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ALSNews Vol. 341 Print
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 14:40

Space-Age Ceramics Get Their Toughest Test
Advanced ceramic composites can withstand the ultrahigh operating temperatures of jet and gas-turbine engines, but analysis of these materials at such temperatures has been a challenge. Now, a testing facility at Beamline 8.3.2 enables microtomography of ceramic composites under controlled loads at temperatures above 1600°C. Read more and watch a video about this research...

Contact: Rob Ritchie
Flipping Photoelectron Spins in Topological Insulators
Inherently strange crystalline materials called 3D topological insulators (TIs) are a hot topic in materials science. Now, scientists working at ALS Beamline 4.0.3 have found that the spin polarization of electrons emitted from TIs can be completely controlled in three dimensions when hit with a photon beam, simply by tuning the polarization of the incident light. Read more...

Contact: Chris Jozwiak
Tick Tock, Watch the Beamclock!
Since it was first introduced, the ALS beamline diagram has been informally known as "the beamclock." A new video, produced as part of the ALS 20th anniversary, transforms the static image into a literal clock. It marks time, not by hours or minutes, but by the addition of beamlines to the facility from 1993 to 2013. Watch the video...
Brighter Beam, Smaller Spot

During the most recent shutdown, all of the corrector magnets were replaced with sextupoles, reducing the horizontal emittance and increasing beam brightness. How is it affecting beamlines? Read the article.

Ring Leader: Simon Morton
As Instrumentation Manager for the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology, Simon Morton has been a member of the Physical Biosciences Division, but he is now transitioning to work 60% time for the ALS. He is responsible for developing new hardware and systems to improve ALS beamlines, looking at lessons learned from previous upgrades and applying them to other existing beamlines to cost-effectively upgrade the optics, improve performance, and make use of already-developed designs. Read more...
Science Cafe

ALS Science Café, NOTE DATE CHANGE: Wednesday, May 8, User Support Building, R15-253
Speakers include Chris Jozwiak and Stefan Minasian.

ICOLS 2013: 21st International Conference on Laser Spectroscopy
June 9-14, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA

VUVX2013: 38th International Conference on Vacuum UV and X-ray Physics
July 12-19, 2013; Hefei, China

ISWAMP2: 2nd Conference on Intense Field, Short Wavelength Atomic and Molecular Processes
July 20-22, 2013; Xi'an, China

June 20-24, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA

August 25-29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA

ALS User Meeting - Save the Date!
October 7-9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA
UEC Corner
The ALS User Experience

Synchrotrons offer a unique environment in that there is a common floor space and an opportunity for scientists from many different fields to interact, for better or worse! This can lead to creative collaboration or sometimes to open conflict.

The UEC is very interested in hearing about your user experience at the ALS. We will be discussing the issue of workplace environment and culture at the next UEC meeting (May 9) and hope you will share your experiences with us.

  • What is your view on the work environment at the ALS?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • How does the ALS compare to other synchrotron facilities?

Please feel free to contact any of the UEC members if you have any comments, positive or negative. We will consolidate your views and report back to ALS management.

Contact: Corie Ralston
Operations Update
Following an extended shutdown, user operations resumed on April 8. For the user runs from April 8 to April 15, 2013, the beam reliability [(time scheduled - time lost)/time scheduled)] was 88.6%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 125 minutes, there were nine beam interruptions, though no single interruption was longer than five hours.

More detailed information on reliability is available on the ALS reliability bulletin board, which is located in the hallway between the ALS and the control room in Building 80. Questions about beam reliability should be directed to Dave Richardson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , x4376).

Long-term and weekly operations schedules are available on the Web at Requests for special operations use of the "scrubbing" shift should be sent to Rick Bloemhard ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , x4738) by 1:00 p.m. Friday. A Web page showing the ring status in real time can be found at
In This Issue
Space-Age Ceramics Get Their Toughest Test
Flipping Photoelectron Spins in Topological Insulators
Tick Tock, Watch the Beamclock!
Brighter Beam, Smaller Spot
Ring Leader: Simon Morton
Daughters and Sons to Work Day
On Apri 18, more than 120 young people came to Berkeley Lab for Daughters and Sons to Work Day. As usual, touring the ALS and learning about the research conducted here was one of the highlights for the kids. Volunteer Will Thur, formerly an engineer at the ALS, led a tour around the ring (above) that ended atop the booster ring where the visitors got an overview of beamlines and a close look at the historic dome.
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