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  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, , , BNL NSLS II, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials,   

    From BNL: “Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    February 6, 2018
    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Written by Justin Eure

    1
    The research team, front to back and left to right: Danhua Yan, Mingzhao Liu, Klaus Attenkoffer, Jiajie Cen, Dario Stacciola, Wenrui Zhang, Jerzy Sadowski, Eli Stavitski

    Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) traditionally demand atomic perfection to optimize efficiency. On the nanoscale, where structures span just billionths of a meter, defects should be avoided at all costs—until now.

    A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University has discovered that subtle imperfections can dramatically increase the efficiency and ultraviolet (UV) light output of certain LED materials.

    “The results are surprising and completely counterintuitive,” said Brookhaven Lab scientist Mingzhao Liu, the senior author on the study. “These almost imperceptible flaws, which turned out to be missing oxygen in the surface of zinc oxide nanowires, actually enhance performance. This revelation may inspire new nanomaterial designs far beyond LEDs that would otherwise have been reflexively dismissed.”

    The results, published online Dec. 5, 2017, in Applied Physics Letters, help bring these zinc oxide structures one step closer to use as a UV source in practical applications, including medical sensors, catalysts, and even household lighting.

    “The current LED standard for UV light is gallium nitride, which functions beautifully but is both expensive and is far from being environmentally friendly,” said Brookhaven scientist and study coauthor Dario Stacchiola. “This ‘imperfect’ zinc oxide overcomes those issues.”

    The scientists leveraged the singular instrumentation and expertise available at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), both DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials interior

    BNL NSLS-II

    “Having the capability of exploring materials from synthesis to complex characterization is a unique advantage of Brookhaven Lab,” Stacchiola said. “In fact, the puzzle of zinc-oxide nanowire emission efficiency could only be solved when new instruments came online at NSLS-II.”

    2
    The scientists used a low-temperature approach to grow this nanowire array composed of zinc-oxide crystals. On average, the nanowires have a diameter of 40–50 nanometers (nm) and a length of 500 nm. No image credit.

    Light born on the edge

    The high-performing LEDs exploit a phenomenon called near band edge (NBE) photoluminescence found in semiconducting materials.

    “When electrons in the conduction band recombine with holes in the valence band—crossing the edge of the so-called band gap—they can emit light,” Liu said. “Optimizing that effect, specifically for UV radiation, was our primary goal.”

    The scientists used a relatively simple low-temperature solution-based approach to grow nanowires composed of zinc-oxide crystals. They then applied oxygen plasma to clean the final nanowire structures.

    “By chance, during one test, we executed this plasma step under much lower pressure than usual—and the results were serendipitous and shocking,” Liu said. “That low-pressure plasma treatment is the real game changer here.”

    The unexpected NBE emissions have puzzled scientists for years, but the investigative tools finally advanced enough to shed light on the mystery.

    Bright lights and next-gen nanotechnology

    The key for the breakthrough came through strong synergy between two beamlines at NSLS-II. Data from beamline 8-ID—one of the most intense x-ray absorption sources in the world—combined with the first set of results from a new, state-of-the-art x-ray photoemission electron microscopy (XPEEM) endstation at beamline 21-ID-2. The XPEEM endstation is run as a partnership between CFN and NSLS-II.

    Beamline 8-ID revealed the amount of x-ray absorption, which was then used to deduce the oxidative state of the samples. The measurements at beamline 21-ID-2 complemented that work, bombarding the sample with x-rays to excite electrons and emit photons according to the band levels of the sample. By analyzing that energy, the band positions—and their role in light emission—could be determined with high precision.

    “We found that surface oxygen vacancies create dipoles that confine charge carriers to the core of the nanowire,” said study coauthor and NSLS-II scientist Klaus Attenkofer. “These vacancies appear to drive the highly efficient and pure light emission. And because we know exactly what distinguishes this zinc-oxide structure, we know how to build on it and explore similar materials.”

    The new synthesis technique enables additional structures, such as high-quality, titanium oxide layers, which could be ideal for photocatalysts. Such a material could efficiently act as a water-splitter, providing hydrogen fuel for a host of renewable energy technologies. Future experiments will explore this possibility and even watch the catalytic reactions unfold in real time.

    “The strong synergy between CFN and NSLS-II makes Brookhaven Lab a unique place to do nanomaterials research,” said Chuck Black, the director of the CFN. “Working closely together, the two facilities are developing and offering new research capabilities for the benefit of researchers worldwide. These forefront tools are critical for accelerating nanoscience research, which will enable the advanced materials of tomorrow.”

    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 4:21 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beamlne 28-ID-2 is one of the few places they could do their experiment, , BNL NSLS II, , , We’re already able to suggest several ways to improve scintillators and samples are being made by our collaborator for our group to study, X-ray imaging, , X-rays can be harmful to patients if they are received in large or multiple doses   

    From BNL: “Scientists Solve Fundamental Puzzle in Medical Imaging” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 23, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman

    1
    Researchers from Stony Brook University used the National Synchrotron Light Source II to characterize the physics of how light moves within scintillators. They’re the first group to directly measure this phenomenon. Adrian Howansky (center), a Ph.D. candidate at SBU’s Health Sciences Center, is shown holding one type of scintillator the group studied.

    Scientists from Stony Brook University (SBU) have used a novel technique at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at Brookhaven National Laboratory—to answer longstanding questions in medical imaging.

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS-II

    The research team used individual x-rays to characterize the physics of how light moves within scintillators—a component of x-ray detectors—for the very first time. Their findings could aid the development of more efficient x-ray detectors for improved medical diagnoses.

    X-ray imaging is a widespread technique for viewing the internal structures of matter. In the medical field, x-ray imaging is used to generate images of the body’s internal structure for diagnostic and interventional purposes. The method works by projecting x-rays though a patient and capturing them with an x-ray detector to produce a “shadow image” of the patient’s body. While x-ray imaging works similarly across all its applications, it presents a distinct problem to the medical industry.

    “There are competing challenges in medical x-ray imaging,” said Adrian Howansky, a Ph.D. candidate at SBU’s Health Sciences Center. “You want to detect as many x-rays as possible to produce a high-quality image and make the best diagnosis, but you also need to limit the number of x-rays you put through the patient to minimize their safety risk.”

    X-rays can be harmful to patients if they are received in large or multiple doses. That’s why the SBU team sought to optimize x-ray detectors by understanding the physics of how they work. If they could define the exact way these detectors produce an image, the team could identify methods for improving the images without increasing the number of x-rays sent through the patient. To do this, the scientists studied the most crucial component of the x-ray detector, called the scintillator. This material, whose thickness can be as little as 200 micrometers, is responsible for absorbing x-rays and turning them into bursts of visible light.

    “Up until our experiment here at NSLS-II, nobody has been able to precisely describe how light moves within scintillators to form an image,” Howansky said.

    2
    Adrian Howansky is pictured with equipment at NSLS-II’s x-ray powder diffraction beamline, where the Stony Brook group conducted their research. The team’s EMCCD camera is also shown.

    What scientists did know is that when light bounces around a scintillator before it is detected, it produces “blur” that reduces image resolution. Random variations in that blur can also contribute additional noise to the x-ray image. If this phenomenon could be directly observed and understood, scientists could identify ways to improve the performance of x-ray detectors and the quality of the images they produce—and reduce the number of x-rays needed to make usable images.

    The SBU team searched for the sources of this noise by analyzing different types of scintillators at beamline 28-ID-2 at NSLS-II. Using a novel approach, the scientists imaged individual x-rays at known points in the scintillator to eliminate confounding factors.

    “By putting single x-rays at precise depths inside of the scintillators, we were able to characterize exactly how light scatters and gets collected from different points of origin. This allows us to pinpoint each source of noise in the images that scintillators make,” Howansky said. “We’re the first group to be able to directly measure this phenomenon because of the resources at NSLS-II.”

    Rick Lubinsky, an assistant research professor in radiology at SBU, said, “It’s amazing what we are able to do with the help of beamline scientists at NSLS-II. They created the perfect x-ray beam for our research—just the right energy level and just the right shape. The beam was so thin that we could actually move it up and down inside of the scintillator and resolve what was happening. The brightness and intensity of the beam is incredible.”

    NSLS-II was one of the few places the SBU team could find the high spatial resolution and variable high-energy x-rays they needed to conduct their research. “But the proposal this team brought to NSLS-II was not within the scope of the beamline’s scientific program,” said Sanjit Ghose, the beamline scientist at 28-ID-2. “The irony is that this beamline is one of the few places they could do their experiment.” Ghose and Eric Dooryhee—the group leader for the scientific program that includes beamline 28-ID-2—worked hard to ensure the SBU team would be able to conduct this critically important research at NSLS-II. Ghose noted that other scientists whose research does not fit within the scientific programs at NSLS-II beamlines can reach out to the beamline scientists to discuss research opportunities and potentially test the feasibility of their experiments.

    3
    The Stony Brook team studies data with NSLS-II beamline scientist Sanjit Ghose. Pictured from left to right: Adrian Howansy, Rick Lubinsky, Wei Zhao, and Sanjit Ghose.

    “The arrangement of this user facility makes a lot of research possible that otherwise wouldn’t be,” said Wei Zhao, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at SBU.

    Now that the SBU team has gained fundamental knowledge of the physics of scintillators, they have already begun to research deeper questions, and are working with industry to produce the next generation of x-ray detectors.

    “The study has drawn attention from the medical community and our industrial collaborator that makes high resolution scintillators,” said Zhao. “We’re already able to suggest several ways to improve scintillators, and samples are being made by our collaborator for our group to study.”

    In addition to improving x-ray detectors for medical diagnoses, the results of this study [SPIE] could improve x-ray detectors across the board, including those for dental imaging, security imaging, and synchrotron science.

    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 3:57 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , BNL NSLS II, ISS-Inner-Shell Spectroscopy beamline, , Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible, The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II,   

    From BNL: “Scientists Design Promising New Cathode for Sodium-based Batteries” 2017 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 20, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman

    1
    Xiao-Qing Yang (left) and Enyuan Hu (center) of Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department, pictured with beamline physicist Eli Stavitski (right) at the ISS beamline at NSLS-II.

    Scientists have designed a new type of cathode that could make the mass production of sodium batteries more feasible. Batteries based on plentiful and low-cost sodium are of great interest to both scientists and industry as they could facilitate a more cost-efficient production process for grid-scale energy storage systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles. The discovery was a collaborative effort between researchers at the Institute of Chemistry (IOC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    Lithium batteries are commonly found in consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptop computers, but in recent years, the electric vehicle industry also began using lithium batteries, significantly increasing the demand on existing lithium resources.

    “Just last year, the price of lithium carbonate tripled, because the Chinese electric vehicle market started booming,” said Xiao-Qing Yang, a physicist at the Chemistry Division of Brookhaven Lab and the lead Brookhaven researcher on this study.

    In addition, the development of new electrical grids that incorporate renewable energy sources like wind and solar is also driving the need for new battery chemistries. Because these energy sources are not always available, grid-scale energy storage systems are needed to store the excess energy produced when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

    Scientists have been searching for new battery chemistries using materials that are more readily available than lithium. Sodium is one of the most desirable options for researchers because it exists nearly everywhere and is far less toxic to humans than lithium.

    But sodium poses major challenges when incorporated into a traditional battery design. For example, a typical battery’s cathode is made up of metal and oxygen ions arranged in layers. When exposed to air, the metals in a sodium battery’s cathode can be oxidized, decreasing the performance of the battery or even rendering it completely inactive.

    The researchers at IOC of CAS and Jiangxi Normal University sought to resolve this issue by substituting different types of metals in the cathode and increasing the space between these metals. Then, using the Inner-Shell Spectroscopy (ISS) beamline at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—Brookhaven’s researchers compared the structures of battery materials with unsubstituted materials to these new battery materials with substitute metals.

    “We use the beamline to determine how metals in the cathode material change oxidation states and how it correlates with the efficiency and lifetime of the battery’s structure,” says Eli Stavitski, a physicist at the ISS beamline.”

    The ISS beamline was the first operational x-ray spectroscopy beamline at NSLS-II. Here, researchers shine an ultra-bright x-ray beam through materials to observe how light is absorbed or reemitted. These observations allow researchers to study the structure of different materials, including their chemical and electronic states.

    The ISS beamline, which is specifically designed for high-speed experiments, allowed the researchers to measure real-time changes in the battery during the charge-discharge processes. Based on their observations made at the beamline, Brookhaven’s team discovered that oxidation was suppressed in the sodium batteries with substituted metals, indicating the newly designed sodium batteries were stable when exposed to air. This is a major step forward in enabling future mass production of sodium batteries.

    The researchers say this study[JACS] is the first of many that will use the ISS beamline at NSLS-II to advance the study of batteries.

    This study was supported by several Chinese research organizations, including the National Key R&D Program of China. The work at Brookhaven National Laboratory was supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Vehicle Technology Office under Advanced Battery Material Research (BMR). DOE’s Office of Science (BES) also supports operations at NSLS-II.

    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 3:36 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: -ray photoelectron and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, , , , BNL NSLS II, , , , We are the first team to trap a noble gas in a 2D porous structure at room temperature,   

    From BNL: “Studying Argon Gas Trapped in Two-Dimensional Array of Tiny ‘Cages'” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 17, 2017
    Ariana Tantillo
    atantillo@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-2347

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Understanding how individual atoms enter and exit the nanoporous frameworks could help scientists design new materials for gas separation and nuclear waste remediation.

    1
    (Left to right) Anibal Boscoboinik, Jian-Qiang Zhong, Dario Stacchiola, Nusnin Akter, Taejin Kim, Deyu Lu, and Mengen Wang at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). The team of scientists (including John Kestell and Alejandro Boscoboinik) carried out experiments at CFN, at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source I and II, and in the Lab’s Chemistry Division to study the trapping of individual argon gas atoms (blue prop in Stacchiola’s hand) in two-dimensional (2D) nanoporous frameworks like the one Boscoboinik and Zhong are holding. They had been using these 2D frameworks as analogues to study catalysis in 3D porous materials called zeolites (structural model on the table), which speed up many important reactions such as the conversion of nitrogen-oxide emissions into nitrogen.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory had just finished an experiment with a two-dimensional (2D) structure they synthesized for catalysis research when, to their surprise, they discovered that atoms of argon gas had gotten trapped inside the structure’s nanosized pores. Argon and other noble gases have previously been trapped in three-dimensional (3D) porous materials, but immobilizing them on surfaces had only been achieved by either cooling the gases to very low temperatures to condense them, or by accelerating gas ions to implant them directly into materials.

    “We are the first team to trap a noble gas in a 2D porous structure at room temperature,” said Anibal Boscoboinik, a materials scientist at Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), a DOE Office of Science User Facility where part of the research was conducted.

    This achievement, reported in a paper published today in Nature Communications, will enable scientists to use traditional surface-science tools—such as x-ray photoelectron and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy—to perform detailed studies of single gas atoms in confinement. The knowledge gained from such research could inform the design, selection, and improvement of adsorbent materials and membranes for capturing gases such as radioactive krypton and xenon generated by nuclear power plants.

    The team of scientists from Brookhaven Lab, Stony Brook University, and the National University of San Luis in Argentina synthesized 2D aluminosilicate (composed of aluminum, silicon, and oxygen) films on top of a ruthenium metal surface. The scientists created this 2D model catalyst material to study the chemical processes happening in the industrially used 3D catalyst (called a zeolite), which has a cage-like structure with open pores and channels the size of small molecules. Because the catalytically active surface is enclosed within these cavities, it is difficult to probe with traditional surface-science tools. The 2D analogue material has the same chemical composition and active site as the 3D porous zeolite but its active site is exposed on a flat surface, which is easier to access with such tools.

    2
    An artistic rendering of an argon (Ar) atom trapped in a nanocage that has a silicon (Si)-oxygen (O) framework.

    To confirm that the argon atoms were trapped in these “nanocages,” the scientists exposed the 2D material to argon gas and measured the kinetic energy and number of electrons ejected from the surface after striking it with an x-ray beam. They performed these studies at the former National Synchrotron Light Source I (NSLS-I) and its successor facility, NSLS-II (both DOE Office of Science User Facilities at Brookhaven), with an instrument developed and operated by the CFN.

    BNL NSLS

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS II

    Because the binding energies of core electrons are unique to each chemical element, the resulting spectra reveal the presence and concentration of elements on the surface. In a separate experiment conducted at the CFN, they grazed a beam of infrared light over the surface while introducing argon gas. When atoms absorb light of a specific wavelength, they undergo changes in their vibrational motions that are specific to that element’s molecular structure and chemical bonds.

    To get a better understanding of how the framework itself contributes to caging, the scientists investigated the trapping mechanism with silicate films, which are similar in structure to the aluminosilicates but contain no aluminum. In this case, they discovered that not all of the argon gets trapped in the cages—a small amount goes to the interface between the framework and ruthenium surface. This interface is too compressed in the aluminosilicate films for argon to squeeze in.

    After studying adsorption, the scientists examined the reverse process of desorption by incrementally increasing the temperature until the argon atoms completely released from the surface at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They corroborated their experimental spectra with theoretical calculations of the amount of energy associated with argon entering and leaving the cages.

    In another infrared spectroscopy experiment conducted in Brookhaven’s Chemistry Division, they explored how the presence of argon in the cages affects the passage of carbon monoxide molecules through the framework. They found that argon restricts the number of molecules that adsorb onto the ruthenium surface.

    “In addition to trapping small atoms, the cages could be used as molecular sieves for filtering carbon monoxide and other small molecules, such as hydrogen and oxygen,” said first author Jian-Qiang Zhong, a CFN research associate.

    While their main goal going forward will be to continue investigating zeolite catalytic processes on the 2D material, the scientists are interested in learning the impact of different pore sizes on the materials’ ability to trap and filter gas molecules.

    “As we seek to better understand the material, interesting and unexpected findings keep coming up,” said Boscoboinik. “The ability to use surface-science methods to understand how a single atom of gas behaves when it is confined in a very small space opens up lots of interesting questions for researchers to answer.”

    This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and was supported by Brookhaven’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) of Argentina.

    NERSC Cray XC40 Cori II supercomputer

    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    NERSC PDSF


    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.

    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 9:47 am on December 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, ESRF-European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, , , RIXS-resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, Scientists found that as superconductivity vanishes at higher temperatures powerful waves of electrons begin to curiously uncouple and behave independently—like ocean waves splitting and rippling in, Superconductors carry electricity with perfect efficiency, The puzzling interplay between two key quantum properties of electrons: spin and charge   

    From BNL: “Breaking Electron Waves Provide New Clues to High-Temperature Superconductivity” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    December 5, 2017
    Justin Eure
    jeure@bnl.gov

    Scientists tracked elusive waves of charge and spin that precede and follow the mysterious emergence of superconductivity.

    1
    Brookhaven’s Robert Konik, Genda Gu, Mark Dean, and Hu Miao

    Superconductors carry electricity with perfect efficiency, unlike the inevitable waste inherent in traditional conductors like copper. But that perfection comes at the price of extreme cold—even so-called high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) only emerges well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Discovering the ever-elusive mechanism behind HTS could revolutionize everything from regional power grids to wind turbines.

    Now, a collaboration led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has discovered a surprising breakdown in the electron interactions that may underpin HTS. The scientists found that as superconductivity vanishes at higher temperatures, powerful waves of electrons begin to curiously uncouple and behave independently—like ocean waves splitting and rippling in different directions.

    “For the first time, we pinpointed these key electron interactions happening after superconductivity subsides,” said first author and Brookhaven Lab research associate Hu Miao. “The portrait is both stranger and more exciting than we expected, and it offers new ways to understand and potentially exploit these remarkable materials.”

    The new study, published November 7 in the journal PNAS, explores the puzzling interplay between two key quantum properties of electrons: spin and charge.

    “We know charge and spin lock together and form waves in copper-oxides cooled down to superconducting temperatures,” said study senior author and Brookhaven Lab physicist Mark Dean. “But we didn’t realize that these electron waves persist but seem to uncouple at higher temperatures.”

    Electronic stripes and waves

    2
    In the RIXS technique, intense x-rays deposit energy into the electron waves of atomically thin layers of high-temperature superconductors. The difference in x-ray energy before and after interaction reveals key information about the fundamental behavior of these exciting and mysterious materials.

    Scientists at Brookhaven Lab discovered in 1995 that spin and charge can lock together and form spatially modulated “stripes” at low temperatures in some HTS materials. Other materials, however, feature correlated electron charges rolling through as charge-density waves that appear to ignore spin entirely. Deepening the HTS mystery, charge and spin can also abandon independence and link together.

    “The role of these ‘stripes’ and correlated waves in high-temperature superconductivity is hotly debated,” Miao said. “Some elements may be essential or just a small piece of the larger puzzle. We needed a clearer picture of electron activity across temperatures, particularly the fleeting signals at warmer temperatures.”

    Imagine knowing the precise chemical structure of ice, for example, but having no idea what happens as it transforms into liquid or vapor. With these copper-oxide superconductors, or cuprates, there is comparable mystery, but hidden within much more complex materials. Still, the scientists essentially needed to take a freezing-cold sample and meticulously warm it to track exactly how its properties change.

    Subtle signals in custom-made materials

    The team turned to a well-established HTS material, lanthanum-barium copper-oxides (LBCO) known for strong stripe formations. Brookhaven Lab scientist Genda Gu painstakingly prepared the samples and customized the electron configurations.

    “We can’t have any structural abnormalities or errant atoms in these cuprates—they must be perfect,” Dean said. “Genda is among the best in the world at creating these materials, and we’re fortunate to have his talent so close at hand.”

    At low temperatures, the electron signals are powerful and easily detected, which is part of why their discovery happened decades ago. To tease out the more elusive signals at higher temperatures, the team needed unprecedented sensitivity.

    “We turned to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France for the key experimental work,” Miao said.


    ESRF. Grenoble, France

    “Our colleagues operate a beamline that carefully tunes the x-ray energy to resonate with specific electrons and detect tiny changes in their behavior.”

    The team used a technique called resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) to track position and charge of the electrons. A focused beam of x-rays strikes the material, deposits some energy, and then bounces off into detectors. Those scattered x-rays carry the signature of the electrons they hit along the way.

    As the temperature rose in the samples, causing superconductivity to fade, the coupled waves of charge and spin began to unlock and move independently.

    “This indicates that their coupling may bolster the stripe formation, or through some unknown mechanism empower high-temperature superconductivity,” Miao said. “It certainly warrants further exploration across other materials to see how prevalent this phenomenon is. It’s a key insight, certainly, but it’s too soon to say how it may unlock the HTS mechanism.”

    That further exploration will include additional HTS materials as well as other synchrotron facilities, notably Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    BNL NSLS-II

    BNL NSLS II

    “Using new beamlines at NSLS-II, we will have the freedom to rotate the sample and take advantage of significantly better energy resolution,” Dean said. “This will give us a more complete picture of electron correlations throughout the sample. There’s much more discovery to come.”

    Additional collaborators on the study include Yingying Peng, Giacomo Ghiringhelli, and Lucio Braicovich of the Politecnico di Milano, who contributed to the x-ray scattering, as well as José Lorenzana of the University of Rome, Götz Seibold of the Institute for Physics in Cottbus, Germany, and Robert Konik of Brookhaven Lab, who all contributed to the theory work.

    This research was funded by DOE’s Office of Science through Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Emergent Superconductivity.

    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 4:42 pm on October 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: (DAMA) group - Brookhaven’s Data Acquisition Management and Analysis, Bluesky software, , BNL NSLS II   

    From BNL: “Software Developed at Brookhaven Lab Could Advance Synchrotron Science Worldwide” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    October 2, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman@bnl.gov

    1
    Thomas Caswell (left) and Dan Allan (right), two of Bluesky’s creators.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed new software to streamline data acquisition (DAQ) at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Called “Bluesky,” the software significantly eases the process of collecting and comparing data at NSLS-II, and could be used to facilitate scientific collaboration between light sources worldwide.

    NSLS-II is one of the most advanced synchrotrons in the nation, and as the facility continues to expand, researchers need dynamic DAQ software to effectively capture and process the large volume and variety of data their experiments produce. Typically at synchrotrons, each beamline (experimental station) uses DAQ software that was developed specifically for that beamline. These beamline-specific types of software are often incompatible with each other, making it difficult for scientists to compare data from different beamlines, as well as other light sources. That’s why Brookhaven’s Data Acquisition, Management and Analysis (DAMA) group developed Bluesky.

    “We wanted to make software that is designed the way scientists think when they are doing an experiment,” said Dan Allan, a member of DAMA. “Bluesky is a language for expressing the steps in a science experiment.”

    2
    From left to right: (Back row) Thomas Caswell, Richard Farnsworth, Arman Arkilic; (Front Row) Yong-Nian Tang, Dan Allan, Stuart Campbell, Li Li

    Allan, alongside DAMA member Thomas Caswell, conceptualized Bluesky as the top “layer” of an existing DAQ system. At the bottom layer is the beamline’s equipment, which works with vendor-supplied software to write electrons onto a disc. The next layer is the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control Software (EPICS).

    “Up to a point, EPICS makes all devices look the same. You can speak a common language to EPICS in the same way you can speak a common language to different websites. It’s the equivalent of the ‘http’ in a web address, but for hardware control,” Allan said. “We’re trying to build a layer up from that.”

    Bluesky stands on the shoulders of EPICS, and provides additional capabilities such as live visualization and data processing tools, and can export data into nearly any file format in real time. Bluesky was developed using “Python,” a common programming language that will make Bluesky simple for future scientists to modify, and to implement at new beamlines and light sources.

    Scientists at NSLS-II are already using Bluesky at the majority of the facility’s beamlines. In particular, Bluesky has benefitted researchers by minimizing the amount of steps involved with DAQ and operating in-line with their experimental protocol.

    “Bluesky is the cruise control for a scientific experiment,” said Richard Farnsworth, the controls program manager at NSLS-II. “Its modular design incorporates a hardware abstraction library called Ophyd and a package for databases called Data Broker, both of which can also be used independently.”

    A version of Bluesky has been operating at NSLS-II since 2015, and ever since, the software has continued to develop smoothly and successfully as DAMA adds new features and upgrades.

    “I think one of the key things that made us successful is that our team wasn’t assigned to one beamline,” Caswell said. “If you’re working on one beamline, it’s very easy to build something tuned to that beamline, and if you ever try to apply it to another, you suddenly discover all sorts of design decisions that were driven by the original beamline. Being facility-wide from the start of our project has been a great advantage.”

    Another important aspect of Bluesky’s success is the fact that it was built for scientists, by scientists.

    “A lot of the beamline scientists don’t see this as the typical customer-client relationship,” said Stuart Campbell, the group leader for DAMA. “They see Bluesky as a collaborative project.”

    As DAMA continues to improve upon Bluesky, the team gives scientists at NSLS-II the opportunity to influence how the software is developed. DAMA tests Bluesky directly on NSLS-II beamlines, and discusses the software with scientists on the experimental floor as they work.

    “I also think it’s very important that Dan and I both have physics PhDs, because that gives us a common language to communicate with the beamline staff,” Caswell said.

    Caswell and Allan first met while they were pursuing their graduate degrees in physics. Through an open source project on the internet, they discovered they each had the missing half to the other’s thesis. Combined, their work formed a project that is still used by research groups around the world, and illustrated the value of building software collaboratively and in the open, as DAMA has done with Bluesky.

    “We were solving the same problem from opposite ends, and I happened to find his project on the internet when we had just about met in the middle,” Allan said. “We both felt satisfaction in creating a tool that we imagined scientists might someday use.”

    Bluesky will be an ongoing project for Campbell, Caswell, Allan, and the rest of the DAMA group, but the software is already being tested at other light sources, including two other DOE Office of Science User Facilities: the Advanced Photon Source at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and the Linac Coherent Light Source at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. DAMA’s goal is to share Bluesky as an open source project with light sources around the world and, gradually, build new layers on top of Bluesky for even more enhanced data visualization and analysis.

    Related Links

    Synchrotron Radiation News: Towards Integrated Facility-Wide Data Acquisition and Analysis at NSLS-IITaylor and Francis online

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 6:15 pm on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , BNL NSLS II, , , , , ,   

    From BNL: “Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Selected to Receive Early Career Research Program Funding” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 15, 2017 [Just caught up with this via social media.]
    Karen McNulty Walsh,
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350
    Peter Genzer,
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Three scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have been selected by DOE’s Office of Science to receive significant research funding through its Early Career Research Program.

    The program, now in its eighth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. The three Brookhaven Lab recipients are among a total of 59 recipients selected this year after a competitive review of about 700 proposals.

    The scientists are each expected to receive grants of up to $2.5 million over five years to cover their salary plus research expenses. A list of the 59 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is available on the Early Career Research Program webpage.

    This year’s Brookhaven Lab awardees include:

    1
    Sanjaya Senanayake

    Brookhaven Lab chemist Sanjaya D. Senanayake was selected by DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences to receive funding for “Unraveling Catalytic Pathways for

    Low Temperature Oxidative Methanol Synthesis from Methane.” His overarching goal is to study and improve catalysts that enable the conversion of methane (CH4), the primary component of natural gas, directly into methanol (CH3OH), a valuable chemical intermediate and potential renewable fuel.

    This research builds on the recent discovery of a single step catalytic process for this reaction that proceeds at low temperatures and pressures using inexpensive earth abundant catalysts. The reaction promises to be more efficient than current multi-step processes, which are energy-intensive, and a significant improvement over other attempts at one-step reactions where higher temperatures convert most of the useful hydrocarbon building blocks into carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide rather than methanol. With Early Career funding, Senanayake’s team will explore the nature of the reaction, and build on ways to further improve catalytic performance and specificity.

    The project will exploit unique capabilities of facilities at Brookhaven Lab, particularly at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), that make it possible to study catalysts in real-world reaction environments (in situ) using x-ray spectroscopy, electron imaging, and other in situ methods.

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    Experiments using well defined model surfaces and powders will reveal atomic level catalytic structures and reaction dynamics. When combined with theoretical modeling, these studies will help the scientists identify the essential interactions that take place on the surface of the catalyst. Of particular interest are the key features that activate stable methane molecules through “soft” oxidative activation of C-H bonds so methane can be converted to methanol using oxygen (O2) and water (H2O) as co-reactants.

    This work will establish and experimentally validate principles that can be used to design improved catalysts for synthesizing fuel and other industrially relevant chemicals from abundant natural gas.

    “I am grateful for this funding and the opportunity to pursue this promising research,” Senanayake said. “These fundamental studies are an essential step toward overcoming key challenges for the complex conversion of methane into valued chemicals, and for transforming the current model catalysts into practical versions that are inexpensive, durable, selective, and efficient for commercial applications.”

    Sanjaya Senanayake earned his undergraduate degree in material science and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 2001 and 2006, respectively. He worked as a research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2005-2008, and served as a local scientific contact at beamline U12a at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven Lab from 2005 to 2009. He joined the Brookhaven staff as a research associate in 2008, was promoted to assistant chemist and associate chemist in 2014, while serving as the spokesperson for NSLS Beamline X7B. He has co-authored over 100 peer reviewed publications in the fields of surface science and catalysis, and has expertise in the synthesis, characterization, reactivity of catalysts and reactions essential for energy conversion. He is an active member of the American Chemical Society, North American Catalysis Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the New York Academy of Science.

    3
    Alessandro Tricoli

    Brookhaven Lab physicist Alessandro Tricoli will receive Early Career Award funding from DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics for a project titled “Unveiling the Electroweak Symmetry Breaking Mechanism at ATLAS and at Future Experiments with Novel Silicon Detectors.”

    CERN/ATLAS detector

    His work aims to improve, through precision measurements, the search for exciting new physics beyond what is currently described by the Standard Model [SM], the reigning theory of particle physics.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland confirmed how the quantum field associated with this particle generates the masses of other fundamental particles, providing key insights into electroweak symmetry breaking—the mass-generating “Higgs mechanism.”

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    But at the same time, despite direct searches for “new physics” signals that cannot be explained by the SM, scientists have yet to observe any evidence for such phenomena at the LHC—even though they know the SM is incomplete (for example it does not include an explanation for gravity).

    Tricoli’s research aims to make precision measurements to test fundamental predictions of the SM to identify anomalies that may lead to such discoveries. He focuses on the analysis of data from the LHC’s ATLAS experiment to comprehensively study electroweak interactions between the Higgs and particles called W and Z bosons. Any discovery of anomalies in such interactions could signal new physics at very high energies, not directly accessible by the LHC.

    This method of probing physics beyond the SM will become even more stringent once the high-luminosity upgrade of ATLAS, currently underway, is completed for longer-term LHC operations planned to begin in 2026.

    Tricoli’s work will play an important role in the upgrade of ATLAS’s silicon detectors, using novel state-of-the art technology capable of precision particle tracking and timing so that the detector will be better able to identify primary particle interactions and tease out signals from the background events. Designing these next-generation detector components could also have a profound impact on the development of future instruments that can operate in high radiation environments, such as in future colliders or in space.

    “This award will help me build a strong team around a research program I feel passionate about at ATLAS and the LHC, and for future experiments,” Tricoli said.

    “I am delighted and humbled by the challenge given to me with this award to take a step forward in science.”

    Alessandro Tricoli received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Bologna, Italy, in 2001, and his Ph.D. in particle physics from Oxford University in 2007. He worked as a research associate at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK from 2006 to 2009, and as a research fellow and then staff member at CERN from 2009 to 2015, receiving commendations on his excellent performance from both institutions. He joined Brookhaven Lab as an assistant physicist in 2016. A co-author on multiple publications, he has expertise in silicon tracker and detector design and development, as well as the analysis of physics and detector performance data at high-energy physics experiments. He has extensive experience tutoring and mentoring students, as well as coordinating large groups of physicists involved in research at ATLAS.

    4
    Chao Zhang

    Brookhaven Lab physicist Chao Zhang was selected by DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics to receive funding for a project titled, “Optimization of Liquid Argon TPCs for Nucleon Decay and Neutrino Physics.” Liquid Argon TPCs (for Time Projection Chambers) form the heart of many large-scale particle detectors designed to explore fundamental mysteries in particle physics.

    Among the most compelling is the question of why there’s a predominance of matter over antimatter in our universe. Though scientists believe matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts during the Big Bang, equal amounts would have annihilated one another, leaving only light. The fact that we now have a universe made almost entirely of matter means something must have tipped the balance.

    A US-hosted international experiment scheduled to start collecting data in the mid-2020s, called the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), aims to explore this mystery through the search for two rare but necessary conditions for the imbalance: 1) evidence that some processes produce an excess of matter over antimatter, and 2) a sizeable difference in the way matter and antimatter behave.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    The DUNE experiment will look for signs of these conditions by studying how protons (one of the two “nucleons” that make up atomic nuclei) decay as well as how elusive particles called neutrinos oscillate, or switch identities, among three known types.

    The DUNE experiment will make use of four massive 10-kiloton detector modules, each with a Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber (LArTPC) at its core. Chao’s aim is to optimize the performance of the LArTPCs to fully realize their potential to track and identify particles in three dimensions, with a particular focus on making them sensitive to the rare proton decays. His team at Brookhaven Lab will establish a hardware calibration system to ensure their ability to extract subtle signals using specially designed cold electronics that will sit within the detector. They will also develop software to reconstruct the three-dimensional details of complex events, and analyze data collected at a prototype experiment (ProtoDUNE, located at Europe’s CERN laboratory) to verify that these methods are working before incorporating any needed adjustments into the design of the detectors for DUNE.

    “I am honored and thrilled to receive this distinguished award,” said Chao. “With this support, my colleagues and I will be able to develop many new techniques to enhance the performance of LArTPCs, and we are excited to be involved in the search for answers to one of the most intriguing mysteries in science, the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.”

    Chao Zhang received his B.S. in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2002 and his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 2010, continuing as a postdoctoral scholar there until joining Brookhaven Lab as a research associate in 2011. He was promoted to physics associate III in 2015. He has actively worked on many high-energy neutrino physics experiments, including DUNE, MicroBooNE, Daya Bay, PROSPECT, JUNO, and KamLAND, co-authoring more than 40 peer reviewed publications with a total of over 5000 citations. He has expertise in the field of neutrino oscillations, reactor neutrinos, nucleon decays, liquid scintillator and water-based liquid scintillator detectors, and liquid argon time projection chambers. He is an active member of the American Physical Society.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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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 8:26 am on September 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, Texas Southern University,   

    From BNL: “Texas Southern University Research Team Advances Safety, Efficiency at NSLS-II” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 29, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman

    1
    Mark Harvey (left), Kalifa Kelly (center), and Jesse Zapata (right) conducted research at the inner-shell spectroscopy beamline to improve safety and efficiency at NSLS-II.

    This summer, two student interns and their professor from Texas Southern University (TSU) are making a significant impact on the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory.


    BNL NSLS II

    By collecting and analyzing radiation detector data, the research team is helping to enhance the safety features and reduce the construction costs of future beamlines (experimental stations) built at NSLS-II.

    Jesse Zapata and Kalifa Kelly—two rising seniors at TSU, a historically black college and university—along with their professor, Mark Harvey, came to Brookhaven through the National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP) program and Brookhaven’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP). NSF-LSAMP works to increase the number of minority students earning baccalaureate and advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM].

    “Jesse and Kalifa are high achievers and high performers. My impression is that they are going to end up being leaders in the near future,” Harvey said. “The NSF-LSAMP program, OEP, and NSLS-II provided these students with the opportunity to conduct high quality, first-class research at a premier institution. The unique thing about their research here at Brookhaven is that the students played a major role in the study.”

    After weeks of detailed instruction by Harvey in radiation physics and safety, Zapata and Kelly, in collaboration with NSLS-II staff, designed an experiment to remotely measure radiation fields inside a first optical enclosure (FOE), where NSLS-II’s bright and powerful x-ray light is focused at each beamline. Concrete, lead, and tungsten shielding are used to protect NSLS-II staff from this energy, but shielding the entire FOE with these materials is a costly endeavor. The TSU team, with guidance from staff scientists at NSLS-II, sought to determine how shielding could be localized within the FOE, reducing the amount of material needed while maintaining its overall effectiveness.

    Zapata and Kelly worked with Harvey and NSLS-II staff to design a plan to place detectors in different locations throughout the FOE. “We had a big part in choosing what kind of detectors to use and where to place them,” Zapata said. “This has been a great learning experience for me.”

    The students and Harvey chose specific detectors to place at designated locations based on computerized models of the FOE radiation field created by Brookhaven radiation physicist Mo Benmerrouche. Then, they analyzed the data collected by these detectors over four weeks when NSLS-II was running, and developed a radiation map of the beamline that could be used by staff members at NSLS-II to design localized shielding for future beamlines.

    2
    Kalifa Kelly is shown collecting data at beamline 8-ID, where the TSU team conducted their experiments.

    NSLS-II currently has 28 beamlines in operation or under construction, but the facility is only halfway built out. That means the data measured by the TSU research team could impact the construction of more than 30 additional beamlines. The localized shielding that can now be designed based on the team’s work would reduce the cost of building these beamlines, improve their safety features, and make NSLS-II more attractive for individuals and organizations to come to Brookhaven to build new beamlines and conduct research.

    Harvey, Zapata, and Kelly are not only improving NSLS-II; the students are also gaining a novel skillset that could propel their careers into new and critical areas of science research.

    “There is a huge demand across many fields of science for people who are educated and trained in radiation safety,” said Klaus Attenkofer, program manager of the hard x-ray spectroscopy beamlines at NSLS-II.

    3
    Jesse Zapata is pictured analyzing x-ray detector data that the TSU team used to develop a radiation map.

    At the closing of their summer internship, Zapata and Kelly noted their work at Brookhaven has been a defining moment in their science education.

    “Being able to work with scientists who are experts in their fields has been a phenomenal experience for me.” Kelly said. “This experiment also taught me that just because you have an idea, it doesn’t mean you’re going to stick to that idea. You have to think outside the box when you’re doing research. This experience has pushed me to learn a lot in a short period of time.”

    Data for this project was recorded at the inner-shell spectroscopy (ISS) beamline 8-ID at NSLS-II. The ISS beamline is managed by Eli Stavitski and the hard x-ray spectroscopy program at NSLS-II is managed by Klaus Attenkofer. Additional support for this project was provided by Noel Blackburn, Deana Buckallew, Shawn Buckallew, Sean Carr, Sunil Chitra, Gregory Condemi, Henry Kahnhauser, Robert Lee, Andrew Levine, Subhash Sengupta, Reid Smith, Michelle Tolbert, Geraldine Townsend, Kimberly Wehunt and Bobby Wilson.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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 1:47 pm on August 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2 years of operation and gains, , , BNL NSLS II, , ,   

    From BNL: “National Synchrotron Light Source II Celebrates Two Years of User Operations” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 28, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman

    BNL NSLS II

    In July of 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory wished a happy second birthday to the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). Located at Brookhaven, NSLS-II is a DOE Office of Science User Facility that provides ultra-bright x-rays for cutting-edge science research.

    During its second year of user operations, NSLS-II reached significant milestones and added several beamlines that offer researchers exciting new capabilities across all fields of science. On July 17, the facility recorded 168 hours (seven days) of continuous beam, showcasing its stability and reliability. And on July 20, NSLS-II delivered user beam at 325 milliamps (mA) for the first time, creating the brightest light the facility has seen so far. Because NSLS-II is in its early years of operations, its level of brightness is still increasing; the goal is to reach 350 mA by the end of September.

    Reaching another milestone, NSLS-II named Joanna Krueger its 1000th lifetime user on June 28. A chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Krueger uses NSLS-II to study “sleeping beauty” transposase, an inactive enzyme found in fish that becomes active when inserted into human cells.

    “I am impressed by all the improvements: automation for data collection and fast data reduction,” Krueger said. “I have never seen my data reduced so fast—and I have been doing this work since the mid-nineties. I am very pleased with the facility and the assistance from the beamline staff. It is amazing.”

    BNL NSLS-II

    The great number and diversity of researchers using NSLS-II is a huge success, especially considering the still-growing facility is operating at less than half its capacity. There are currently 20 beamlines (experimental stations) in operation but, when completed, NSLS-II will have 60 beamlines. In other words, at least 60 different experiments could occur at the same time.

    Eight new beamlines were added to NSLS-II during its second year, expanding the facility’s reach into new fields of research and allowing scientists to conduct experiments using new techniques.

    3
    Joanna Krueger was named the 1000th user at NSLS-II on June 28. Krueger uses NSLS-II to study “sleeping beauty” transposase, an inactive enzyme found in fish that becomes active when inserted into human cells.

    The latest beamline to transition into operations was beamline 2-ID, which enables scientists to measure a sample’s response across a range of angles—nearly a full circle around the sample—using high-intensity soft x-rays. This technique is used to determine dynamics of electrons in a wide variety of materials.

    “This beamline will offer world-leading capabilities in terms of soft inelastic x-ray scattering,” said Qun Shen, Deputy Director for Science at NSLS-II. “It is going to be a really cutting-edge technique for studying dynamics and catalysis.”

    Beamline 2-ID is particularly notable for its ability to study light that bounces off individual atoms, but achieving world-class capabilities is the goal for every beamline at NSLS-II.

    Such is the case for 8-BM, a new beamline that uses tender x-rays to image and probe elements that are common in biological structures. 8-BM offers tender energy x-rays—x-rays with an energy from one kiloelectron volt (keV) to four keV—and, amongst other capabilities, allows scientists to study environmental questions – for example, how nuclear materials decay and affect the environment.

    “From five or six keV and up is relatively straightforward to achieve,” Shen said. “But very few beamlines around the world can put emphasis on the tender x-ray energy.”

    Another new beamline, 4-ID, started general user operations in July. This beamline combines the versatile control of beam size, energy, and polarization to enable real-time studies of materials growth and processing, measurements of the atomic structure of functional surfaces and interfaces, and characterization of the electronic order in quantum materials.

    Brookhaven is also partnering with outside institutions to fund the construction and operations of new beamlines at NSLS-II. For example, beamline 17-BM was established through a partnership with the Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences at Case Western Reserve University. This beamline uses wide-beam x-rays to modify proteins and monitor their structural changes, a “footprinting” technique that was previously unavailable at NSLS-II.

    4
    Scientists Paul Northrup and Syed Khalid are pictured with beamline 8-BM, the new tender energy x-ray beamline at NSLS-II.

    One of NSLS-II’s biggest partners is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government organization that promotes innovation and enhances industrial competitiveness in the U.S. NIST is funding the construction and operations of three beamlines at NSLS-II: two spectroscopy beamlines currently under construction, and beamline 6-BM, which had first light on July 25. At 6-BM, researchers can use x-ray absorption spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction to study how atoms stack together to make materials like batteries and computer chips.

    Other facilities within Brookhaven Lab are also working with NSLS-II on new beamlines, such as beamline 11-BM. This beamline was established through a partnership with Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

    “This is where scientists can do x-ray scattering in real time to see how thin films of nanostructures self-organize into something that may be very useful,” Shen said. “Before this beamline came on board, we didn’t have such a dedicated capability.”

    The beamlines at NSLS-II are continuously undergoing changes to improve and expand their functionality. At beamline 3-ID, for example, scientists developed a new imaging method that allows researchers to view an x-ray-transparent sample in real time with quantitative phase measurement.

    In addition to opening new beamlines and making new research techniques available to scientists, NSLS-II’s second year of operations was notable for important scientific breakthroughs. Researchers used beamline 8-ID to develop new cathode materials that could facilitate the mass production of sodium batteries. Another team of researchers used beamline 23-ID-1 to advance the study of high-temperature superconductivity, a phenomena that has baffled scientists for decades. The team discovered that static ordering of electrical charges may cooperate, rather than compete, with superconductivity.

    There is a bright future ahead for NSLS-II. 8 beamlines are currently under construction, and the NSLS-II team is working with the scientific community to develop the next set of beamlines to build. Other future plans for NSLS-II include streamlining logistics for users and making beam time available on multiple beamlines with a single proposal.

    “The last two years have been exciting as we have watched the NSLS-II user community grow and the numbers increase,” said Gretchen Cisco, User Administration Manager at NSLS-II. “We are continuously identifying ways to improve the NSLS-II user experience. Based on user feedback, we are updating the proposal allocation and scheduling system to make it easier to apply for beam time.”

    From its world-class beamlines to the accessibility for its users, NSLS-II has already distinguished itself as a pillar of synchrotron science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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 1:10 pm on August 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL NSLS II, New diffractometer,   

    From BNL: “NSLS-II Welcomes New Tool for Studying the Physics of Materials” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 17, 2017
    Kelsey Harper
    kharper@bnl.gov

    Versatile instrument for precisely studying materials’ structural, electronic, magnetic characteristics arrives at Brookhaven Lab.

    1
    Beamline lead scientist Christie Nelson works with a diffractometer located at beamline 4-ID.

    A new instrument for studying the physics of materials using high intensity x-ray beams has arrived at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory. This new diffractometer, installed at beamline 4-ID at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility that produces extremely bright beams of x-rays, will offer researchers greater precision when studying materials with unique structural, electronic, and magnetic characteristics. Understanding these materials’ properties could lead to better electronics, solar cells, or superconductors (materials that carry electricity with almost no energy loss).

    A diffractometer allows researchers to “see” the structure of a material by shooting highly focused x-rays at it and measuring how they diffract, or bounce off. According to Brookhaven physicist Christie Nelson, who worked with Huber X-Ray Diffraction Equipment to design the diffractometer, the new instrument has big advantages compared to one that operated at Brookhaven’s original light source, NSLS. Most significantly, it gives researchers additional ways to control where the beam hits the sample and how the x-rays are detected.

    In all diffractometers, both the sample and x-ray detector can rotate in certain directions to let researchers control where the beam hits the sample and where they measure the x-rays that bounce off. This diffractometer, however, has a uniquely large range of motion. The sample can rotate in four directions with extremely high precision, and in two of those directions it rotates much farther than in most other instruments. With this amount of control, researchers can target the precision of the x-ray beam to within 60 millionths of a meter.

    The instrument also has two detectors. While one allows users to quickly survey the overall structure of a sample, the other gives a zoomed-in view of the material’s subtler details. Since this diffractometer can have both detectors attached at the same time, researchers can quickly switch between these two views.

    “It’s a huge upgrade. There’s only one other like it in the world,” said Nelson, referring to a similar instrument at PETRA-III, an x-ray light source in Germany.

    DESY Petra III interior

    This diffractometer can also hold a cold chamber for looking at samples over a wide range of temperatures, all the way down to two Kelvin, or -271 degrees Celsius.

    “That’s crazy cold,” said Nelson—it’s just two degrees above “absolute zero,” the coldest anything can be.

    This cold chamber lets researchers study materials whose properties change with temperature. A research group from the University of California, Berkeley, has already used it to study superconductors, which need intense cold to function. The diffractometer allowed them to see fundamental changes in the material’s electronic structure as the temperature decreased.

    In the future, Nelson expects scientists will use the tool to examine materials at very high temperatures, under an electric or magnetic field, or in an environment with a custom atmosphere.

    “It’s a very versatile instrument,” said Nelson.

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    The newly acquired diffractometer before its installation at NSLS-II.

    The diffractometer additionally allows researchers to study magnetism. Similar to the way polarized sunglasses only let in light oriented in a certain direction, NSLS-II produces ‘polarized’ beams of x-rays that are all lined up the same way. When these x-rays interact with magnetic areas of a sample, their orientation shifts. The diffractometer can detect these subtle changes, allowing researchers to study a material’s different magnetic characteristics.

    A group from the University of Toronto used this feature to study the magnetic properties of “double perovskites.” Although these materials are structurally similar to those used in prototype solar cells, the Toronto group is most interested in their unique magnetic properties and potential applications in quantum computing and information storage.

    Nelson looks forward to welcoming future research teams to use the new instrument at NSLS-II. “It’s yet another tool that enables the cutting-edge discoveries that happen here,” she said.

    NSLS-II is funded by the DOE Office of Science.

    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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