Vol. 3, No. 5 - December 2013

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Contents of this Issue


From the Interim Director of LCLS: Happy Holidays

At this time of the year, we send out best wishes for peace and prosperity to all. We hope that staff and users are able to enjoy time with family and friends over the holidays and extended down time. SLAC will shut down on December 21st and will reopen January 5th. We look forward to an exciting year 2014.

LCLS Users' Organization Update

A record crowd of about 400 people participated in the annual joint LCLS and SSRL users' meeting and workshops, held Oct. 1-4, 2013. Although a few speakers were not able to attend due to a lapse in US federal funding, the meeting continued as planned.

Christian Bressler (XFEL), a co-chair of the conference and the LCLS Users Executive Committee, commented, "First and overall, we found this a very successful users meeting! Attendance was excellent. We were deeply impressed by the high quality of science and facility progress. The new LCLS II plans excited everybody around. There were very excellent workshops, which attracted many scientists." The program was scheduled so that simultaneous breaks brought many people together for interactions in the tent where the refreshments, posters and exhibits were set up. The registration fee was kept low this year (and was waived for students) to encourage more participation by Ph.D. students and postdocs.

In conjunction with the event, interested scientists participated in the LCLS Users' Organization meeting, which was an open discussion with LCLS Interim Director Uwe Bergmann. The users acknowledged and thanked LCLS management and the User Research Administration group for their communications and interactions throughout the year.

Users also applauded and thanked the 2012-13 UEC Chair Jan Luning, the 2013-14 UEC Chair Christian Bressler, and retiring UEC members Todd Ditmire, Thomas Earnest, Siegfried Glenzer, Stefano Marchesini and Oleg G. Shpyrko for their service. The UEC looks forward to working with newly elected LCLS UEC Vice Chair Philippe Wernet and members:

AMO: Nina Rohringer, CFEL
BIO: Petra Fromme, Arizona State
BIO: Ilme Schlichting, MPI Heidelberg
HCM: Steven Johnson, ETH Zurich
MEC: Gianluca Gregori, Oxford University

The LCLS UEC encourages users to share feedback and suggestions and to participate in events like the annual users' conference and workshops. If there are particular topics of interest for the next event, contact anyone on the UEC.

- Christian Bressler (European XFEL), LCLS UEC Chair

We are starting to plan the 2014 Users' Meeting and would appreciate input to identify the best dates for the next users' meeting. Please use this poll to indicate availability and preferred dates for the 2014 joint SSRL and LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops.


Ultrafast Phenomena in Cooperative Systems--Nonequilibrium Complex Matter Studied on Elementary Time Scales (Feb. 2-7, 2014)

This research conference provides a forum for discussion of optically induced non-equilibrium dynamics and photoinduced phase transitions in cooperative condensed-matter systems. The main focus of the conference is on time-dependent properties of fundamental and quasi-particle excitations, induced solid-solid and solid-liquid phase transitions, electronic and magnetic switching phenomena, and ultrafast processes in nanoscale systems. The range of material systems to be considered is intentionally broad and diverse, but common features are shared in their underlying dynamics. For more details, please visit the event site.

AAAS Symposium: U.S. National User Facilities, a Major Force for Discovery and Innovation (Feb. 15, 2014)

The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) is partnering with the DOE Office of Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sponsor a symposium at the 2014 AAAS meeting in Chicago. The symposium, America's National User Facilities, a Major Force for Discovery and Innovation, will be held 8:30-11:30 am on Saturday, February 15, 2014 in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Please inform your colleagues and plan to participate to help raise awareness about the benefits of using our facilities.

America's national scientific user facilities provide unique capabilities, instrumentation, and expertise annually to approximately 50,000 scientists and engineers from academia, government, and industry. For many of these individuals, a user facility is their laboratory—their primary platform for experimental research—and they gain access to these unique tools through peer-reviewed proposals. Much of the research is basic (discovery) research, but the rich interdisciplinary environment promotes interactions among scientists from diverse fields, institutional types, and countries to facilitate the translation of these discovery findings into solutions to real-world problems. This symposium will provide an overview of the capabilities offered by these national facilities, and will highlight outstanding recent examples of discovery and innovation stemming from work at these user facilities, including the development of energy-harvesting “solar shingles,” the discovery of the structure of key biological molecules, the development of new drugs, and the discovery and the contributions to our understanding of fundamental science.

The symposium will conclude with presentations by the major federal sponsors of the user facilities with reserved time for discussion of the policy challenges facing this key facet of America's scientific enterprise now and into the future. The speakers are Eric Isaacs (Director Argonne National Laboratory and soon-to-be Provost of The University of Chicago), Roger Falcone (Director Advanced Light Source at LBNL), Stephen Wasserman (Senior Research Fellow, Eli Lilly and Company), Eric Gawiser (Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University), Patricia Dehmer (Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of Science, DOE), and F. Fleming Crim (Assistant Director for Mathematics and Physical Sciences, NSF).


Call for MEC Optical-Laser-Only Proposals: Due Jan. 14, 2014

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) optical-laser-only program will dedicate shifts at the MEC instrument in the period from April 2014 to December 2014. The MEC instrument combines the LCLS free-electron X-ray laser beam with high-power optical laser beams, a large target chamber and a suite of diagnostics. MEC optical-laser-only proposals must be submitted by Jan. 14, 2014, to be considered for beam time anticipated to be during the summer and early fall of 2014.

The LCLS MEC optical-laser-only program aims to enable users to get access to LCLS MEC laser systems, target chamber and diagnostics, but without the LCLS X-ray beam. Optical-laser-only experiments may lead to an LCLS X-ray beamtime proposal. Special consideration will be given to:
  • High-energy-density-plasma science
  • Preliminary experiments leading to LCLS X-ray proposals
  • Proposals linked to experiments on the Jupiter Laser Facility
The optical-laser-only beamtime will have allocations of a maximum of two weeks per experiment. For this call we anticipate scheduling two optical-laser-only experiments because of the number of X-ray experiments scheduled and expected at MEC. SLAC scientists are not eligible for this proposal call.

Proposed experiments can use either the MEC nanosecond or femtosecond laser system. The MEC nanosecond laser system provides up to 30 J of energy. The MEC femtosecond laser system is undergoing an upgrade. For this proposal call, it is anticipated that the femtosecond laser system will be capable of delivering 1 J of energy in 40 fs duration. Additional information about the MEC instrument is available at

The MEC optical-laser-only proposals will be reviewed by members of the PRP MEC panel separately from the regular LCLS X-ray proposals.

MEC optical-laser-only proposals follow a similar format to the regular LCLS X-ray proposals, but must be submitted separately. LCLS proposals should be submitted through the User Portal.

Provide a descriptive title of your proposed experiment that you would be willing to be made public if awarded beam time. Provide a brief abstract that concisely summarizes the proposed experiment, which will be included in the proposal PDF. If it is anticipated that the optical-laser-only proposal will lead to an LCLS X-ray proposal, state this in the proposal. Optical-laser-only proposals are limited to four pages, including references, figures and sufficient information to evaluate the scientific goal, originality, risk, prior results and technical feasibility.

We strongly recommend that you contact one of the LCLS-MEC scientists: Hae Ja Lee (haelee@SLAC.Stanford.EDU), Bob Nagler (bnagler@SLAC.Stanford.EDU), Eduardo Granados (granados@SLAC.Stanford.EDU) or Phil Heimann (paheim@SLAC.Stanford.EDU) before proposal submission to discuss capabilities, to identify possible problems in integrating external equipment with the LCLS facility and to determine possible solutions. The MEC optical-laser-only proposal process and guidelines are described at the LCLS web site:

LCLS MEC optical-laser-only proposals must be submitted before 4 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.

Call for Run 10 Proposals: Due Feb. 11, 2014

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) encourages scientists from diverse fields to propose experiments utilizing the LCLS’s unique capabilities to be carried out October 2014 – March 2015.

Run 10 proposal process and guidelines are described at the LCLS web site:

Proposals must be submitted before 4 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.

New SLAC Traffic Safety Requirement

Staff and users are now required to complete SLAC Traffic Safety Training Course 154, which covers SLAC-specific traffic safety and driver responsibilities. This short course (~10 minutes) consolidates traffic safety information previously disseminated through other training material. Click here for more information and to launch the course (please complete by Jan. 15, 2014.)

SLAC Introduces New Ways to Connect

Every day at SLAC, scientists from all over the world focus their minds – and some of the most advanced scientific technologies – on the biggest challenges of our day.

We’re excited to introduce new ways for you to keep up with our lab's latest scientific breakthroughs, from designing better drugs to exploring the origins of the universe.

Stanford Guest House Availability for Users

When making reservations at the Stanford Guest House, please make sure to identify yourself as a "User." During busy events such as Stanford graduations, reunions or homecomings, there will be a rolling block of rooms specifically for users. If no rooms are available, ask to be included on the wait list so they can contact you if space opens up.

Stanford Guest House
2575 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Front Desk: (650) 926-2800
Fax: (650) 926-5388

Tell Us About Your LCLS Awards, Publications, Theses and Patents

We need your help to keep up-to-date listings for LCLS-related awards, publications, student theses, patents and other forms of recognition. Remember to acknowledge the facility and funding agencies to help demonstrate the scientific impact of LCLS. We would also appreciate advance notice of LCLS related papers so that we can work to communicate the research results to broader audiences. Check out recent LCLS-related publications at


X-ray Laser Maps Important Drug Target

Researchers have used one of the brightest X-ray sources on the planet to map the 3-D structure of an important cellular gatekeeper known as a G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, in a more natural state than possible before. The new technique is a major advance in exploring GPCRs, a vast, hard-to-study family of proteins that plays a key role in human health and is targeted by an estimated 40 percent of modern medicines. Read more...

Scientists Prove X-ray Laser Can Solve Protein Structures from Scratch

A study shows for the first time that X-ray lasers can be used to generate a complete 3-D model of a protein without any prior knowledge of its structure.

An international team of researchers working at the Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory produced from scratch an accurate model of lysozyme, a well-studied enzyme found in egg whites, using the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and sophisticated computer analysis tools.

The experiment proves that X-ray lasers can play a leading role in studying important biomolecules of unknown structure. The special attributes of LCLS, which allow the study of very small crystals, could cement its role in hunting down many important biological structures that have so far remained out of reach because they form crystals too small for analysis with conventional X-ray sources. Read more...

Copper Shock: An Atomic-scale Stress Test

Scientists used the powerful X-ray laser at the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to create movies detailing trillionths-of-a-second changes in the arrangement of copper atoms after an extreme shock. Movies like these will help researchers create new kinds of materials and test the strength of existing ones.

This work, published Oct. 11 in Science, pinpointed the precise breaking point when the extreme pressures began to permanently deform the copper structure, or lattice, so it could no longer bounce back to its original shape. Such experiments provide a direct test of complex computer simulations that model the behavior of many millions of atoms within tiny samples of material. Read more...  


New X-ray Laser Technique Measures Atomic Vibrations Faster, More Accurately

SLAC Hosts Workshop to Plan Fourth-generation Light Sources

LCLS Powers Chain Reaction of Light: A New Tool for X-ray Studies

Completing the Circuit: SLAC-designed Chips Empower X-ray Science

New Technique Traces Ejected Electrons Back to Atomic Shells

SLAC Physicist Receives Free-electron Laser Award

Journal's Special Issue Highlights New Frontier of X-ray Lasers

LCLS Gets New Equipment, Upgrades During Downtime

Ribosome Research Takes Shape at SLAC

Rapid Beam-switching Allows SLAC X-ray Laser to Multitask


The Linac Coherent Light Source is a Department of Energy Office of Science-funded facility located at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. LCLS is the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser, allowing researchers to see atomic-scale detail on ultrafast timescales. The LCLS enables groundbreaking research in physics, chemistry, structural biology, energy science and many other diverse fields.

To join the LCLS Newsletter e-mail distribution list, please click this link or email Theresa Wong at


Last Updated: 13 January 2014
Content Owner: C. Knotts
Page Editor: T. Wong