype, pictured with a sensor on the bottom and solder bump-bonding bump on top, ready to be received on the printed circuit board. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    In 2006, Fermilab’s Ray Yarema began investigating 3-D integrated chip technology, which increases circuit density, performance and functionality by vertically stacking rather than laterally arranging silicon wafers. Then in 2008 Deptuch, a member of Yarema’s group and Fermilab ASIC [Application Specific Integrated Circuit] Group leader since 2011, met with Siddons, a scientist at Brookhaven, at a medical imaging conference. They discussed applying 3-D technology to a new, custom detector project, which was later given the name VIPIC (vertically integrated photon imaging chip). Siddons was intrigued by the 3-D opportunities and has since taken the lead on leveraging Fermilab expertise toward the longstanding XCS problem. As a result, the development of the device at Fermilab — where 97 percent of research funds come through HEP — receives BES funding.

    A 64-by-64-pixel VIPIC prototype tested at Argonne this summer flaunted three essential properties: timing resolution within one microsecond; continuous new-data acquisition with simultaneous old-data read-out; and selective transmission of only pixels containing data.

    The results achieved with the prototype have attracted attention from the scientific community.

    Deptuch noted that this partnership between BES and HEP reflects the collaborative nature of such efforts at the national labs.

    “It truly is a cooperative effort, combining the expertise from three national laboratories toward one specific goal,” he said.

    The team will grow their first VIPIC prototype tiled, seamless array of chips on a sensor to form a 1-megapixel detector. The collaboration is targeting a completion date of 2017 for the basic functionality detector. Ideas for expanded capabilities are being discussed for the future.

    See the full article here.

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    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 7:38 pm on October 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From BNL: “National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves ‘First Light'” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 23, 2014
    Chelsea Whyte, (631) 344-8671 or Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174

    The National Synchrotron Light Source II detects its first photons, beginning a new phase of the facility’s operations. Scientific experiments at NSLS-II are expected to begin before the end of the year.

    crowd
    A crowd gathered on the experimental floor of the National Synchrotron Light Source II to witness “first light,” when the x-ray beam entered a beamline for the first time at the facility.

    The brightest synchrotron light source in the world has delivered its first x-ray beams. The National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory achieved “first light” on October 23, 2014, when operators opened the shutter to begin commissioning the first experimental station (called a beamline), allowing powerful x-rays to travel to a phosphor detector and capture the facility’s first photons. While considerable work remains to realize the full potential of the new facility, first light counts as an important step on the road to facility commissioning.

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

    “This is a significant milestone for Brookhaven Lab, for the Department of Energy, and for the nation,” said Harriet Kung, DOE Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy Sciences. “The National Synchrotron Light Source II will foster new discoveries and create breakthroughs in crucial areas of national need, including energy security and the environment. This new U.S. user facility will advance the Department’s mission and play a leadership role in enabling and producing high-impact research for many years to come.”

    At 10:32 a.m. on October 23, a crowd of scientists, engineers, and technicians gathered around the Coherent Soft X-ray Scattering (CSX) beamline at NSLS-II, expectantly watching the video feed from inside a lead-lined hutch where the x-ray beam eventually struck the detector. As the x-rays hit the detector, cheers and applause rang out across the experimental hall for a milestone many years in the making.

    team
    The team of scientists, engineers, and technicians at the Coherent Soft X-ray Scattering (CSX) beamline gathered around the control station to watch as group leader Stuart Wilkins (seated, front) opened the shutter between the beamline and the storage ring, allowing x-rays to enter the first optical enclosure for the first time.

    “This achievement begins an exciting new chapter of synchrotron science at Brookhaven, building on the remarkable legacy of NSLS, and leading us in new directions we could not have imagined before,” said Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs. “It’s a great illustration of the ways that national labs continually evolve and grow to meet national needs, and it’s a wonderful time for all of us. Everyone at the Lab, in every role, supports our science, so we can all share in the sense of excitement and take pride in this accomplishment.”

    beam
    NSLS-II first x-rays
    Inside the beamline enclosure, a phosphor detector (the rectangle at right) captured the first x-rays (in white) which hit the mark dead center.

    In the heart of the 590,000 square foot facility, an electron gun emits packets of the negatively charged particles, which travel down a linear accelerator into a booster ring. There, the electrons are brought to nearly the speed of light, and then steered into the storage ring, where powerful magnets guide the beam on a half-mile circuit around the NSLS-II storage ring. As the electrons travel around the ring, they emit extremely intense x-rays, which are delivered and guided down beamlines into experimental end stations where scientists will carry out experiments for scientific research and discovery. NSLS-II accelerator operators have previously stored beam in the storage ring, but they hadn’t yet opened the shutters to allow x-ray light to reach a detector until today’s celebrated achievement.

    “We have been eagerly anticipating this culmination of nearly a decade of design, construction, and testing and the sustained effort and dedication of hundreds of individuals who made it possible,” said Steve Dierker, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences. ‘We have more work to do, but soon researchers from around the world will start using NSLS-II to advance their research on everything from new energy storage materials to developing new drugs to fight disease. I’m very much looking forward to the discoveries that NSLS-II will enable, and to the continuing legacy of groundbreaking synchrotron research at Brookhaven.”

    NSLS-II, a third-generation synchrotron light source, will be the newest and most advanced synchrotron facility in the world, enabling research not possible anywhere else. 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, scattering, and spectroscopy.

    Currently 30 beamlines are under development to take advantage of the high brightness of the x-rays at NSLS-II. Commissioning of the first group of seven beamlines will begin in the coming months, with first experiments beginning at the CSX beamline before the end of 2014.

    At the NSLS-II beamlines, scientists will be able to generate images of the structure of materials such as lithium-ion batteries or biological proteins at the nanoscale level—research expected to advance many fields of science and impact people’s quality of life in the years to come.

    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.

    Media Contacts:
    Karen McNulty Walsh, 631 344-8350 or kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    Chelsea Whyte, 631 344-8671 or cwhyte@bnl.gov

    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 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
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    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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