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ALSNews Vol. 312 Print
Real-Time Chemical Imaging of Bacterial Biofilm Development
Almost all bacteria can form biofilms--dynamic communities of cells enclosed in self-produced matrices of polymers. Coordinated collectively, these bacteria defend against antagonists, break down recalcitrant materials, and produce biofuels. Researchers from Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and UC Berkeley have developed a robust and label-free method to probe the chemical underpinnings of developing bacterial biofilms, coupling infrared (IR) rays from ALS Beamline 1.4.3 to the first open-channel microfluidic platform to determine the chemistry that shapes biofilm development.  Read more...

Contact: Hoi-Ying Holman

New ALS Website Coming Next Month
A new ALS Web site is in the works and will replace the old one next month. Keep an eye out and tell us what you think. You can continue to keep up to date with ALS science highlights, news, and events by joining us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

LBNL Open House on Saturday, October 2
Berkeley Lab will be hosting an Open House on October 2. If you would like to attend, you must register online. For details, visit the Web site.

Visitors will learn about ALS science on self-guided tours around the ring. What would you like people to know about the ALS? Please give us your feedback so we can showcase the most important and interesting aspects of the ALS with visitors.

ALS is Focus of Berkeley Lab Photographers
Liz Moxon of the ALS Communications Group recently invited budding photographers from the Berkeley Lab Photography Club to explore the ALS as their subject. About 20 members of the group took pictures of everything from the LINAC to equipment shrouded in aluminum foil. Their photos will be on display as part of a Photography Exhibit and Competition at the upcoming ALS Users' Meeting and potentially for the Berkeley Lab Open House (see above). Some of their photos may be viewed here.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint at the ALS
The Molecular Biology Consortium (MBC) is a group of universities and research institutes whose mission is to provide biologists access to a synchrotron x-ray source for structural studies of biologically important molecules.

The MBC, which runs on ALS Beamline 4.2.2, pioneered remote data collection at the ALS beginning in February of 2007. Remote operations allow users to perform experiments from their home institutions as easily as if they were on the ALS experiment floor. Over 98% of data collected in the MBC is done without the researcher ever stepping foot in the ALS.

By collecting data from as far away as Taiwan, Japan, and India instead of traveling to the ALS, users are reducing their carbon footprint. Using conservative estimates for beam time allotted and number of trips from each member institution, the MBC saves approximately 90 tons of carbon per year. This means at least 300 tons of carbon have not been dumped into the atmosphere in the name of science since 2007. Remote access techniques are and can be used by other beamlines of the ALS, which would multiply carbon savings. Other beamlines currently serving users with remote access are Beamlines 5.0.1, 5.0.2, 5.0.3, 8.2.1, 8.2.2, and 12.3.1.

Successful GPU Workshop Held at Berkeley Lab
Does your computer spend too much time analyzing data? Have you heard about graphical processor unit (GPU) computing?

Approximately 140 Berkeley Lab staff, postdocs, and students from a variety of technical backgrounds (see chart) gathered to get answers at the GPU Computing Workshop held on Friday, July 30, co-organized by the ALS, the Computational Research Division (CRD), and the Physical Biosciences Division. Attendees heard perspectives on the future of GPU computing in x-ray science from Bob Schoenlein (ALS), and on the future developments of GPU computing from Horst Simon (CRD/NERSC/UCB) and Nvidia.

Talks were presented on GPU computing applications in various research areas and on GPU computing algorithms. Several sponsors displayed their latest GPU servers and gave tutorials on using their software solutions without extensive programming knowledge. Many attendees commented about their enthusiasm for GPU computing and their elevated confidence in implementing it in their research.

For more information, or to view a video of the workshop (coming soon), visit their Web site or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

ueccornerUEC Corner
Award and UEC Nominations

I'd like to remind you of two items relating to the fast-approaching ALS Users' Meeting (October 13-15, 2010). First, register for the meeting. Fees increase Friday, September 24. Then, please take the time to nominate a worthy individual (or team) who has made a significant contribution to the scientific and/or user support programs at the ALS. Fill out the online nomination forms for the David A. Shirley (Science), the Klaus Halbach (Instrumentation), and the Tim Renner (Service) Awards. The nomination deadline is September 15, 2010.

Please also consider nominating yourself or another user for election to the Users' Executive Committee. The UEC represents the interests of all users to ALS management and DOE. We need talented individuals to help us accomplish this goal. Please contact David Osborn, Phil Heimann, or Holly Barth to learn more or to submit a nomination.

All users are welcome to contact their UEC representatives to raise issues of concern relating to their own research, or to alert us to issues facing our whole community.

Contact: David Osborn
opsinfoOperations Update
For the user runs from July 8 to August 9, 2010 (including the first week of 2-bunch user operations), the beam reliability [(time scheduled - time lost)/time scheduled)] was 97.8%.  For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 39.0 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 59 minutes. There were no significant interruptions.

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
Real-Time Chemical Imaging of Bacterial Biofilm Development
New ALS Website Coming Next Month
LBNL Open House on October 2nd
Photo Club Takes on the ALS
Carbon Footprint at the ALS
Successful GPU Workshop Held at Berkeley Lab
Ring Leaders: Safety First!

ringleadersRing Leaders
Safety First!

ALS Safety officer Jim Floyd gives an update on the Environment, Health and Safety Division's new people and projects. Read the Article
Science Cafés

ALS Science Cafés will return in the fall. If you are interested in presenting, please go to the ALS Science Café Web page.
Guest House Special

Visiting Berkeley Lab? Book accommodations at the new Berkeley Lab Guest House located on site. The current special features discounted rates, no occupancy tax, and free parking; visit the Web site for more information.
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