Our #LightSourceSelfies campaign features staff and users from 25 light sources across the world. We invited them all to answer a specific set of questions so we could share their insights and advice via this video campaign. Today’s montage features Marion Flatken from BESSY II, in Germany, and Luisa Napolitano from Elettra, in Italy. Both scientists offered the same advice to those starting out on their scientific journeys: “Be curious and stay curious”. Light source experiments can be very challenging and the tough days can lead to demotivation and self-doubts. In these times, it is good to seek out support from colleagues, all of whom will have experienced days like this. Even if you think you can’t succeed with your research goals, try because it is amazing what can be achieved through hard work, tenacity and collaboration.
Photons have fixed spin and unbounded orbital angular momentum (OAM). While the former is manifested in the polarization of light, the latter corresponds to the spatial phase distribution of its wavefront. The distinctive way in which the photon spin dictates the electron motion upon light–matter interaction is the basis for numerous well-established spectroscopies. By contrast, imprinting OAM on a matter wave, specifically on a propagating electron, is generally considered very challenging and the anticipated effect undetectable.
We carried out an experiment at the LDM beam line at the FERMI free-electron laser, with the aim of inducing an OAM-dependent dichroic photoelectric effect on photo-electrons emitted by a sample of He atoms. The experiment involved a large international collaboration and surprisingly confirmed that the spatial distribution of an optical field with vortex phase profile can be imprinted coherently on a photoelectron wave packet that recedes from an atom. Our results explore new aspects of light–matter interaction and point to qualitatively novel analytical tools, which can be used to study, for example, the electronic structure of intrinsic chiral organic molecules. The results have been published in Nature Photonics.
Read more on the Elettra website
Image: A VUV free-electron laser (violet) is used to ionize a sample of He atoms, and an infrared beam (red) to imprint orbital angular momentum on photo-emitted electrons. Credit: J. Wätzel (Halle university)
Industrial high-strength fibre has been extensively used in daily lives. In addition to the well-known carbon fibre, “aramid fibre” has become the most comprehensive application and the largest production for the high-strength, flame retardant, and corrosion resistant fibre. Thus strong fibre is considered irreplaceable in fields such as national defense, aerospace, automotive, and energy materials. For flourishing market demand, an annual output of aramid fibre is nearly 100K tons in the word. Only several countries, including the US, Japan, Russia, and South Korean, however, are capable of mass production. Among them, the US and Japan occupy 90% market share.
Developing by DuPont company, “Kevlar” is an aramid fibre with currently the world’s leading high-strength fibre. Their strength is 5 times stronger than steel, with merely 1/5 the density of steel. In fact, the light-weight bullet proof clothing is mostly made by Kevlar.
Read more on the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center website
Image: Customized “mini wet-spinning machine”. Credit NSRRC
A research team led by the NSRRC user, Prof. Yuh-Ju Sun (Institute of Bioinformatics and Structural Biology at National Tsing Hua University) has identified the molecular mechanism of phosphate transporter, which offers a glimmer of hope for dementia treatments. Prof. Sun collaborated with another NSRRC user, Dr. Chwan-Deng Hsiao (Academia Sinica), and revealed the structure of the sodium dependent phosphate transporter. This discovery marked a significant milestone for the studies on membrane proteins, and the research result was published in the prestigious journal Science Advances in August 2020.
Read more on the NSRRC website
Image: Prof. Yuh-Ju Sun and her collaborator Dr. Chwan-Deng Hsiao solved the structure of membrane proteins, paving the way for a better treatment of dementia.
LOREA beamline has seen its first photons.
The photograph, taken in the control hutch of the beamline, shows in the computer screens the footprint of the very first photon beam on the fluorescence screen located outside the optical hutch, taken with only 2 mA of electron beam in the storage ring. Although masked, the satisfaction expressed by the three beamline scientists Massimo Tallarida (beamline responsible), Federico Bisti and Debora Pierucci is evident. This is an important milestone for the beamline, reached with very demanding operating conditions due to the pandemic situation. Congratulations to everybody that contributed to this result!
Read more on the ALBA website
Image: Three beamline scientists Massimo Tallarida (beamline responsible), Federico Bisti and Debora Pierucci.
The two new beamlines will be constructed as part of a comprehensive upgrade of the APS, enhancing its capabilities and maintaining its status as a world-leading facility for X-ray science.
In a socially distanced ceremony this morning at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, leaders from DOE, Argonne and the University of Chicago broke ground on the future of X-ray science in the United States.
Today’s small gathering marked the start of construction on the Long Beamline Building, a new experiment hall that will house two new beamlines that will transport the ultrabright X-rays generated by the Advanced Photon Source (APS) to advanced scientific instruments. It will be built as part of the $815 million upgrade of the APS, a DOE Office of Science User Facility and one of the most productive light sources in the world. The APS, which is in essence a stadium-sized X-ray microscope, attracts more than 5,000 scientists from around the globe to conduct research each year in many fields ranging from chemistry to life sciences to materials science to geology.
Read more on the Argonne National Laboratory website
Image : Artist’s rendition of the Long Beamline Building. The new facility will be built as part of a major upgrade of the APS and will house two new beamlines.
Credit: HDR Architects
Scientists used ultrabright x-rays to watch the developing structure of a 3D-printed part evolve during the printing process.
A team of scientists working at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Brookhaven National Laboratory has designed an apparatus that can take simultaneous temperature and x-ray scattering measurements of a 3D printing process in real time, and have used it to gather information that may improve finished 3D products made from a large variety of plastics. This study could broaden the scope of the printing process in the manufacturing industry and is also an important step forward for Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University’s collaborative advanced manufacturing program.
The researchers were studying a 3D printing method called fused filament fabrication, now better known as material extrusion. In material extrusion, filaments of a thermoplastic—a polymer that softens when heated and hardens when cooled—are melted and deposited in many thin layers to build a finished structure. This approach is often called “additive” manufacturing because the layers add up to produce the final product.
Read more on the NSLS-II website
Image: The photo shows the research team, (from front to back) Yu-Chung Lin, Miriam Rafailovich, Aniket Raut, Guillaume Freychet, Mikhail Zhernenkov, and Yuval Shmueli (not pictured), placing the 3D printer into the chamber of the Soft Matter Interfaces (SMI) beamline at Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II).
Note: this photo was taken in March 2020, prior to current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.