Towards Heavy Fermions in Europium Intermetallic Compounds
For decades, intermetallic compounds of rare-earth metals have been favorite systems of the research community studying strong electron correlations in solids. Nowadays rare-earth intermetallics are often treated as model systems for studies of zero-temperature quantum critical phase transitions, since heavy-fermion rare-earth compounds (in which the electron effective mass is orders of magnitude larger than the bare electron mass) have provided the clearest evidence for these continuous phase transitions, which are controlled by such parameters as chemical composition, magnetic field, and pressure, rather than temperature. A new study of a europium-based compound by an international team led by researchers from the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany hints that this compound could join well-known compounds of cerium, ytterbium, and uranium as a new material suitable for research on quantum critical transitions. This finding is exciting, since physicists hope that the use of a new material will give an additional degree of freedom for researching quantum critical behavior. Read more...
Publication about this research: S. Danzenbacher, D.V. Vyalikh, Y. Kucherenko, A. Kade, C. Laubschat, N. Caroca-Canales, C. Krellner, C. Geibel, A.V. Fedorov, D.S. Dessau, R. Follath, W. Eberhardt, and S.L. Molodtsov, "Hybridization phenomena in nearly half-filled f-shell electron systems: Photoemission study of EuNi2P2," Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 026403 (2009).
Stochastic Domain-Wall Depinning in Magnetic Nanowires
Reliably controlling the motion of magnetic domain walls along magnetic nanowires is a key requirement for current technological development of novel classes of logic and storage devices, but understanding the nature of non-deterministic domain-wall motion remains a scientific challenge. A statistical analysis of high-resolution magnetic soft x-ray microscopy images by a Berkeley Lab–University of Hamburg group has now revealed that the stochastic behavior of the domain-wall depinning field in notch-patterned Ni80Fe20 (permalloy) nanowires depends strongly on the wire width and the notch depth. This result both provides valuable insight into the motion of magnetic-domain walls and opens a path to further technological developments in spintronics applications. Read more...
Publication about this research: M.-Y. Im, L. Bocklage, P. Fischer, and G. Meier, "Direct observation of stochastic domain-wall depinning in magnetic nanowires," Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 147204 (2009).
ALS Gets $11.3 M in Stimulus Funds for Facility Improvements
The ALS is receiving $11.3 million to help it maintain its position as one of the world's premier soft x-ray light sources. Four items from the ALS strategic plan have been approved for funding though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
First, the ALS will receive $5.8 million to increase brightness by replacing existing corrector magnets with hybrid multifunction sextupole magnets. This lattice upgrade would increase brightness by a factor of three in the center-bend-magnet beamlines and up to a factor of two in the insertion-device straights. Second, the ALS will receive $2 million to construct and install an elliptically polarizing undulator for the femtosecond soft x-ray Beamline 6.0.2, effectively doubling its capacity by enabling soft and hard x-ray branchlines to operate simultaneously. Third, the ALS will receive $2 million to equip beamlines with advanced CCD-based detectors developed at Berkeley Lab. These detectors, which are well beyond the commercially available state of the art, will dramatically increase the reach and scientific productivity of each of the beamlines where they are deployed. Fourth, the ALS will receive $1.5 million to develop a superconducting vector magnetometer with a magnetic field of over 5 Tesla in any orientation relative to the sample and photon polarization. The high magnetic field will allow experiments leading to novel insights into the magnetic structure of engineered magnetic nanostructures and materials not accessible by any other technique. It is estimated that the funding will create the equivalent of more than 19 jobs at the Lab and 65 jobs externally.
Beyond the items described above, several ALS-related infrastructure projects will also receive ARRA funds. The ALS User Support Building, currently under construction, has been forwarded $14.6 million for FY10 funding. The project, which has had funding challenges in the past, can now proceed uninterrupted and be completed in the most efficient way possible. Building 6, which houses the ALS experiment floor as well as offices, labs, and conference rooms, will receive $1.5 million to replace three aging air handling units that had some vibration issues, negatively impacting scientific studies, with higher-capacity and higher-efficiency units. Building 2, which provides office, laboratory, and conference-room space adjacent to the ALS, will receive $2.9 million for upgrades to its cooling system.
Visit recovery.lbl.gov for more details on all Berkeley Lab's ARRA projects.
UEC Corner: Users' Meeting Workshops, Deadlines, and Elections
The 16th annual ALS Users' Meeting is just a few weeks away: October 15–17, 2009. As in 2007, this year's meeting will be held jointly with The Molecular Foundry with a joint plenary, workshops, poster session, and banquet. Information will be posted on this site as it becomes available.
WORKSHOPS: This year's meeting will have a primary focus on research to further the United States' and the world's energy agenda. Workshops cover that theme and a broad spectrum of other issues, including detectors; x-ray diffraction; graphene; influenza; nanomagnetism; next generation light sources; numerical modeling; quantum systems, clusters, and assembled materials; spectroscopy; tailored materials; and polymers. The complete list can be found online.
AWARDS: Nominations for the Shirley (Science), Halbach (Instrumentation), and Renner (Service) Awards will be accepted until Monday, August 31, 2009. This year's nomination process is different than in previous years. Nominators fill out a simple form.
POSTERS: The deadline for poster abstract submissions is also Monday, August 31, 2009. Students submitting posters have the opportunity to compete for three poster awards, with the winner being given an opportunity to speak at the Friday morning session.
LODGING: The Berkeley Lab Guest House is nearing completion, and we expect that it will be ready to accept guests by the time of the meeting. However, reservations are not being accepted just yet. Check this Web site frequently if you would like to be one of the first guests. A block of rooms has also been reserved at the Hotel Durant.
UEC ELECTIONS: Finally, the ALS Users' Executive Committee will be electing three new members and one student representative this fall. Nominations will be accepted until October 15, 2009, and voting will begin on October 16, 2009, on the second day of the meeting. Nomination instructions will be provided on the ALS Users' Meeting Web site in August.
DOE, UC Berkeley, and City of Berkeley Officials Visit
It's been a busy month for the ALS and Berkeley Lab, with several high-profile visits from federal, state, and local government representatives. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Stephen Chu visited both the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Berkeley Lab on a West Coast trip in late June. At SLAC, Chu spoke to a crowd of 700 about the energy challenges facing our country and how science can contribute solutions. Across the bay, at Berkeley Lab where he served as Director from 2004 through 2008, Chu attended a small reception and heard presentations on a variety of research projects underway at the Lab, from carbon dioxide fixation to hydrogen storage to graphene breakthroughs, the latter given by the ALS's own Eli Rotenberg. Also in attendance were Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos, Lab Chief Operating Officer Jim Krupnick, ALS Division Director Roger Falcone, and Physical Biosciences Acting Division Director Paul Adams.
Chu and Rotenberg
On July 15, members of the University of California (UC) President's Associates visited Berkeley Lab for briefings on biosciences work at the Lab. The President's Associates include the spouses of UC Chancellors and Mrs. Judy Yudof, wife of UC President Mark Yudof. Roger Falcone welcomed the group and gave them an overview of the diverse research capabilities of the ALS. Beamline scientist Corie Ralston followed with a short presentation on structural biology research at the ALS with implications for diseases such as Alzheimer's and autism. Also, as part of a regular meeting with Lab leadership, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates toured the ALS and the Old Town area just up the hill. He also met with Berkeley High teachers and students who are participating in internships at the Lab this summer. Discussion topics also included Lab construction and truck traffic, the East Bay Green Corridor program, and possible collaboration on projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Deadline for ALS Doctoral Fellowships Extended to Aug. 14
The application deadline for ALS Doctoral Fellowships for the 2009–10 academic year has been extended to August 14, 2009.
ALS Doctoral Fellowships enable students who have passed their Ph.D. qualifying or comprehensive verbal and written exams to acquire hands-on scientific training and develop professional maturity for independent research. Applicants must be full-time, currently enrolled students in a Ph.D. program in the physical or biological sciences pursuing thesis research based on the use of synchrotron radiation. The fellowships are offered as one-year appointments with the possibility of renewal. Successful applicants will be compensated with an $18,000 annual stipend. Additionally, fellows will be matched with an on-site mentor and have access to ALS resources, including beam time. Fellows are expected to present their results at a meeting or as a seminar at the end of the fellowship year. For more information, go to the ALS Doctoral Fellowships Web page.
New Faces: Angel Hernandez Joins User Services Office
by Emma Floyd
The ALS User Services Office has a new member of the team. Administrator Angel Hernandez moved to the ALS last month from the Berkeley Lab Badge Office and is here to help new users settle in. He works on everything from guest processing to travel, and will also be dealing with parking, stipends, and other miscellaneous administrative needs. Angel is excited to be here, saying, "I have always admired what goes on at ALS and it makes me proud to support the world-class science here."
Angel graduated from University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in philosophy and has since worked for two security companies contracted by the Lab. At the ALS, Angel explains, "I'll be working with a combination of a lot of different departments, but [I'll see] mostly ALS users." He goes on to say, "I really enjoy working with people, and welcoming new guests to their new home, in a manner of speaking, is a delight."
His coworkers are happy to have him, and as Sharon Fujimura notes, "He's very soft spoken, but behind that, he's a firecracker." Inside sources also say Angel loves all kinds of food, enjoys cooking, and is getting married this winter. So if you have a question about parking, guest processing, or a great dessert recipe, contact Angel Hernandez at (510) 486-5268, or drop by his office, Building 6, Room 2212H.
[Editorial note: Emma Floyd is a journalism major working at the ALS this summer.]
Introducing: ALS Science Briefs
Members of the ALS Communications Section promote the scientific research going on around the ring by producing two or three science highlights per month. In order to keep up with the increasing number of scientific and technical accomplishments that we would like to present to our audiences, we are creating a new Web page called "Science Briefs," which will feature scientist-submitted highlights that contain a short description (200 words maximum) of recently published ALS-related work. These scientist-submitted "brief" highlights will also include one image, a caption, and the publication citation. All ALS users and beamline scientists are invited to download the template, which includes submission instructions, and submit at will!
For the user runs from June 16 to July 13, the beam reliability [(time scheduled – time lost)/time scheduled)] was 98.9%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 86.8 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 60 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
Long-term and weekly operations schedules are available here. Requests for special operations use of the "scrubbing" shift should be sent to Rick Bloemhard (
, x4738) by 1:00 p.m. Friday. View the ring status in real time here.