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  • richardmitnick 3:32 pm on February 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DESY, X-ray Lasers,   

    From DESY: “Taking high-speed snapshots of living cells with an X-ray laser” 

    DESY
    DESY

    2015/02/11

    X-ray imaging method captures living cells with unprecedented speed and resolution

    An international team led by Uppsala University and including scientists from DESY and the European XFEL has for the first time successfully imaged whole living bacterial cells with an X-ray laser. The method used in this experiment can produce results that are of higher spatial and temporal resolution than even the best optical microscopy techniques, with the added possibility of creating detailed 3D models of the cells. “When you really want to understand the details of a cell’s functions, you need it alive”, says Uppsala University Professor Janos Hajdu, one of the lead researchers in the experiment and an advisor to European XFEL. The technique, as described in the journal Nature Communications, allows scientists a clearer view into the complicated world of the cell.

    1
    Reconstructed electron density of a cyanobacterium. Credit: Gjis van der Schot/Universität Uppsala

    The method involves spraying the cells into a fine aerosol ahead of the pulses of an X-ray laser. This aerosol — literally a beam of living cells — has a thickness less than that of a human hair. The ultra-short X-ray pulses scatter from the individual cells and the resulting diffraction patterns are picked up by a detector. Computer programs, including several developed in collaboration between Uppsala and DESY, analyze the data and reconstruct the image of the cells.

    “While the X-rays destroy the cells in the process, an X-ray laser’s ultra-short flashes and high intensity allow the diffraction data to be captured quickly enough to get an accurate picture of the sample before it disintegrates. The flashes outrun the damage,” says Anton Barty, a DESY scientist at the Center for Free Electron Laser Science who is also a co-author of this paper.

    This technique, called “diffraction-before-destruction”, has been proven to work in several studies with biological and also with inorganic samples before. The cell imaging experiment took place at the LCLS X-ray laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. Two types of cyanobacteria were used in the study called Cyanobium gracile and Synechococcus elongatus. These cells have a roughly cylindrical shape that is immediately apparent in the reconstructions from the diffraction data.

    2
    Nomarski image of the same cyanobacterium, calculated from the recontruction. Credit: Gjis van der Schot/Universität Uppsala

    However, the leader of the experiment, Tomas Ekeberg, an assistant professor in molecular biophysics at Uppsala University, acknowledged that the pictures could have been even better but the data were more than the detectors could handle.

    “We so far can only accurately reconstruct to 76 nanometres resolution, but the data we collected indicates that we can get down to 4 nanometres, which is the size of a protein molecule”, Ekeberg says. A nanometre is a billion times smaller than a metre. The reason for the drop in resolution was what amounted to an overexposure, just like too bright of a light in a photograph. “This experiment was a proof-of-concept study”, says Ekeberg. “We will be able to obtain much higher-resolution pictures when we can use a filter to help reduce the overexposure.” adds Gijs van der Schot, a Ph.D. student with Ekeberg and the first author on the paper.

    Acquiring high-resolution micrographs from cells in conventional experiments has usually meant long exposure times and about a million times higher radiation doses than the dose that kills a living cell. As a consequence, much of what we know today about cells at high-resolution comes from dead material. The team’s new method can access the structure of living cells at practically instantaneous speeds, before radiation damage has time to set in. Each image is formed in femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second. Such a revolutionary tool could help scientists better understand some of the mysteries of cellular function and behaviour. Additionally, this technique opens the door for future 3D modelling of cells and cellular activities, and provides key insights to fundamental processes in several important areas of disease research.

    3
    X-ray diffraction pattern produced by a cyanobacterium at the LCLS. Credit: Gjis van der Schot/Universität Uppsala

    “This is a promising method for the European XFEL”, says Joachim Schulz, a scientist at European XFEL and one of the co-authors on the paper. “It could further expand the application of bio-imaging methods to users, opening possibilities to image living organisms.”

    The team plans to fine-tune the imaging method with further experiments and work on consistently developing images at higher resolution. Additionally, Ekeberg and van der Schot predict that future studies would attempt to develop the 3D cell division models or target particular structural information about the cells for bioinformatics.

    “The contrast is tremendous between images produced using this technique and those from traditional optical microscopy of living cells”, says Hajdu. “Few believed this was possible.”

    The future for imaging is getting even brighter in Hamburg, as the European X-FEL will soon start generating ultra-short, ultra-intense X-ray pulses at 300 times higher repetition rate than the best X-ray lasers today.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:09 pm on February 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CREMLIN, DESY   

    From DESY: “EU project CREMLIN connects European and Russian researchers” 

    DESY
    DESY

    2015/02/06

    The European Commission has given the green light for a new collaborative project: as part of the European research program Horizon 2020, the three-year project CREMLIN (Connecting Russian and European Measures for Large-scale Research Infrastructures) will create stronger links between European and Russian research institutions in the area of large-scale facilities and enable a more intensive scientific and technological cooperation.

    1
    The neutron source PIK close to St. Petersburg (picture: PNIP).

    “With CREMLIN we bring two research landscapes, with a longstanding tradition of scientific cooperation, even closer together,” says Prof. Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Directorate.

    A total of 13 European and 6 Russian research centers and institutions will join forces in the 1.7-million-euro project which seeks to improve the integration and facilitate the exchange between Europe and Russia. Scientific research programs , international access to various facilities or technical expertise will be matched with each other and coordinated into different work packages ” began with the Ioffe Röntgen Institute, a DESY-Kurchatov cooperation, will be extended by this project throughout all of Europe and Russia ,” says Martin Sandhop (DESY), who is coordinating the project.

    For some time, Russia has been planning the construction of new large-scale research facilities on its own soil. While Russia participates in European research facilities such as the European XFEL, FAIR, ESRF or in the LHC experiments at CERN, CREMLIN should also support European scientists to become engaged in major Russian projects. For example, the research program of the planned Russian Research Reactor PIK, close to St. Petersburg, can be coordinated with those of European neutron sources, or the ion acceleration system NICA could be aligned with FAIR.

    “Without scientific, technical and financial collaboration on an international level, the complex and large-scale research projects of today and tomorrow will not be achievable,“ says Helmut Dosch. “DESY is therefore proud to coordinate such a creative collaboration project, and we look forward to fruitful discussions with our Russian partners.” The project, which received excellent marks in its Commission assessment, is to be launched in autumn 2015.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:42 pm on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DESY,   

    From physicsworld: “Dark matter could light up giant mirror” 

    physicsworld
    physicsworld.com

    Oct 13, 2014
    Edwin Cartlidge

    A large metallic mirror previously used as a prototype for a cosmic-ray observatory will be reused by physicists in Germany to hunt for “hidden photons”. These exotic and hitherto unseen cousins of normal photons could account for some dark matter – the mysterious and invisible substance that appears to account for about 85% of the matter in the universe.

    Most dark-matter experiments try to detect weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), which are predicted by the theory of supersymmetry and interact with other matter only via the weak nuclear force and gravity. WIMP detectors aim to capture the tiny amounts of energy given off in collisions between the putative particles and atomic nuclei – usually in large detectors deep underground. However, about a quarter of a century has passed since the first such experiment started and not a single WIMP has been unambiguously detected.

    Supersymmetry standard model
    Standard Model of Super Symmetry

    Hidden photons are predicted in some extensions of the Standard Model of particle physics, and unlike WIMPs they would interact electromagnetically with normal matter. Hidden photons also have a very small mass, and are expected to oscillate into normal photons in a process similar to neutrino oscillation. Observing such oscillations relies on detectors that are sensitive to extremely small electromagnetic signals, and a number of these extremely difficult experiments have been built or proposed.

    Many different experiments

    “In the last few years, the interest in hidden photons has been growing,” says Jonathan Feng of the University of California, Irvine – partly because searches for other dark-matter candidates have “come up empty”. Also, physicists have realized that many different kinds of experiment can be built to try and detect hidden photons.

    Now, Babette Döbrich and colleagues at DESY in Hamburg, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and other institutes in Europe are using a portion of a spherical, metallic mirror to look for hidden photons. This was suggested in 2012 by physicists in Germany in a paper called Searching for WISPy Cold Dark Matter with a Dish Antenna. The scheme exploits the fact that hidden photons would interact with electrons – albeit feebly – and when they strike a conductor they would set the constituent electrons vibrating. These vibrations would result in normal photons being emitted at right angles to the conductor’s surface.

    A spherical mirror is ideal for detecting such light because the emitted photons would be concentrated at the sphere’s centre, whereas any background light bouncing off the mirror would pass through a focus midway between the sphere’s surface and centre. A receiver placed at the centre could then pick up the dark-matter-generated photons, if tuned to their frequency – which is related to the mass of the incoming hidden photons – with mirror and receiver shielded as much as possible from stray electromagnetic waves.

    Ideal mirror at hand

    mirror
    Reflecting on dark matter: giant mirror will seek dark matter

    Fortunately for the team, an ideal mirror is at hand: a 13 m2 aluminium mirror used in tests during the construction of the Pierre Auger Observatory and located at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Döbrich and co-workers have got together with several researchers from Karlsruhe, and the collaboration is now readying the mirror by adjusting the position of each of its 36 segments to minimize the spot size of the focused waves. They are also measuring background radiation within the shielded room that will house the experiment. As for receivers, the most likely initial option is a set of low-noise photomultiplier tubes for measurements of visible light, which corresponds to hidden-photon masses of about 1 eV/C2. Another obvious choice is a receiver for gigahertz radiation, which corresponds to masses less than 0.001 eV/C2; however, this latter set-up would require more shielding.

    The DESY/Karlsruhe experiment – provisionally named FUNK (Finding U(1)’s of a Novel Kind) – will not be the first to search for hidden photons. The CERN Resonant WISP Search (CROWS) at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, which has been running since 2011, looks for both hidden photons and other low-mass dark-matter particles, such as axions. Also looking is the Axion Dark Matter Experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle. Although, as its name suggests, this facility has been set up mainly to detect axions, it can nevertheless probe the existence of hidden photons down to very low interaction strengths. The advantage of FUNK over its rivals, says Döbrich, is that it will be able to operate across quite a broad range of frequencies – just how broad will depend on the availability of suitable electromagnetic detectors and the performance of the mirror.

    Fritz Caspers of CERN applauds FUNK’s “very nice” design, but has concerns about how difficult it will be in practice to shield the mirror from electromagnetic interference. “The devil is always in the detail,” he says. He also wonders why Döbrich and colleagues did not “go directly” to look for emitted radio-frequency radiation using a radio telescope, with a dish up to perhaps 100 m across, rather than the smaller version they will use. “You could easily find much bigger mirrors in the world,” he says. Döbrich points out that in terms of optical measurements, their mirror is a very good choice.

    The research is described in a preprint on arXiv.

    See the full article here.

    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

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  • richardmitnick 9:04 am on October 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DESY,   

    From DESY: “How ceramics get super-tough” 

    DESY
    DESY

    09.10.2014
    No Writer Credit

    Scientists find new toughening mechanism

    Researchers have identified a previously unknown mechanism that makes a rare kind of ceramics super-tough. The findings may show a way to compose super-hard and super-tough ceramics for industrial application, as the team around DESY scientist Dr. Nori Nishiyama reports in the journal Scientific Reports.

    image
    At the fractures wormlike structures made of amorphous silica form (center). Credit: Nori Nishiyama/DESY

    The researchers investigated a material called stishovite, a rare version of silica that forms under high pressure for instance in meteorite impacts and inside the earth below about 300 kilometres of depth. Stishovite is a ceramic of the oxide group. “It is the hardest oxide known to date, even harder than ruby or sapphire,” says Nishiyama. While ceramics in general can be very hard, they tend to be very brittle also, breaking easily. Its brittleness prevented stishovite from being used industrially.

    But in 2012, Nishiyama and co-workers had synthesized nanocrystals of stishovite and could show that bulk stishovite made up of such nanocrystals is not only very hard, but also becomes very tough, reaching the toughness of zirconia, the toughest ceramic known. The reason for this toughening of stishovite remained elusive until recently.

    With a clever combination of electron microscopy and X-ray investigations at DESY’s synchrotron light source PETRA III (beamline P02.1) and at the Japanese synchrotron light source SPring-8, the researchers could now identify the previously unknown mechanism that makes nanocrystalline stishovite so exceptionally tough. Stishovite forms under high pressure and is only metastable under ambient conditions. Metastable means that if enough energy is added in some form (for instance via a fracture or via high temperature), it switches to a different configuration.

    petra iii
    Petra III

    SPring8 Japan
    SPring-8

    Stishovite uses the energy from a fracture to switch from a tetragonal crystal into amorphous silica, as the researchers found. “Actually, the transformation from stishovite to amorphous silica resembles the melting of ice,” explains Nishiyama. “Both are crystal-to-amorphous transformations that occur outside the stability field.”

    The scientists had produced nanocrystalline bulk stishovite and ripped it apart. They then looked at the fracture sites with an electron microscope. The investigation revealed worm like silica structures that proved to be an amorphous phase of silica. “These ‘worms’ have diameters of some tens of nanometres,” says Nishiyama. Using X-ray spectroscopy the team could show that about half of the surface in the fracture area is covered by amorphous silica. The more amorphous silica was present, the tougher the fracture area got. This result indicates that the fracture-induced transition to amorphous silica indeed caused the toughening of the stishovite.

    “This transition instantaneously doubles the volume of the material, effectively pushing against the fracture and stopping it short,” explains Nishiyama. In a similar way zirconia gets its toughness. On a fracture, it switches from one crystal structure (tetragonal) to another (monoclinic), expanding its volume by 4 per cent. “The transition now observed in stishovite expands the volume by 100 per cent,” underlines Nishiyama. “It may be possible to create ceramics composites for industrial use that can exploit the toughening mechanism of stishovite.”

    The work was supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) within the program “Precursory Research Embryonic Science and Technology” (PRESTO) under the program title “New Materials Science and Element Strategy” (research supervisor Prof. Hideo Hosono).

    See the full article here.

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

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  • richardmitnick 3:27 pm on September 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From DESY: “Double topping-out celebrations at DESY” 

    DESY
    DESY

    Two new experimental halls for research light source PETRA III

    Today DESY celebrates the topping-out of two large experimental halls for the research light source PETRA III.Ten additional beamlines, which will serve in the PETRA III particle accelerator’s high intensity X-ray experiments, are under construction in a space measuring approximately 6000 square meters; the facility will also include en-suite offices and laboratory spaces for scientists.The experimentation capabilities at the PETRA III synchrotron radiation source will be considerably increased due to the expansion project.The first new beamlines of the 80-million-Euro-project will be ready for operation beginning in autumn 2015.
    Zoom (17 KB)

    pit

    “With the new experimental stations, we are significantly expanding the research capabilities of PETRA III, for example, with new nanospectroscopy and materials research technologies,” says Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors Professor Helmut Dosch at the event. “At the same time, we will be fulfilling the enormous worldwide scientific demand for the best synchrotron radiation source in the world.”

    Hamburg´s Science Senator Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt says: “The senate’s aim is to develop Hamburg into one of the leading locations for research and innovation in Europe.In order to do so, it is essential to further raise the profiles of universities and research institutions in close dialogue with all stakeholders.Hamburg already occupies a leading position in structural research.The ground-breaking cooperation between DESY, the university and their partners at the Bahrenfeld research campus has been clearly recognized internationally.With the two new experimental halls, PETRA’s synchrotron radiation will be made available to even more researchers from all over the world in the future.”

    “With a total of ten new beamlines, the allure of Hamburg as a location for cutting-edge research will continue to increase, nationally and internationally,” says Dr. Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph (BMBF), Chairperson of the DESY Foundation Council. “With its excellent research opportunities, PETRA III contributes to rapidly transfering the results of basic research into application while also strengthening the innovative power of Germany.”

    DESY’s 2.3-kilometre-long PETRA III ring accelerator produces high intensity, highly collimated X-ray pulses for a diverse range of physical, biological and chemical experiments.Fourteen measuring stations, which can accommodate up to thirty experiments, already exist in an approximately 300-metre-long experimental hall.The properties of light pulses, which PETRA delivers to the different measuring stations, are thereby precisely attuned to the different research disciplines.Using the extremely brilliant X-rays, researchers study, for example, innovative solar cells, observe the dynamics of cell membranes and analyse fossilised dinosaur eggs.

    PETRA III, the world´s best X-ray source of its kind, has been heavily over-booked since it began operations in 2009.The PETRA III Extension Project was begun in December 2013 to give more scientists access to the unique experimental possibilities of this research light source and to broaden PETRA III’s research portfolio in experimental technologies:measuring approximately 6000 square meters in their entirety, the two new experimental halls house enough space for technical installations of up to ten additional beam lines, and an additional 1400 square metres provide office and laboratory space for the scientists.The beam lines and measuring instruments in the new halls are under construction in close cooperation with the future user community and are, in part, collaborative research projects.Three of the future PETRA beamlines will be constructed as an international partnership with Sweden, India and Russia.

    Altogether approximately 170 metres of the PETRA tunnel and accelerator have been dismantled since February to build the new experimental halls. Since August, the accelerator, equipped with special magnets for producing X-ray radiation, has been under reconstruction within the new tunnel areas that have already been completed.After the preliminary construction phase of the experimental halls, they are to be developed further from December 2014 onward; the accelerator will at the same time resume operation.The experiments will re-start in the PETRA III experimental hall “Max von Laue” beginning in April 2015 and the first measuring stations in the new, still unnamed halls should gradually become ready for operation in autumn 2015 and the start of 2016.

    The extension’s total budget of approximately 80 million Euros stems in large part from the Helmholtz Association’s expansion funds as well as funds from the Federal Ministry of Research, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and DESY.Collaborative partners from Germany and abroad cover approximately one third of the costs.

    See the full article here.

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

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  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DESY, ,   

    From DESY: “Researchers X-Ray Living Cancer Cells” 

    DESY
    DESY

    27.02.2014

    Nanodiffraction opens up new insights into the physics of life

    Göttingen-based scientists working at DESY’s PETRA III research light source have carried out the first studies of living biological cells using high-energy X-rays. The new method shows clear differences in the internal cellular structure between living and dead, chemically fixed cells that are often analysed. “The new method for the first time enables us to investigate the internal structures of living cells in their natural environment using hard X-rays,” emphasises the leader of the working group, Prof. Sarah Köster from the Institute for X-Ray Physics of the University of Göttingen. The researchers present their work in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
    Zoom (17 KB)

    c ells
    X-ray scan of chemically fixed cells. Each pixel represents a full diffraction image. The colours indicate how strong the X-rays are scattered at each individual point. Credit: Britta Weinhausen/University of Göttingen

    Thanks to analytical methods with ever-higher resolution, scientists today can study biological cells at the level of individual molecules. The cells are frequently chemically fixed before they are studied with the help of optical, X-ray or electron microscopes. The process of chemical fixation involves immersing the cells in a type of chemical preservative which fixes all of the cell’s organelles and even the proteins in place. “Minor changes to the internal structure of the cells are unavoidable in this process,” emphasises Köster. “In our studies, we were able to show these changes in direct comparison for the first time.”

    The team used cancer cells from the adrenal cortex for their analyses. They grew the cells on a silicon nitrite substrate, which is almost transparent to X-rays. In order to keep the cells alive in the experimental chamber during the experiment, they were supplied with nutrients, and their metabolic products were pumped away via fine channels just 0.5 millimetres in diameter. “The biological cells are thus located in a sample environment which very closely resembles their natural environment,” explains Dr. Britta Weinhausen from Köster’s group, the paper’s first author.

    The experiments were carried out at the Nanofocus Setup (GINIX) of PETRA III’s experimental station P10. The scientists used the brilliant X-ray beam from PETRA III to scan the cells in order to obtain information about their internal nanostructure. “Each frame was exposed for just 0.05 seconds, in order to avoid damaging the living cells too quickly”, explains co-author Dr. Michael Sprung from DESY. “Even nanometre-scale structures can be measured with the GINIX assembly, thanks to the combination of PETRA III’s high brilliance and the GINIX setup which is matched to the source.”

    The researchers studied living and chemically fixed cells using this so-called nanodiffraction technique and compared the cells’ internal structures on the basis of the X-ray diffraction images. The results showed that the chemical fixation produces noticeable differences in the cellular structure on a scale of 30 to 50 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre).

    “Thanks to the ever-greater resolution of the various investigative techniques, it is increasingly important to know whether the internal structure of the sample changes during sample preparation,” explains Köster. In future, the new technique will make it possible to study unchanged living cells at high resolution. Although other methods have an even higher resolution than X-ray scattering, they require a chemical fixation or complex and invasive preparation of the cells. Lower-energy, so-called soft X-rays have already been used for studies of living cells. However, the study of structures with sizes as small as 12 nanometres first becomes possible through the analysis of diffraction images produced using hard X-rays.

    See the full article here.

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

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  • richardmitnick 3:31 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DESY,   

    From DESY: “Scientists watch nanoparticles grow” 

    DESY
    DESY

    27.03.2014
    No Writer Credit

    Analysis allows tailoring materials for switchable windows and solar cells

    With DESY’s X-ray light source PETRA III, Danish scientists observed the growth of nanoparticles live. The study shows how tungsten oxide nanoparticles are forming from solution. These particles are used for example for smart windows, which become opaque at the flick of a switch, and they are also used in particular solar cells. The team around lead author Dr. Dipankar Saha from Århus University present their observations in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie – International Edition.
    Zoom (17 KB)

    nano
    Top: Structure of the ammonium metatungstate dissolved in water on atomic length scale. The octahedra consisting of the tungsten ion in the centre and the six surrounding oxygen ions partly share corners and edges. Bottom: Structure of the nanoparticles in the ordered crystalline phase. The octahedra exclusively share corners. Credit: Dipankar Saha/Århus University

    For their investigation, the scientists built a small reaction chamber, which is transparent for X-rays. “We use fine capillaries of sapphire or fused silica which are easily penetrable by X-rays,” said Professor Bo Iversen, head of the research group. In these capillaries, the scientists transformed so-called ammonium metatungstate dissolved in water into nanoparticles at high temperature and high pressure. With the brilliant PETRA III X-ray light, the chemists were able to track the growth of small tungsten trioxide particles (WO3) with a typical size of about ten nanometres from the solution in real time.

    “The X-ray measurements show the building blocks of the material,” said co-author Dr. Ann-Christin Dippel from DESY, scientist at beamline P02.1, where the experiments were carried out. “With our method, we are able to observe the structure of the material at atomic length scale. What is special here is the possibility of following the dynamics of the growth process,” Dippel points out. “The different crystal structures that form in these nanoparticles are already known. But now we can track in real-time the transformation mechanism of molecules to nanocrystals. We do not only see the sequence of the process but also why specific structures form.”

    On the molecular level, the basic units of many metal-oxygen compounds like oxides are octahedra, which consist of eight equal triangles. These octahedra may share corners or edges. Depending on their configuration, the resulting compounds have different characteristics. This is not only true for tungsten trioxide but is basically applicable to other materials.

    The octahedra units in the solutions grow up to nanoparticles, with a ten nanometre small particle including about 25 octahedra. “We were able to determine that at first, both structure elements exist in the original material, the connection by corners and by edges,” said Saha. “In the course of the reaction, the octahedra rearrange: the longer you wait, the more the edge connection disappears and the connection by corners becomes more frequent. The nanoparticles which developed in our investigations have a predominantly ordered crystal structure.”

    In the continuous industrial synthesis, this process occurs so quickly, that it mainly produces nanoparticles with mixed disordered structures. “Ordered structures are produced when nanoparticles get enough time to rearrange,” said Saha. “We can use these observations for example to make available nanoparticles with special features. This method is also applicable to other nanoparticles.”

    See the full article here.

    desi

    DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. Researchers use the large-scale facilities at DESY to explore the microcosm in all its variety – from the interactions of tiny elementary particles and the behaviour of new types of nanomaterials to biomolecular processes that are essential to life. The accelerators and detectors that DESY develops and builds are unique research tools. The facilities generate the world’s most intense X-ray light, accelerate particles to record energies and open completely new windows onto the universe. 
That makes DESY not only a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year, but also a coveted partner for national and international cooperations. Committed young researchers find an exciting interdisciplinary setting at DESY. The research centre offers specialized training for a large number of professions. DESY cooperates with industry and business to promote new technologies that will benefit society and encourage innovations. This also benefits the metropolitan regions of the two DESY locations, Hamburg and Zeuthen near Berlin.

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  • richardmitnick 1:20 pm on January 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DESY, , ,   

    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 5:13 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DESY, , , ,   

    From ilc newsline: “LCIO 2.0 improves simulation coordination’ 

    Leah Hesla
    8 December 2011

    “The data model that transformed the linear collider detector community from a computational Tower of Babel into a group that inputs with one voice has gotten an update.

    ILC software developers released LCIO. 2.0 this autumn. The new version of LCIO, a particle event data model, includes features that help scientists cope with the increasingly sophisticated data being fed into particle event simulations.

    ‘We considerably improved the data model – in particular for the description of charged particle tracks – and put in little things from users’ requests or features we thought would improve physicists’ lives,’ said DESY’s Frank Gaede, one of the main developers of LCIO and coordinator of ILCSoft, one of two software packages for which LCIO is the core.”

    i3
    Illustration of the way LCIO works with multiple software formats. Image: DESY

    i5
    A t t event simulated and reconstructed using ILCSoft, one of two software programs with LCIO at its core. Image: DESY

    See the full article here.

     
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