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ALSNews Vol. 338 Print

Director's New Year Address: Looking Forward and Celebrating 20 Years
2013-01-falcone We recently sat down with ALS Director Roger Falcone to talk about what 2013 has in store for the ALS. An immediate answer is - a celebration - as the ALS marks its 20th year of operation. We'll spend some time this year looking back at what we've accomplished over the past two decades and forward to how we'll continue to contribute to the future of scientific research. Read more...
Toward Design of a Universal Flu Vaccine
Scientists have determined the structures of antibodies that protect against broad classes of influenza strains. Greater understanding of these structures may aid in the eventual development of a universal vaccine, protecting against all types of influenza viruses and eliminating the guesswork that limits vaccine effectiveness. Read more...

Contact: Corie Ralston
New Species of Cyanobacteria Forms Intracellular Carbonates

A new species of cyanobacteria discovered in the Mexican Lake of Alchichica has been found to form amorphous intracellular carbonates, significantly modifying the traditional view of extracellular calcium carbonate precipitation and improving our understanding of the fossil record. Read more...

Contact: Karim Benzerara

Ring Leader: Doug Taube, ALS Chemical Safety Specialist
As a chemical safety specialist, Doug Taube oversees chemical safety and experiment reviews for both ALS scientists and users. A natural result of his job description is his broad knowledge of all the techniques and experiments taking place around the experiment floor. Because of this and his affable and enthusiastic demeanor, Taube has become a go-to ALS tour guide. It's a role he enjoys and views as an opportunity to enlighten others about the amazing and important scientific research underway here. Read more...
Industry @ ALS: Promising Magnesium Battery Research
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Alternatives to the current lithium-ion based car batteries are at the forefront of the automotive industry's research agenda - manufacturers want to build cars with longer battery life, and to do that they're going to have to find new solutions. Researchers from Toyota and ALS are studying magnesium (Mg) as a promising battery material as it is more dense than lithium, it is safer, and the magnesium ion carries a two-electron charge, giving it potential as a more efficient energy source. Read more...

Patented Technique Will Dramatically Advance Grating-Based Spectroscopy

A new type of ultra-high diffraction grating recently patented by members of the ALS Experimental Systems Group stands to revolutionize the resolution capabilities of soft x-ray spectroscopy. The key to the new technique is atomic precision, and the result is vastly improved efficiency over today's gratings, with an increase in resolution of up to a factor of 20 for similar conditions. Read more and watch a video about this work.

Reserve Early to Ensure Space at Berkeley Lab Guest House
Guest House LogoUsers coming to the ALS should plan ahead when reserving rooms at the Berkeley Lab Guest House. Its increasing popularity has caused rooms to be filled early, and some days this Spring are already blacked out. Dates of low to no availability include: April 7-12, May 15-22, June 23-28, July 7-12, and August 1-7. Make your reservations by emailing or calling the front desk directly at (510) 495-8000.
Science CafeALS Science Café
Friday, February 22 @ 12 noon, USB 15-253
The ALS Science Café returns next month with presentations from Dmitriy Voronov: "Towards perfect diffraction gratings with x-rays" (see story about this work, above) and Hendrik Bluhm: "Ice: Slippery when dirty?" A third speaker will be announced shortly. Light refreshments will be served.

UC Berkeley Condensed Matter Seminar Series (290K)
Mondays 2:30-3:30 in 3 LeConte Hall, UC Berkeley
This series targets the field of condensed matter science and is intended for all members of the Berkeley physics community, including those from Berkeley Lab.
UEC Corner
Looking Forward to an Excellent Year

I am very pleased to be taking over as chair of the UEC this year. We have excellent representation of the ALS user community with our new and continuing members:

  • Artur Braun, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
  • Chris Cappa, UC Davis
  • Mahati Chintapalli (student member), UC Berkeley
  • Scott Classen, Physical Biosciences Division, Berkeley Lab
  • Adam Hitchcock, McMaster University
  • Yves Idzerda, Montana State University
  • Jeff Kortright, Materials Science Division, Berkeley Lab
  • Kevin McCarty, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Peter Nico, Earth Sciences Division, Berkeley Lab
  • Corie Ralston (chair), Physical Biosciences Division, Berkeley Lab
  • David Shuh, Chemical Sciences Division, Berkeley Lab
  • Gyorgy Snell, Takeda San Diego
  • Yuri Suzuki, Stanford University
  • Brandy Toner (past chair), University of Minnesota


Many thanks to Brandy Toner for helping me navigate the first UEC meeting of the year. We covered many topics of concern to the user community. A few issues that users should be aware of:

- Space in the Guest House is becoming limited. Please reserve your rooms well in advance.
- The remaining buildings (4, 5, 7, 14 and 16) in the "old town" area will be undergoing demolition due to subsurface contamination issues. The date isn't set yet, but users should start planning ahead for the storage of endstations currently in Building 7.
- A landslide hazard has necessitated the evacuation of Building 46. Many of the occupants are being moved over to the User Support Building, so space there may be limited for a while.

It's never too early to start thinking about the User Meeting! This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ALS. The date is October 7-9 - save the date! - and our chairs are Scott Classen and Peter Nico. Please send them ideas for speakers and workshops.

As always, all users are encouraged to contact their UEC representatives with any concerns relating to their own research at the ALS, or to alert us to issues facing our whole community.


Contact: Corie Ralston

Operations Update

For the user runs from November 15 to December 20, 2012 (the end of the operational year), the beam reliability [(time scheduled - time lost)/time scheduled)] was 96.6%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 51.7 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 119 minutes. More than 10 hours of scheduled beam time were lost on December 1 owing to a combination of faults: an AC power variation, a complex water flow fault, and a large water leak in Sector 4.

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
Director's New Year Address: Looking Forward and Celebrating 20 Years
Toward Design of a Universal Flu Vaccine
New Species of Cyanobacteria Forms Intracellular Carbonates
Ring Leader: Doug Taube
Industry @ ALS: Promising Magnesium Battery Research
Patented Technique Will Dramatically Advance Grating-Based Spectroscopy
Reserve Early to Ensure Space at Berkeley Lab Guest House

2013 ALS Shutdown
The ALS shutdown is scheduled to begin Monday, February 4. Read more...
ALS Puzzle Pieces
Like puzzles? Some ALS Science Briefs will be featured via social media outlets in a new series called "ALS Puzzle Pieces." Visit our Facebook page and follow us on twitter this
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Monday, February 4, for the first piece of the puzzle.
APS Fellows
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Several ALS scientists were named 2012 APS Fellows. Read more about all the Berkeley Lab fellows.
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