2005 SRC Users Meeting
John Morgan, SRC Science Writer
Each year, numerous researchers and their students and post-docs visit and utilize SRC as part of their research programs. With three-week windows of opportunity to conduct their work, researchers come and go quickly and their interaction with each other is limited. In an effort to bring as many users together as possible in order to share their findings and interact collegially and socially with their peers, SRC has hosted 38 Users' Meetings since 1968.
The 2005 SRC Users' Meeting was held on October 14 and 15 at the Synchrotron Radiation Center in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Over seventy five participants were treated to presentations from twenty five speakers. As part of a revised format this year, the talks were divided into four main research areas of interest: Condensed Matter and Surface Science, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Life Sciences, and Chemistry and Nanoscience. Additionally, the meeting was augmented by a two-day poster session, which highlighted twenty six posters.
Joe Bisognano, Executive Director of SRC, opened the meeting by reporting on the State of the SRC. Coming off of an end-of-summer site visit from NSF reviewers and with final word of a five-year grant renewal pending, Dr. Bisognano was very optimistic about both the current state of SRC and its future. Of note, he stated, was SRC's commitment to providing users with a high level of support and reliable instrumentation and beam during their short visits. To enable this, Bisognano stressed the upgrades and maintenance of the SRC instrumentation, engineering and optics groups, exemplified by the recent commissioning of the VLS-PGM beamline and its use by researchers in their projects. Also of note is the diverse Education and Outreach activities at SRC, such as a summer research program for undergraduate students from colleges nationwide as well as SRC's involvement in a summer enrichment program for minority high school students interested in the sciences. The message was clear that SRC is moving in the right direction and is a leader as a world-class research facility, as is evidenced by the number and diversity of fascinating research projects being presented at the meeting itself.
Emblematic of SRC's leadership role in both emerging science and in fostering young scientists was the presentation of the Aladdin Lamp Award to Ganesh Upadhyaya, from the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering at UW-Madison. As part of the award, Upandhyaya presented his research via a talk titled: VUV Induced Hole and Photoemission Currents in Plasma Charged Gate Dielectrics.
The first session of the conference was devoted to research in the area of condensed matter and surface science. The first presentation by Mohit Randeria of The Ohio State University focused on research into superconductivity. "This talk summarized many years of effort to understand high temperature superconductivity. SRC has and still is playing leading role in this field developing new methodologies and results that bring us closer to solving one of the most important problems in physics," notes Adam Kaminski, Chair of the 2005 Users' Meeting, and assistant professor of Physics at Iowa State University.
Also noteworthy in this session was a presentation by Tomasz Durakiewicz of Los Alamos National Laboratory on the physics of 5f electrons in uranium compounds. Kaminski continues, "Actinites are very important from practical point of view (nuclear energy), but poorly understood. The physics of 5f electrons is extremely complicated and this effort conducted at SRC is making real progress in this field."
Kaminski also points to a presentation by Tom Miller, of the University of Illinois-Champaign, who reported on the Physics in Metallic Quantum Wells. "This is a leading group in quantum well effort with a long tradition at SRC," notes Kaminski. "The research may eventually lead to a new generation of electronic devices with easily tuned properties."
A talk by Kathy Gough of the University of Manitoba, illuminated the important role that SRC has played in her study of Alzheimer's diseased brain tissue. Research being done by Gough in collaboration with Bob Julian, SRC staff scientist, is leading the way for better understanding of this important disease that affects humans. In fact, in evidence of an emerging use of synchrotron light and SRC for this type of research, several invited presentations during the Life Sciences portion of the meeting, representing the major push of Life Sciences research at SRC. Hoi Ying Holman from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented recent Infrared Microspectroscopy studies examining the real-time observation of Oxygen Stress in sulfate reducing bacteria. And Chris Johnson from the UW-Madison Veterinary School presented extensive Photoemission Electron Microscopy studies on Prion Diseases.
In the area of atomic and molecular science, Ralf Wehlitz, program co-chair and staff scientist at SRC, noted the presentation by Aaron Covington, University of Nevada-Reno, who discussed the idea of using ions instead of atoms for photoionization experiments and a poster by Tom Kvale, University of Toledo, who is collaborating with Covington in building an ion source at SRC. "This will significantly broaden the research at SRC," explains Wehlitz.
The final event of the two-day meeting was the awarding of the best poster, which went to Ronke Olabisi, whose poster was titled: "X-Ray Spectromiscroscopy Captures Cross-Fibril Formation."