Civil engineer plays key role in construction of Brazil’s light source

Sirius is the only light source in Latin America and is located at the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials. Mayara Adorno is a civil engineer and her role has been to oversee the technology control of the structures that house the synchrotron machine.

In her #LightSource Selfie, Mayara explains how she was attracted by the opportunity to work on a large project, taking it from paper plans through to completion. As with all large scale science facility construction projects, there were daily challenges for Mayara and her engineering colleagues. She says, “I’ve learned a lot from the project and this was very important for my professional and personal growth. I would advise any young engineer not to give up on your dreams and, this way, become a person who always wants to be open to learn and teach.” “It makes me really proud to know that Sirius has turned into the great science infrastructure from the efforts and dedications of many professionals from different areas, including myself.”

Mayara Adorno, Civil Engineer, at Sirius

Be curious and stay curious!

Luisa Napolitano is a staff scientist working in the structural biology lab at the Elettra Sincrotrone in Trieste, Italy.

In her #LightSourceSelfie, Luisa talks about switching from cellular biology to structural biology and how proud moments come when you solve a structure that you have been working on for years.

Her fantastic lab tour explains how the equipment enables you to prepare proteins for a range of experimental techniques, including crystallography, electron microscopy, SAXS and NMR. Luisa also explains why it is so valuable to have a structural biology lab located at the synchrotron where beamline staff are on hand to give you advice about your research.

Finally Luisa touches on the way her work as a scientist is helping to inspire her 9 year old son. She offers this advice to younger peers, “Be curious and stay curious! Don’t be afraid and try, even if you think something is too much for you. Try it because you never know. It was like me when I started in structural biology at the beginning, I was scared but at the end of the story I like structural biology a lot, and I don’t think I will change my field of action anymore.”

A recipe for successful science

Synchrotrons and free electron lasers (FELs) look stunning. The experimental equipment is state-of-the-art, which makes being a light source user both exhilarating and nerve racking. A key ingredient for success is excellent support from the beamline staff on the experimental station you are using. As Kuda Jakata, a postdoc who supports users at the ESRF in Grenoble, France, says in this #LightSourceSelfie, “The light sources community, they are very helpful people and they actually want to push boundaries and so they work hard and they do a lot of really interesting science.”

#LightSourceSelfies Monday Montage!

That 1st light source experiment: The best way to understand is to experience!

Sae Hwan Chun, beamline scientist and condensed matter physicist at the PAL XFEL

Sae Hwan Chun is a beamline scientist and condensed matter physicist at the PAL XFEL is South Korea, one of the seven XFEL facilities in the collaboration. Sae Hwan is able to research ultra-fast and dynamic phenomena in condensed matter by using the femtosecond X-ray pulses that XFELs generate.

In his #LightSourceSelfie, recalling his first synchrotron experiment at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Sae Hwan said, “I thought that I understood how to do the experiment, but actually doing it was a completely different matter. It was like even though you pass a written exam for a driving license your mind goes blind to when you actually drive a car for the first time. This first day gave me a lesson that you should experience something if you want to understand it.”

Light source users don’t have to be experts

Aeriel Murphy-Leonard, Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, was studying magnesium alloys in graduate school when she first heard about synchrotron sources. Aeriel’s first thought was that a synchrotron sounded like something out of a Marvel film!

In her brilliant #LightSourceSelfie, Aeriel describes how she was able to conduct her first experiment at CHESS, the synchrotron at Cornell University in New York. Having recovered from the initial alarm that the synchrotron is located under the university’s soccer fields, Aeriel had an amazing experience and describe the wonderful support she received, and expertise she gained, during this and subsequent user visits to CHESS. Aeriel says, “One thing I’ve learned that’s very valuable about CHESS, or just synchrotrons in general, is that you don’t have to be an expert. I think that’s the biggest takeaway I would like to give in this video is that you do not have to be an expert. I had no idea what it was, did not even understand, and I was able to learn from the beamline scientists and what I’ve always enjoyed about CHESS as a facility is that it’s very educational focused. You can come in not an expert and leave with a lot of expertise.”

Aeriel is passionate about supporting young professionals, particularly those from minority groups. She shares her experiences in her lifestyle blog (, which is aimed at young professionals, particularly those that are in graduate school or professional school.

Preparing yourself for setbacks

Experimental time at light sources is precious. It can also be unpredictable as Ro-Ya Liu, a Beamline Scientist at NSRRC in Taiwan, discovered during her first synchrotron experiment at the Photon Factory in Japan. As setbacks go it was a pretty dramatic one, as you’ll discover in this #LightSourceSelfie. Quinn Carvalho, a PhD student at Oregon State University and a user at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) in California, advises light sources users to, “Go into anything with a healthy mentality of optimism, but a realistic sense of what will go wrong. Things will go wrong and you will have to overcome those, so being able to face failure and embrace it and learn from it is much more valuable than fearing it, I think.”

A scientist’s life: At the edge of what is known

Quinn Carvalho is a PhD student at Oregon State University and a user at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California. Quinn and his colleagues are using spectroscopic techniques to develop design strategies for electrocatalysts that will provide the resources we need for a carbon-free world. In his #LightSourceSelfie, Quinn shares what excites him about his research and his experiences on the support provided by beamline staff at the ALS. Reflecting on what drives him as a research scientist, Quinn explains, “That moment when you realise that you’re the first person to observe, measure and describe a physical phenomenon is one of the greatest sensations I’ve experienced as a professional and something that motivates me still to this day.”

Life in synchrotron radiation research

Including the day an earthquake interrupted my beam time!

Today’s #LightSourceSelfie is brought to you by Ro-Ya Liu, Assistant Research Scientist at NSRRC, operators of the Taiwan Light Source and the Taiwan Photon Source. Ro-Ya’s research area is focused on probing the electronic structure of novel materials by using angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy. She was inspired by her Master’s supervisor whose eyes shone as he presented his new data on the quantum well state of ultra-high silver thin film. Ro-Ya wanted to experience this spark and purpose in life. After a shaky first experiment (literally shaky due to an Earthquake!), Ro-Ya has done just that during a career that has already involved working at the Taiwan Light Source, the Photon Factory, Spring 8, HiSOR, Elettra, the Advanced Light Source and Diamond Light Source. Ro-Ya is still learning from colleagues including beamline engineers and users coming to conduct experiments at the Taiwan Light Source. Their deep knowledge helps Ro-Ya in her beamline manager role. She is looking to dig deep to acquire this knowledge and continue to find great purpose in her life in synchrotron radiation research.

Collaboration: a watchword for the light source community

Scientists Nina Perry and Nina Vyas, from Diamond Light Source ( – the UK’s synchrotron), along with SaeHwan Chun, scientist at the PAL-XFEL ( – the Free Electron Laser in South Korea) talk about a theme that is common to all light sources around the world, and indeed to science and all its associated disciplines. Cooperation and collaboration, and their benefits for scientists’ wellbeing as well as the science, are highlighted in this #LightSourceSelfie video.

Nina Perry & Ninya Vyas, on Beamline B24 at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron science facility

Photon Science: A career of creativity & intriguing questions awaits

Markus Ilchen is a physicist at FLASH, the world’s first short wavelength free-electron laser. FLASH is located at DESY in Hamburg. The DESY campus is a ‘small city’ of science offering a versatile and vibrant culture for a wide variety of professions and scientific disciplines. In his #LightSourceSelfie, Markus gives you a peek into some of the highlights on campus, describing some of its history and how FLASH’s unique capabilities will help him to study the chirality (handedness) of molecules. Contributing to solving the mystery behind what chirality does in our universe, drives him and his colleagues.

For those starting out in photon science, Markus has this advice, “Enjoy the great choice! But still of course find your sweet spot. Find your place where you have fun; where you can be yourself; where you can work with nice people; where you are working on intriguing questions; where you can be creative and enjoy the freedom of science in a way that, for one, it keeps you up at night but in a good way.”

World changing science

Marion Flatken is a 3rd year PhD student working in the Department Novel Materials and Interfaces for photovoltaic solar cells led by Prof. Dr. Antonio Abate, at HZB.

In her #LightSourceSelfie, Marion describes the perovskite solar cell research she is undertaking and reflects on the opportunity light sources present to scientists.  She says,

“We are really having the chance to work in a unique environment and to use the knowledge and the facilities and the resources that we have to really change the world literally.”

Marion Flatken’s #LightSourceSelfie

Beamline filming location: HZB ASAXS-Instrument, FCM-beamline at PTB laboratory (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt), BESSYII

Beginning your light source journey

Scientists who use synchrotrons such as the Advanced Light Source in California and CHESS at Cornell University, along with staff scientists at Free Electron Lasers in South Korea (the PAL-XFEL) and California (LCLS at SLAC), reflect on how they felt the first time they used a light source facility to conduct research experiments.  The expertise available from the staff scientists who work on the beamlines is also highlighted in this #LightSourceSelfie video.

#LightSourceSelfies: Dedication to single crystals

Dohyun Moon is a Beamline Senior Scientist at the Pohang Light Source II in South Korea.  His main work is supporting users visiting the facility for supramolecular crystallography experiments.  Dohyan’s research involves characterising the structure of single crystals using crystallography.  He is constantly researching the inside of unknown materials and getting good singe crystals challenges and motivates him every day.  Hear him talk about his light source journey, aspirations for the future and advice for those considering entering into the realm of light sources. 

#LightSourceSelfies – Light Source scientists are innovators

Kathryn Janzen is an Associate Scientist and User Experience Coordinator at the Canadian Light Source. During her #LightSourceSelfie, Kathryn reflects on the light source community saying “The contacts between light sources are really important and everyone is very interested in sharing ideas. We’re also really interested in innovating and finding new ways to use the light source and finding new applications for old techniques.”

#LightSourceSelfies Monday Montage – Learning

This #MontageMontage features Kathryn Janzen from the Canadian Light Source (CLS), Nina Vyas and Nina Perry from Diamond Light Source, and Aerial Murphy-Leonard, who conducts experiments at CHESS.  Learning through experience is the best way when it comes to experiments at synchrotrons and Free Electron Lasers.  As Nina Vyas reflects, “It is very nice to learn new things and its quite easy to pick up lots of new skills in science.”

Kuda’s #LightSourceSelfie

Kudakwashe Jakata is a Post-Doc in Materials Science at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France.  He first experienced the ESRF as a user and reflects on the challenges of his early tomography experiments, what gets him up every day and a future where African scientists can conduct experiments at a light source based in Africa.