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  • richardmitnick 11:23 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LCLS, , ,   

    From SLAC: “New Program Broadens the Reach of LCLS Crystallography Experiments” 

    July 17, 2013
    Glenn Roberts Jr

    “A new screening program will allow researchers to quickly confirm whether precious biological samples yield useful information when struck by the intense X-ray pulses at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS).

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    Marc Messerschmidt, a staff scientist who leads the Protein Crystal Screening Program at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, works at the Coherent X-ray Imaging (CXI) experimental station. (Matt Beardsley)

    The Protein Crystal Screening Program opens up multiple 6-hour shifts at LCLS to both newcomers and returnees. It has two goals: to broaden access to LCLS and to improve the success and productivity of X-ray crystallography experiments during regular runs of more extended experiments, which are in such high demand that fewer than one in four proposals can be accepted.

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    Tiny crystallized protein samples are streamed across X-ray laser pulses and the diffracted light patterns are recorded by a high-resolution detector, at bottom, in this illustration of a crystallography experiment at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser. (Greg Stewart)

    Twenty-eight crystal screening slots are already scheduled for October 2013 through March 2014, and new proposals are now being sought for a batch of 20 screening shifts for the next LCLS run, which begins in April 2014. The deadline for those proposals is Oct. 22.

    ‘This screening is potentially giving you an edge in telling you how to focus your time and effort to get the most out of an experiment,’ said SLAC’s Marc Messerschmidt, an LCLS staff scientist who leads the upstart program.”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.

    SLAC Campus


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  • richardmitnick 9:51 am on April 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From SLAC: “Sharper Images for Extreme LCLS Experiments” 

    April 17, 2013
    Glenn Roberts Jr.

    “An imaging technique conceived 50 years ago has been successfully demonstrated at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, where it is expected to improve results in a range of experiments, including studies of extreme states of matter formed by shock waves.

    syn
    The Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) station at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source. (Credit: Matt Beardsley)

    The method, called ptychography (tie-KAW-grah-fee), was originally developed to capture data that was otherwise missing or difficult to collect in crystallography experiments, in which X-ray light scatters off crystallized samples to form diffraction patterns that reveal the sample’s structure.

    In recent years, ptychography has been rediscovered as a powerful tool for measuring the properties of X-ray beams and understanding imperfections in the focusing tools at synchrotrons and other X-ray research facilities, allowing scientists to better interpret and refine their data.

    In experiments last year at the LCLS, researchers used ptychography to sharpen images made with the Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument, which specializes in transforming materials into ultrahot, ultradense states.

    ‘For imaging it’s very important,’ said Andreas Schropp, a visiting physicist who was the lead author of a paper focusing on the LCLS experiment, published April 9 in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports. ‘Without it, you are not able to separate the properties of the X-ray pulses from the real features you have in the sample.'”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 9:59 am on March 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From SLAC Lab: “Breakthrough Research Shows Chemical Reaction in Real Time” 

    March 14, 2013
    No Writer Credit

    “The ultrafast, ultrabright X-ray pulses of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) have enabled unprecedented views of a catalyst in action, an important step in the effort to develop cleaner and more efficient energy sources.

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    How LCLS views surface chemistry (Credit: Hirohito Ogasawara / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used LCLS, together with computerized simulations, to reveal surprising details of a short-lived early state in a chemical reaction occurring at the surface of a catalyst sample. The study offers important clues about how catalysts work and launches a new era in probing surface chemistry as it happens.

    ‘To study a reaction like this in real time is a chemist’s dream,’ said Anders Nilsson, deputy director for the Stanford and SLAC SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis and a leading author in the research, published March 15 in Science. ‘We are really jumping into the unknown.'”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 10:35 am on March 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From SLAC- “‘Beam Sharing': Two Experiments with One X-ray Laser” 

    March 12, 2013
    Glenn Roberts Jr.

    Blue-glowing diamond crystals hold promise for expanding the research capacity of SLAC’s X-ray laser by divvying up its pulses for use in separate, simultaneous experiments.

    laser
    A superthin diamond glows blue during a beam-sharing experiment at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser. (Credit: SLAC)

    In a Feb. 6 test, scientists used perfect diamond crystals to separate ultrabright X-ray pulses at the Linac Coherent Light Source into groups of ‘colors,’ or wavelengths, for experiments spaced about 250 meters apart.

    This much-anticipated feat – the result of years of work by SLAC scientists – was made possible by key contributions from researchers in three nations. The diamond crystals and their mounting hardware were crafted by the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Russia; taken to Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source for intensive characterization to determine their properties; and tested at SLAC. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany provided samples for one of the simultaneous experiments.

    ‘This is a long-awaited milestone, and all the scientists and institutes involved are to be congratulated on this achievement,’ said Jo Stöhr, LCLS director. ‘Last year, hard X-ray self-seeding provided our users with improved X-ray pulses, and now beam splitting will allow us to serve more users.’

    Although the LCLS has six experimental stations, the fact that it has only one X-ray laser beam has limited it to running only one experiment at a time. Getting time for experiments at LCLS is highly competitive, and only about one in four research proposals can be accepted.

    While more work is required before LCLS can routinely offer beam sharing to scientists who use the facility, the potential to increase the volume of experiments is exciting, said Diling Zhu, an LCLS instrument scientist who has been part of the effort.”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 11:20 am on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , laser, LCLS, ,   

    From SLAC Lab: “An Impressive and Growing Array of Lasers at SLAC” 

    February 27, 2013
    Glenn Roberts Jr.

    In less than a decade, SLAC has built up an impressive array of dozens of laser systems – and a team of laser scientists and engineers – with capabilities that make it one of the most cutting-edge national laboratories under the U.S. Department of Energy.

    laser
    Joe Robinson, a staff scientist, at left, works with Mike Minitti, group leader for LCLS-related lasers, on a laser system to be used in an LCLS experiment. (Credit: Matt Beardsley)

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    Conventional optical lasers require three components: 1) a “pump source,” such as a flashlamp or other laser that provides an energy source; 2) a “lasing medium,” such as a specialized crystal that amplifies light; and 3) an “optical resonator,” which is a cavity with two end mirrors, one an end mirror that is highly reflective and the other an output mirror that partially transmits light, allowing light to circulate within the resonator. [Click thumbnail for full view.] (Laser components description courtesy of Mike Woods/SLAC. Laser diagram courtesy of Lakkasuo/Wikimedia Commons)

    Lighting the way

    SLAC’s newfound laser focus took shape with the 2005 hire of Bill White, a laser expert who had worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and in private enterprise. White was hired to help the lab prepare for the 2009 launch of the Linac Coherent Light Source, a unique X-ray laser with ultrabright, ultrashort pulses that requires more conventional lasers for most experiments.

    The lab’s inventory of 135 high-power optical lasers includes 40 lasers that can be used in LCLS experiments. Another 18 lasers are installed at the LCLS injector, where they produce the beam of electrons that is converted into X-ray pulses.

    There are 25 laser facilities at SLAC, and their laser systems serve in a variety of roles in experiments: aligning molecules in the same direction and orientation, shocking and compressing matter, switching magnetic states and exciting chemical reactions, as examples.

    The lasers often incorporate off-the-shelf commercial components, though SLAC’s specialization in studying ultrafast processes, which can be measured in trillionths to quadrillionths of a second, requires customization, White said.

    SLAC’s laser systems, at their core, represent ‘controlled energy that can interact with matter in countless ways,’ said Alan Fry, deputy director of SLAC’s Laser Science and Technology Division. “They allow us to stimulate very specific changes in materials and to probe and measure those changes with extreme precision.’”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , LCLS, ,   

    From SLAC Lab: “A Growth Spurt for X-ray Lasers” 

    January 17, 2013
    Glenn Roberts Jr.

    Four years after SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source opened, blazing new trails in studying ultrafast processes at the scale of atoms and molecules, the field of X-ray laser science is exploding. More than a dozen X-ray free-electron lasers, or XFELs, are now under construction or planned across the globe.

    lcls
    Aerial photo of SLAC’s linac, with diagram of LCLS-II layout.

    SLAC Campus
    SLAC Campus

    Free-electron lasers, which were developed by Stanford University researchers in the 1970s, use bunches of electrons accelerated to nearly light speed to generate laser beams. They have the advantage of being highly tunable, so they can produce laser light in a wide range of wavelengths. And when tuned to produce X-rays, they are the brightest sources of X-ray light on the planet.

    XFELs have opened a new frontier in scientific exploration, allowing scientists to capture details of chemical reactions and other processes that transpire in millionths of billionths of a second. These studies have already achieved important milestones in determining protein structures, identifying the fundamental chemical processes at work in photosynthesis and unraveling mysteries in ‘superhot’ plasmas.”

    See the full article here.

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 1:20 pm on January 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , LCLS, ,   

    From SLAC News Center: “LCLS Teams Up with DESY on Shortest X-ray Exposure of a Protein Crystal Ever” 

    January 4, 2012
    from Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

    “An international research team headed by DESY scientists from the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg, Germany, has recorded the shortest X-ray exposure of a protein crystal ever achieved. The incredible brief exposure time of 30 femtoseconds (0.000 000 000 000 03 seconds) opens up new possibilities for imaging molecular processes with X-rays.

    This is of particular interest to biologists, but can be employed in many fields, explain lead authors Dr. Anton Barty and Prof. Henry Chapman from the German accelerator centre Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY. CFEL is a joint venture of DESY, the Max Planck Society and the University of Hamburg.

    From X-ray diffraction the molecular structure of proteins can be determined. The shorter the X-ray pulse and the higher its intensity, the better the structural information gained. With the free-electron laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the research team fired the most intense X-ray beam at a protein crystal to date: The tiny crystal was bombarded with a whamming 100,000 trillion watts per square centimeter – sunlight for comparison comes in at a mere 0.1 watts per square centimeter on average.

    ‘This way we get the most information out of the smallest crystals’, Chapman explains. Having small crystals is important, as especially many biological substances aren’t easily crystallized.

    cr
    The molecular structure of proteins is inferred by measurements of patterns of X-rays scattered from crystals formed from those proteins. The regular array of molecules in the crystal gives rise to strong peaks needed for measurement, shown here as balls in a three-dimensional space.

    Image courtesy Thomas White, CEFL/DESY

    Full announcement posted Dec. 19, 2011, on DESY website.”

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science. i1

     
  • richardmitnick 3:03 pm on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LCLS, , , ,   

    From SLAC News Center: “Fifth X-ray Instrument at LCLS Debuts, With a Bead on Disorderly Structures” 

    December 13, 2011
    Glennda Chui

    “After five night shifts of shooting pairs of X-ray pulses through soups of fine sand and gold, Aymeric Robert was tired but exhilarated. The first experiment with an instrument he helped bring into being – the X-ray Correlation Spectroscopy (XCS) instrument at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source – had just ended, launching a new tool for understanding liquids, glasses and other less-than-orderly substances.

    “I think it went great – but gosh, it was challenging,” said Robert, who as instrument scientist for the XCS had spent more than five years overseeing its design, construction, commissioning and operation. “This is going to open up new classes of experiments, once it’s up and running and well understood. But these experiments are extremely challenging.”

    The XCS is the fifth of six planned instruments to open for business at the LCLS, and like its predecessors, it has a highly specialized niche: Revealing changes over time, technically known as dynamics, in materials such as glasses, gels and polymers that lack a regular atomic structure. Understanding those changes on an atomic level will help researchers create new materials with better properties for a wide variety of uses.

    The principle behind the XCS is called Photon Correlation Spectroscopy, and it works like this:…” O.K., that’s enough of a stimulus, Please see the full article here.

    i1
    The team that conducted the first experiment on the X-ray Correlation Spectroscopy instrument at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source. Front row (L-R): Aymeric Robert, Gerhard Grübel and Paul Fuoss. Back row: Ingo Steinke, Birgit Fischer, Leonard Müller, Wojciech Roseker, Heiko Conrad and Marcin Sikorski. Not pictured: Sooheyong Lee, Felix Lehmkühler, Brian Stephenson and Michael Walther.
    Photo by Kelen Tuttle

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science. i1

     
  • richardmitnick 3:23 pm on December 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , LCLS, ,   

    From SLAC Today: “New Kicker Magnet Marks Major Step in Developing Test Facility” 

    December 1, 2011
    Lori Ann White

    “A new magnet in the Beam Switch Yard will “kick” some of the electrons originally destined for the Linac Coherent Light Source toward End Station A, where they’ll be used for experiments at a new test facility – the End Station A Test Beam, or ESTB.

    Carsten Hast, head of the Test Facilities Department, said ESTB will be an integral part of SLAC’s strategy for remaining a world-leading accelerator lab. ‘It will be a unique high-energy physics resource’ for research on detectors and other beam instruments, he said. In addition, ‘It will have exceptionally clean and well-defined secondary electron beams for detector development, a huge experimental area and good existing conventional facilities.’

    A team pulled from across the lab installed the kicker magnet during the downtime prior to the Linac Coherent Light Source’s fifth run. Along with four others scheduled to join it, the magnet will redirect – “kick” – a small fraction of the electron bunches originally destined for the LCLS from the linac’s 13.6 GeV beam into the End Station A experimental hall, where SLAC staff and visiting scientists will use them for experiments.”

    i1
    This diagram shows the location of the new kicker magnet (“Pulsed Magnets”) in relation to the linac as a whole. The kicker magnet (and the other to be installed) will redirect electrons from the linac into the A Line, and from there to the target in End Station A. Image courtesy Mauro Pivi and Carsten Hast

    i2
    The new kicker magnet replaces this old workhorse, originally installed in the early 1960s. (Photo by Alev Ibrahimoff)

    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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