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ALSNews Vol. 308 Print

In This Issue
Rotary Firing in Ring-Shaped Protein Explains Unidirectionality
Biomimetic Dye Molecules for Solar Cells
Photon Science for Renewable Energy: A News ALS Brochure
Everything You Wanted To Know About ALS Proposals, Beam Time Allocations
ALS Science Cafés Successful, Continue
VUVX 2010 Conference Update
Ring Leaders: Scientific Support Group

RingLeadersRing Leaders
Scientific Support
Division Deputy for Scientific Support Zahid Hussein introduces the Scientific Support Group's duties, goals, and achievements. Read the Article

Vogue Shines Light on the ALS

The April issue of
Vogue magazine features "Great American Women," including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose photo was taken in front of the microARPES endstation of the MAESTRO beamline (Sector 7). The computers all show Facebook, but the high-tech background of the endstation stands out behind Sandberg. Read the Vogue story

ALS Facebook Flourishing
After only one month, the Advanced Light Source Facebook fan page is thriving. Become a fan! Stay up to date with news, event notices, and science highlights, and help us reach our goal of 300 fans by August 1, 2010. Also check out our new twitter, YouTube and FlickR sites.

Guest House Special
Visiting Berkeley Lab? Book your accommodations at the new Berkeley Lab Guest House, located on site. Through June 2010 there will be discounted rates, no occupancy tax, and free parking; visit the Web site for details. See an ALS user's review of the Guest House.

WhosintheNews Who's in the News
ALS Visitors - See who visited the ALS this month!

NewsLinks News Links
Light Controls Matter, Matter Controls X-Rays

Lensless Imaging of Whole Biological Cells with Soft X-Rays

Attoseconds to spare: probing time on the electron-scale

ALS Scientist Wins Inaugural VUVX Conference Award

Alivisatos in innovation: Raising the Energy Level at the Berkeley Lab

Lab Generates Thousands of Jobs, Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

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Rotary Firing in Ring-Shaped Protein Explains Unidirectionality

Hexameric motor proteins represent a complex class of molecular machines that variously push and pull on biological molecules using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as chemical fuel. A specialized class of ring-shaped motor proteins, hexameric helicases, can unwind DNA strands and perform large-scale manipulations of single-stranded nucleic acids in processes such as DNA replication, DNA repair, and gene expression. To understand how certain hexameric helicases walk with directional polarity along single-stranded nucleic acids, Berkeley researchers used x-ray crystallography at ALS Beamlines 12.3.1 and 8.3.1 to solve the structure of a hexameric helicase, the Rho transcription termination factor (from E. coli), bound to both ATP mimics and an RNA substrate. The results showed that Rho functions like a rotary engine: as the motor spins, it pulls RNA strands through it's interior. Interestingly, the rotary firing order of the motor is biased so that the Rho protein can walk in only one direction along the RNA chain.  Read Full Highlight

Contact: James Berger

Biomimetic Dye Molecules for Solar Cells

Pressing energy problems provide opportunities for solid-state physicists and chemists to solve a major challenge: solar cell adoption. Though solar cells can use energy directly from the Sun to produce electricity that can be converted efficiently into other kinds of energy, they are currently too costly to compete with traditional (polluting) energy sources. The most cost-effective solar cells are not high-end, high-efficiency single-crystal devices, but rather low-end cells based on organic molecules or conducting polymers. Vital information for making organic solar cells more competitive for widespread implementation was obtained using near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy performed at ALS Beamline 8.0. The relevant energy levels of biomimetic dye molecules were mapped out systematically by determining their unoccupied molecular orbitals and their orientation. Organic molecules in dye-sensitized solar cells exhibit great potential to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of photovoltaic power generation by allowing a wide variety of chemical modifications and combinations with inorganic nanocrystals.  Read Full Highlight

Contact: Franz Himpsel

Photon Science for Renewable Energy
New ALS brochure highlights ALS contributions to advancing energy technology.

The quest for renewable, nonpolluting sources of energy requires us to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels. Because light sources are the scientific tools of choice for exploring the electronic and atomic structure of matter, they are uniquely positioned to jump-start a global revolution in renewable and carbon-neutral energy technologies.

To help raise awareness of the role that light sources can play in addressing our energy challenges, the ALS has published a new brochure titled "Photon Science for Renewable Energy at Light-Source Facilities of Today and Tomorrow." The 20-page booklet describes many specific ways in which studies performed at the ALS contribute to advancing energy technology. It is divided into seven sections: Sunlight to Electricity (solar power), Sunlight to Fuel (biofuel and artificial photosynthesis), Energy Storage: Batteries, Electrochemical Fuel Cells, CO2 Capture and Sequestration, Combustion, and Catalysis.

Copies will be available in the ALS lobby while supplies last. A PDF file of the brochure can be downloaded from the General Publications Web page.

Everything You Wanted To Know About ALS Proposals and Beam Time Allocations
General Science proposal cycle: submission to allocation.

Have you ever wondered how the beam time request and proposal process works? Sue Bailey, User Services Group leader, provides current and prospective users an in-depth look at the process. Read the Full Article here.

ALS Science Cafés Successful, Continue

At the ALS Science Café on March 31, Paulo Monteiro talked about green cement, Alexander Hexemer showed us "small angle x-ray scattering on very small patterns with very BIG impact," and Peter Zwart previewed his new SASTBX: Shapes and Curves software.

The next ALS Science Café will be held at noon on May 4 in Perseverance Hall. Sujoy Roy will show us the "Magnetic fridge: The clean technology refrigerator of the future," Dula Parkinson will explore everybody's favorite superpower: "Magnified 3D x-ray vision," and Hedrik Bluhm will present "Interfaces under ambient conditions: From aerosols to minerals." Join us for light refreshments and refreshing conversation!

VUVX 2010 Conference Update
11-16 July 2010, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Over 500 abstracts have been submitted to the
37th International Conference on Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-Ray Physics. More than 450 delegates from 30 countries are expected to attend. Early registration closes May 14, 2010. Those who submitted abstracts will receive notification of the type and date of their presentation by May 7th. For more information please see the conference Web site.

OpsInfoOperations Update
For the user runs from March 17 to April 11, 2010, the beam reliability [(time scheduled - time lost)/time scheduled)] was 96.7%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 29.4 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 66 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

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