GeoSoilEnviroCARS, The University of Chicago The University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture Environmental Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Newest User Publications

Check out these newest publications from our users. Congratulations all!

Judy, J., Unrine, J., and Bertsch, P. (2011) Evidence for Biomagnification of Gold Nanoparticles within a Terrestrial Food Chain. Environmental Science and Technology. v. 45, p. 776781.
Leskovjan, A., Kretlow, A., Lanzirotti, A., Barrea, R., Vogt, S., and Miller, L. (2011) Increased brain iron coincides with early plaque formation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, NeuroImage, v. 55, p.32-38.
Warner, R., Meadows, J., Sojda, S., Price, V., Temples, T., Arai, Y., Fleisher, C., Crawford, B. and Stone, P. (2011) Mineralogic investigation into occurrence of high uranium well waters in upstate South Carolina, USA, Applied Geochemistry, v. 26, p. 777-788.

Summer 2010

Flyyyyyy like an eagle.... Hiya I'm not trying to do a bad imitation of Steve Miller. The big news at X26A is that we finally have fly-scans working using our XIA XMap boards. Sure, there are still some minor bugs we're working on but overall it's very robust and tres cool. The image to the right is a fly-scan image collected using our 9-element Ge array and our two silicon drift detectors simultaneously. It's a compositional map of an echinoderm fossil that is 6.1 mm x 5.3 mm, 610 x 530 pixels at a pixel size of 0.01 mm at a pixel speed of 0.1 sec/pixel!

Fall 2009

Hi everyone. We are well into the Fall cycle and in another month or so we'll be entering the winter shutdown period. Let me just give you a very brief overview of new things that have been implemented at the beamline and some things we have planned over the winter shutdown. As you recall we had sent our Canberra 9-element Ge detector off for repair quite some time ago. Well, it's all fixed and back in operation at the beamline. Certainly good news. We have officially gone widescreen now, you'll notice that we have dual widescreen monitors set up on our computers which should make navigating screens a bit easier. We also just installed a new Prosilica CCD camera to replace our old Toshiba CCD for the sample viewing optics on the beamline. I'd recommend you browse the webpage we put together about this system since it functions in a dramatically different way than the old CCD did. Over the winter shutdown we plan on migrating away from our CAMAC based XIA digital spectrometers to the newer compact PCI bus Xmaps. This will give us a viable upgrade path towords enabling on-the-fly scanning.


Spring and Summer 2009 Rayonix SX165

We're now heading into our summer cycle for 2009.  A few instrumentation updates to inform everyone about. Many of you are probably curious about the status of our various detectors, since we had both issues and new systems coming on-line. Canberra informs us our 9-element Ge array is close to being repaired. They're trying to improve the resolution of a couple of the channels, but we're expecting we should have it back in operation shortly. The commissioning of our two new Rayonix/MAR area detectors is also going very well. It lloks like those of you interested in doing microbeam XRD this cycle will have your choice of one of these two systems. The MAR image plate has a very large active area and is best suited for samples requiring high sensitivity and very long exposures. Users needing more rapid read-out times are likely best served by our new Rayonix SX-165 CCD. Compared to our Bruker SMART system, this will still give you twice the active area with excellent resolution. Our Bruker detector we will now migrate to X27A to enable micro-diffraction studies there. I will be updating the software instructions on the webpage to incorporate the usage of these two systems.

Fall 2008

Hi everyone. We're rapidly approaching the winter shutdown here at X26A (mmm....turkey). In the next couple of weeks I'll begin scheduling for the January-April '09 cycle in earnest. As usual, please make sure all your paperwork, training, and requests are in. Also, I will pester all of you once again to make sure you are up to date on the publications listing. This really is very important for us. We have a few new developments here at the beamline. As some of you may recall, our Canberra 9-element Ge detector had a catastrophic (really really not pretty) rupture of the Be window. I took the unit to Canberra in Meriden where they have had it for some time for evaluation. They've been working hard looking for a replacement Be window. Once they have this in hand they'll do some further evaluation of the detectors and pre-amps. Regardless, I think it's unlikely (but keep your fingers crossed in case) we'll have it back here before the next cycle begins. Fortunately we had access to the old GSECARS 13-element array and have this set up in its place. It's old, not quite up to the performance of the newer 9-element array, but it's acceptable for spectroscopy applications so I think we'll be OK until the other system is returned to us.

On the other had, we were very lucky in getting a NASA SRLIDAP grant funded to purchase two (yup 2!!) new area detectors for XRD applications at X26A. The first, a MAR 345 image plate system, is here and I have it up and running. For applications that require long exposures for increased sensitivity or larger 2-theta coverage (the detector has an active area of 345 mm), this will be particularly useful. We need to do a little bit of engineering over the winter shutdown to get it more conveniently situated in the hutch, but it should be available for use next cycle. We're still awaiting arrival of it's sister device, a Rayonix SX-165 CCD system. This will update our CCD based area detector capabilities, again providing larger active area and improved sensitivity. When this arrives we will migrate our existing Bruker CCD to X27A. Also, I have been working hard making a number of modifications to our software. On the data collection side I have incorporated a few small changes that will make setting up scan lists and three axis scans much easier. There are also a few other changes "beneath the hood" that aren't so obvious, but will help us enable the next generation of te plotting software. I have what I'd consider an alpha version of that in the works. In the next few weeks I'll probably make it available on the website for download. I'd appreciate if those that are particularly foolhardy could give it a whirl and let me know what bugs you encounter. I am trying to develop it so that it will be one common interface between X26A and X27A (not two different programs any longer), allow for opening of the HDF files directly (since I'm convinced in the long run this will be the file format we will utilize exclusively), enable an "on-line" mode that will allow you to move the stages directly to a pixel in a map, incorporate some cluster analysis algorithms, and a few other bells and whistles.

The last bit of news isn't really X26A specific, but many of you are probably aware that some time ago a rather motley crew of scientists with interests in x-ray microprobes submitted a letter of interest to NSLS-II recommending the consruction of a hard x-ray microprobe sector at the facility. That proposal (SREEL...see below) was, to our very pleasant surprise, selected by the project to be one of the first 6 project beamlines constructed (newly christened in a ceremony October 30th as the Sub-Micron Resolution X-Ray (SRX) spectroscopy beamline)! Quite a shock to us, but in my opinion a very positive reflection of the highly productive and high quality research you folks have been conducting on these instruments both here at the NSLS and at other facilities worldwide. I'm sure more details will be provided as the planning develops, but I'm confident when it's finished it will be quite a spectacular place for you to come and play. We're quite confident these will be a world leading set of devices.


June-August 2008 Cycle

Hi everyone. It's been quite a while since I updated our news section, things here have been extremely hectic. We'll be starting the summer June to August cycle here shortly. As most of you are aware, DOE is faced with a funding shortfall this year. As a result the NSLS, as with all the DOE synchrotron facilities, needed to cut their budget for this fiscal year and the way that was chosen to do that was to cut back on operations. As a result the cycle is on the short side, but the upcoming September to December cycle will take the brunt of the cuts. So I'd recommend you plan your research schedules accordingly and not necessarily assume that time will be available in the upcoming cycle.

We've also been very busy formulating ideas for what resources the Earth and environmental sciences community will want to have available at NSLS-II. One of the things we did, sponsored by the NSLS, was to have a strategic scientific planning workshop for the community back in January. The white paper from that effort is online here. With the recommendations you put forward at that workshop and others that were held throughout 2007 a number of of from our community along with representatives of the life sciences community self-organized a beamline advisory team (BAT) to develop and submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to NSLS-II management proposing a unique set of canted undulator beamlines for Sub-micrometer Research in the Earth, Environmental, and Life Sciences (SREEL). We were subsequently asked to present the LOI to the NSLS-II experimental facilities advisory committee (EFAC) and I think it was very well received.

On the hardware front a NASA proposal we submitted to upgrade our area detector for XRD studies was successful. As a result we are purchasing two new MAR systems, a MAR 345 image plate system and a MAR 165 CCD. Both systems will be generally available and promise much larger 2-theta coverage and improved sensitivity. The existing Bruker system we will install on our sister microprobe X27A to enable XRD analysis on that station. Lastly, speaking of X27A, we have also instituted an agreement with the NSLS to become contributing users on X27A. This should be a great benefit in provoding additional microprobe time for earth and environmental science users and in ensuring a high degree of commonality between the two instruments.

May-August 2007 Cycle

Well, we're finally getting some weather here that's springlike. It seems like it's been a looooong winter here in New York. So the schedule for May through August is essentially done and now posted on the website. I still have a couple of other runs to schedule in, though. As always make sure that what I've posted is the same as what we've discussed. As for beamline news, the X25 upgrade is essentially completed and those of you that haven't been here recently will notice that some things on X26A have been moved to accomodate changes in X25 layout. But overall, the commissioning went well and the impact on X26A operations is relatively minor. Things are a little more cramped but not horribly so and the noise levels from the X25 He compressor systems are tolerable given the sound proofing that's been put in place. Radiation surveys of the new X25 layout have been done and it looks like scattered radiation on our side of the beampipe is very minor.

A couple of items related to X26A hardware. As some of you know, our Bruker diffractometer is broken and has been shipped to Madison for evaluation. Keep your fingers crossed that it can be repaired (inexpensively). As a result I really haven't scheduled any XRD work for the upcoming cycle. Also, during the shutdown in May we're going to be upgrading our beamline interlocks to a new PLC based system. This will be a big improvement over the old system and will be much more robust in helping us track down faults when they occur. Also, as always, we have made a number of changes to beamline software. It's always good to go to our computing changes and familiarize yourself with changes before you arrive. That's about it for now. Please keep me informed of publications you may be working on and thanks again for your continued support.

January-April 2007 Cycle

Hi everybody. So our General Users should have received allocations for the January-April '07 cycle and I believe I have you all scheduled. I'll be contacting our collaborators in the next few days to schedule everyone else. I'm hoping to have the schedule finalized in the next week or so. In other news, our plan over the winter maintenance, which began November 20, was primarily to do some software modifications. Perhaps the most significant modification for those of you interested in XAS is the implementation of some changes I've made to our XANES Scan IDL routine that will let you scan more regions and alter the dwell time per region, something many of you had asked for. I've also made some changes to the way Widget Scan works that will simplify the way data plotting works. I think the way I've programmed this should keep alot of you happy, but certainly keep those suggestions coming.

Another point I should probably bring up is that the "neighbor", Beamline X25, is undertaking a massive redesign of their beamline over the shutdown. We'd hoped that this would be rather non-invasive, but that's turned out not to be the case. It's clear now that this will seriously encroach on our space and create some hazards that require us to move things around on our beamline to keep you guys safe. This forced us to move and redesign our beamline interlocks (which will take some getting used to for you old timers). Most unfortunately you'll find things quite a bit more cramped than they were before (I know what you're can it POSSIBLY get any more cramped). Well, I sincerely apologize in advance but there wasn't much I could do about it. But rest assured we will make every possible effort to make sure we're up and running by the beginning of the upcoming cycle, safely. Unfortunately given the planning for this project it's apparent we won't know the full extent of how much space we lose until X25 start putting their new equipment in place. So keep checking here for any news on how this might affect our starting up in January. And lastly, thanks again for the continued support and if you have any publications in the works I may not be aware of please drop me a note with the details. It's very important for us to keep track of this as a measure of beamline productivity, so it is quite important. But overall, you've all been quite productive this year. We've had some really outstanding papers published this year highlighting work done at the beamline, including four in Science! OK? Happy holidays to all of you and I'm eager to see you in the upcoming year. --Tony

September-December 2006 Cycle

We've just begun the Fall cycle and hopefully all of you are squared away as far as the scheduling goes. We have no major beamline changes to report for this cycle, so expect no major surprises on your arrival. September is, however, when the NSLS needs a final listing of any publications based on work partly or wholely done at the NSLS to be reported. This is really important, so please make sure the listing they have are up to date. Thanks alot for that. And for those of you that presented results from X26A at the Goldschmidt meeting in Melbourn, thanks alot. I thought X26A was remarkably well represented based, and that's in large part thanks to your hard work.

May-August 2006 Cycle

We're moving into the Spring and Summer cycles and I'm looking forward to some exciting projects over the next few months. We should be getting some more Stardust samples soon and the preliminary data has been extremely exciting. We're hoping the Preliminary Examination Team will have some preliminary publications out soon. The project has certainly generated a fair amount of press in some interesting places, from the New York Times, to the Long Island Press, to perhaps most exciting of all Sun Magazine. But we have some other neat experiments going on too, we're getting some spectacular fluorescence microtomography data lately, the microdiffraction setup is working extremely well, and the new HDF spectral data sets seem to be a hit. And of course, there's going to be the Goldschmidt conference in Melbourne at the end of August, where I hope to see many of you.

January-April 2006 Cycle

We're in the middle of the winter shutdown. Many of you may be wondering why this particular shutdown is so long, we aren't scheduled to return to operations until February 8th. The NSLS has scheduled two major projects this year, one is the replacement of the last of the old RF cavities and the other is a replacement of X25's wiggler with a new mini-gap undulator. Both projects require breaking vacuum in portions of the x-ray ring. X25 is also installing a new He compressor to cool their monochromator which will be immediately adjacent to our beamline. The NSLS has assured us they are striving to keep vibration and noise from the compressor as low as possible. The late return to ops has us nervous as well, since we're involved with NASA's comet sample return mission, Stardust. Stardust is scheduled for return to Earth this January 15th and preliminary examination of particles was slated for the first six weeks after touchdown. We're very excited about the project, as this will give us a unique opportunity to examine the chemistry and mineralogy of cometary materials. So we're VERY anxiously eyeing what the NSLS is doing and hope that nothing happens during maintenance that causes us any serious grief, since our time window for analysis is so restricted.

So when we come back up from shutdown the first week or so we're dedicating to analysis of Stardust materials if all goes well. I've already scheduled most of the general users already and will be scheduling PRT members and collaborators shortly. We really haven't had any major beamline changes this shutdown (for a change). Most of the changes are in software, so I'd recommend users take a look at the Computing section of the webpage. We have gotten a new PC for the beamline which we are now using for data acquisition. The faster processor and disk should improve acquisition speed a bit, particularly since we're now routinely doing full spectral acquisition, even for maps.

Fall 2005 Cycle

Well, it's official. I went to an NSLS "all hands" meeting today where Mike Holland, Praveen Chaudhari, and Steve Dierker announced that DOE's Deputy Secretary of Energy, Clay Sell has signed the Critical Decision 0 (CD-0) for NSLS II, DOE's declaration that NSLS II is a mission need for the department. The first real step in seeing NSLS II become reality. Very exciting news. So the Fall 2005 cycle is underway, make sure you check our schedule to make sure we're all clear on when your run is. Also, as usual, please make sure that you're SAF's are current and approved. PASS is officially two years old now, and that means that many of the early SAF's have begun to expire. Some of you might be in for a nasty surprise if you assume your SAF will be valid when you get here, so please be sure to check. Lastly, RSI has released a new version of IDL, version 6.2. If you go to our Download Page you'll see that I have new versions of X26A Plot compiled for 6.2. That's it for now, I'm sure I'll see ALL of you at SES III. Register now!

Summer 2005

Man it's hot! Seems like global warming has hit Long Island hard this summer. So we're at the tail end of the May-August cycle and as usual next time you visit the beamline you'll notice some changes. As I discuss in the computing section, I've made some major changes in the way spectrum scan works that I think will be a major improvement in the way we collect our spectra and evaluate it. I recommend you take a read through that section of the web page if you get a chance. Thanks to Don Ross we now have a couple of new Canon pan-tilt-zoom cameras and an Axis video server installed. This should give you a better view of your sample in the hutch (in color no less) and allow Bill and I to remotely monitor equipment over secure IP. We also have our new Vortex-EX silicon drift detector installed and running (thanks to George Flynn). It's working great, but we'll still be doing some minor positioning and software modifications to improve usability for you. Lastly, we did encounter some issues with our monochromator cooling. We're still evaluating what was happening, but we've made some modifications to the cooling system that we hope will resolve the issues we had. Other than that, the schedule for next cycle is now done, so you'll want to check to make sure everything is correct.

NSLS Sons & Daughters Visit X26A

As part of the activities for the national Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on April 28, approximately 30 daughters and sons of NSLS staff and scientists visited X26A to see how hard x-ray microspectroscopy can be used in forensic science. The young sleuths were tasked with identifying a criminal suspect by matching the trace element content of a hair found at the crime scene to that of several suspects. A more detailed account is on the NSLS website.

Spring 2005

The spring cycle has just begun and next week we'll be heading into the May shutdown. The schedule for May through August is generally set, but I still have a couple of folks to pencil in. Everyone scheduled for time should double check to make sure what's shown is consistent with what we discussed. A couple of bits of timely news for X26A-ers. We plan a couple of things over the May shutdown in preparation for the return of NASA's Stardust probe next January. Thanks to NASA and George Flynn we'll be installing a new Vortex silicon drift detector. This should come in very useful in situations where the escape peaks we see with our Ge array detector are problematic. We'll also be commissioning a Huber goniometer driven by the new vme based OMS MaxV motor controllers for positioning the aerogel wedges that Stardust will return. Hopefully the probe won't suffer the same fate as Genesis.

Also, many of you will likely be interested in attending Synchrotron Environmental Sciences III. SES-III is an international conference focusing on the use of synchrotron radiation techniques for the study of environmental issues involving chemistry, geoscience, and biology. It's being jointly organized by EnviroSync, NSLS, CEMS, and EnviroSuite and will be held here at BNL September 19-21, 2005. Should be alot of fun and I hope to see many of you there. Lastly I wanted to thank all of you who helped us in the submission of our recent grant proposal. It's your innovative and exciting research that highlights the beamline's usefullness to the community.

Winter 2005

We didn't have any major hardware upgrades over the winter shutdown, mostly just minor issues needed to be resolved. One major bit of news is that I was able to successfully integrate Bruker's SmartService program into our system. SmartService allows us to control the SMART program (which we use for XRD stuff) through an IP socket. With that working I was actually able to write and update a number of our IDL routines to allow us to control SMART through IDL. So for example, I now have a version of widget_scan written that will actually collect CCD frames from SMART as your collecting an XRF line scan or map. There's still a few minor bugs, but with this working we can now basically do diffraction imaging. The other major issue we're finish up is commissioning of our Si(311) monochromator crystal. We've made alot of progress and I think we've resolved the issue with low beam intensity, which appears to have been due to strain related to how the crystal was mounted. Unfortunately some issues remain, in particular loss of intensity below 8 keV most likely due to the beam walking off the top crystal, and low intensity above 16 keV, which we're still resolving. So the crystal is usable now in the intermediate energy range, but we still have more work to do with it. The other notable development last cycle is that the NSLS finally resolved the issues with lowering the horizontal emmittence of the beam. This proved to be the biggest hinderance for us to be able to reduce our focused horizontal beam size to what was expected for our new KB mirrors. Now we have been able to achieve a focused spot size as small as 8 m in the horizontal and 5 m in the vertical FWHM (the figure to the right is the focused beam imaged using a 1 m Ni dot, FWHM is orange contour). As for the Summer cycle, the proposals are all in and the allocation committee should be meeting soon. Can't say much more than that now. One last reminder I'd give everyone is to make sure I'm aware of any publications you have in the works.We'll be submitting our DOE renewal grant this spring so this really is critical.

New Experimental Table Installed

We've got the new experimental table in! We have some tweaking to do on it still, but everything's in place. You can see the installation HERE.

2003/2004 Winter Shutdown

We're winding down this year's winter shutdown period and our upgrades planned for the beamline this year are almost all done. I wanted to thank all our users for another successful year at X26A. This past cycle we put our new 9-element array detector into full operation and we think overall most users were impressed by its performance, particulary for XAS. We also made a number of significant software changes to take full advantage of the data the array generates. Check our computing section for updates.

So, this winter we had three significant upgrades planned. Those of you that have used the array detector know that it's a liquid nitrogen hog, requiring daily LN2 fills. We have installed an automated LN2 fill for the detector. This consists of a 160 L Cryofab dewar sitting outside the hutch, feeding the detector through a vacuum jacketed hose going through the hutch wall. The detector has been fitted with low and high LN2 fill sensors connected to a solenoid that can be operated either automatically when the LN2 level drops below the low sensor or manually using a switch. Our second upgrade is the migration of our EPICS boot host from our 450 MHz Pentium II NT workstation to an Apple G5 1.8 GHz Power Mac. This provides us with native UNIX support through Mac OS X Panther along with increased speed, reliability, and stability. This is a significant advantage when dealing with EPICS, which is really optimized for interaction with UNIX. That upgrade is also completed and everything seems to be running very well. For users, other than noticible improvements in speed and stability, the change will be transparent.

The third planned upgrade will be the installation of a new experimental table. The new table should increase our usable space for equipment while also providing improved vibration dampening and the ability to scan the experimental table with high resolution, both vertically and horizontally. The table is already here, we'll hopefully have everything we need for final assembly in the next few days.

IDL 6.0 Has Arrived

We are now using the newest version of IDL, version 6.0. IDL 6.0 has a number of nifty new features. One of these were very excited about is the IDL Virtual Machine (IDLVM). IDLVM allows us to compile our IDL routines and send them to you. If you then download IDLVM and install it on your system, youll then be able to run these without buying an IDL license! Im in the process of compiling the programs and testing them to make sure they run correctly. So far things look very good. If you want to go ahead and install IDLVM, download IDLVM from the RSI website. As I compile the routines, theyll be downloadable on our Downloads webpage.

5 m Spot Size Achieved

The new silica mirrors continue to impress us. Last week we were able to achieve a 5 m spot size in the vertical, close to the theoretical limit for these mirrors given the distance from the source! Were not sure how often well be able to achieve this yet, but so far these new optics have been well worth the cost.

Summer 2003

Upgrades, upgrades, upgradeswill the madness ever end? We certainly hope not. As we go into the summer cycle youll notice some significant differences to the beamline on your next visit. Most noticeable will the addition of an upgraded KB mirror system. The new system is in a He filled enclosure and sports brand new pure Si mirrors (still Rh coated). In preliminary tests were getting sub 10 m spot sizes in the vertical with virtually no tailing! Very cool. But there are some drawbacks you should be aware of. The He enclosure does cut down on our lateral motion a bit. So those of you used to doing really large samples should think about how best to accommodate this. The picture to the right gives you a feeling for how the table geometry has changed. We also almost have the new array detector (also shown here on the table) ready for general use. Weve resolved the major electronics issues and are now just tweaking software.

Another interesting new interesting new development is that weve been able to get our Si(111) monochromator up above the Sb K edge. The graph at left shows a quick and dirty Sb XAS spectra we collected on a foil. Were rather excited about that because it means we can effectively tune that crystal from roughly 5000 eV all the way up to 30500 eV, which opens up a lot of opportunities. Energy resolution up there is roughly 1 eV, those needing better will have to wait for final commissioning of the Si(311). We expect that will be soon, since we think we know now what the problem is.

Computing FAQ Updated

There have been a number of upgrades to IDL routines in the last few weeks...well the whole website has a new look actually. But anuyhow, if you havent taken a look at the computing FAQ in a while, now might be a good time to review it again.

NSLS Imaging and Microspectroscopy Guidebook On-Line

As part of the imaging and microspectroscopy workshop Lisa Miller and I ran last year at the NSLS annual meeting, we put together a guidebook that describes the beamlines at the NSLS that are doing imaging studies and some representative examples by users. The guidebook was a big success and will soon be re-printed by the NSLS as a full color publication that it will distribute to users. Its available NOW to you extra special users, though, online in PDF format. Just click HERE. Theres a very useful discussion of X26A that will be particularly useful to new users.

Please Submit References for the Past Year!!

Up to date publication references are critical for both the beamline and the NSLS. We have a reputation of being one of the most highly subscribed beamlines on the ring and always turn out a very good showing for published papers each year, which I think is largely due to the dedication of our users to this beamline, for which I thank all of you. But down to the nitty gritty. It's a Light Source requirement all NSLS Staff, Beamline Staff, PRT members, Collaborators and General Users are obligated to submit complete publication references for any paper based in whole or in part on research done at the NSLS. In the past I used to collect these from everyone and submit them in one fell swoop. The NSLS won't let me do this anymore, though. It will be easiest if you submit these yourself online. The form is at the NSLS Publications site. In many ways these publication references are even more important than abstract submissions, so if in doubt...submit a reference. Papers, conference proceedings, abstracts, the more the better. It would also be nice that if you have reprints of any articles I may not have that you send me a copy.

Beamline X26A receives support the following organizations:

Basic Energy Sciences Geosciences Research Program NSF Division of Earth Sciences

NASA Space Sciences