Following achievement of first light on Friday 14 July 2006, the Australian Synchrotron team has continued to optimise the electron beam, achieving currents up to 67 mA, and a lifetime of more than 5 hours at 20 mA.

Safety surveys done with stored beam show that there is no need for restricting access to the technical floor. As a result, some storage ring operations are now taking place during normal hours.

The team has also been finalising the linac acceptance tests with Accel and completing the booster acceptance tests with Danfysik.

Front-end installation and bake-out is in progress in preparation for the beamlines.


In-vacuum undulators

The contract to supply three in-vacuum undulators has been awarded to Neomax Trading, Japan. The undulators will be the brightest source of x-rays in the Southern Hemisphere and will be used on the Microspectroscopy, Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering, and Protein Crystallography Microcrystal beamlines.

Protein Crystallography and PX Microcrystal Beamlines

Satisfactory progress has been reported on the photon delivery system contract with Oxford Danfysik, UK, and the mirror polishing contract with Seso, France.

Powder Diffraction Beamline

The diffractometer design review has been completed and the contract with Rotary Precision Instruments is proceeding well. Huber end-station sample mounting equipment has arrived and is ready for installation.

SAXS/WAXS Beamline

Following evaluation of registrations of capability, two companies were issued with and responded to Requests for Design. The responses are currently in the late stages of evaluation. The optical design and hutch design will be completed shortly.

A poster and paper on the SAXS/WAXS beamline were presented to the SRI2006 conference held in Korea on 28 May – 2 June 2006.

X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Beamline

Procurement of items for the end-station is under way.

Soft X-ray Beamline

On 24 July, the company contracted to produce the soft X-ray beamline, FMB, visited the synchrotron to present the final design review of the beamline components. The review went well, all the items were presented and we were very pleased with the designs—a few minor modifications have been agreed. The beamline is on course for construction and commissioning early next year.

Microspectroscopy Beamline

The conceptual design for the Microspectroscopy beamline was presented at SRI2006 in Korea. Tenders have closed for the design and supply of the beamline and are being evaluated.

The Microspectroscopy beamline will host a seminar by Dr Karen Rickens visiting from the Hamburg Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (HASYLAB) on Wednesday, 23 August. Dr Rickens will discuss “From trace elements to minerals: Micro-XRF studies of melt and fluid inclusions”. For more details contact: David Paterson, Microspectroscopy Beamline Scientist, email: contact.us@synchrotron.vic.gov.au

Imaging and Therapy Beamline

Paul Berkvens, head of safety at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), calculated the shielding specifications for the Imaging and Therapy Beamline (ITBL) enclosures. The data obtained were approved by Australian Synchrotron safety officer, Sergio Costantin, and led to a reduction of 28 metric tonnes in the total lead weight required for the four enclosures. They will now weigh 117 metric tonnes!

On a lighter note, designs for a range of beamline components are in progress. The customised front-end fixed mask, required to ease radiation shielding requirements, is at the final design review stage.

Most importantly, the Memorandum of Understanding for the loan by the Advanced Photon Source, Chicago, of the interim ITBL wiggler has been signed so that shipping and import arrangements are now in progress.


NCRIS Allocation

The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy has made public a notional allocation of $18 million for synchrotron science. The funding is proposed to be used to contribute to achieving world-class performance for the initial suite of nine beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron ($14 million) and access to international synchrotron beamlines ($4 million).

As a result, the national synchrotron science community is planning to:

  • review and prioritise phase 2 expenditure for enhancement of the initial suite of beamlines;
  • develop the proposal for strategic international access.
  • The NCRIS draft investment plan can be found at http://www.ncrischaracterisation.org.au under ‘Discussion Papers’, as a document titled “NCRIS_Characterisation_Update2_160806.pdf’

First Light celebrated

The Victorian Minister for Innovation, the Hon. John Brumby MP, visited the Australian Synchrotron on Friday 21 July to review the ‘first light’ achievement.

ASRP Internship Program 2006

The Australian Synchrotron Research Program (ASRP) will be running the synchrotron internship program again in 2006–07. Current or prospective PhD students can spend 3 months stationed at the ASRP beamlines at the Advanced Photon Source, Chicago, or the Photon Factory, Japan. The application form and program guidelines can be downloaded from the ASRP website (http://www.asrp.org.au) or by direct link (http://www.ansto.gov.au/natfac/asrp_internships2006.html) Up to 3 internships will be awarded. Deadline for applications: Friday 1 September 2006.

2006 ASRP Thesis Medal: Best Life Sciences

The ASRP Thesis Medal is awarded annually to the PhD student judged to have completed the most outstanding thesis under the auspices of an Australian University using any synchrotron light source. The eligibility alternates each year between PhDs in Life Sciences and in Physical/Chemical Sciences. Nominations for 2006 Medal in Life Sciences close 1 September. More at http://www.ansto.gov.au/natfac/asrp_thesis_medal_06.html

Australian Synchrotron Operator

Independent evaluation of the two tenders submitted for the role of the Australian Synchrotron Operator. The tenders and reports are being reviewed by the Tender Evaluation Group prior to preparing a recommendation.

Decadal Planning for Synchrotron Capabilities

The consultation paper on the 10-year plan for synchrotron science in Australia and New Zealand is available online at: /content.asp?document_id=4293.

ABIC 2006: Unlocking the potential of agricultural biotechnology

The Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC)—the major global conference for agricultural biotechnology—was held in Melbourne in the first week of August and was attended by over 600 national and international delegates.

The Australian Synchrotron was represented at a panel session on international collaborations and had a well-attended display stand in the exhibitions hall.

2006 Australasian Science Prize

Australasian Science is Australia’s only monthly science magazine for the general public. The Australasian Science Prize recognises world-class science by Australasia’s most inspiring minds.

Nominations comprise a single-page abstract summarising work conducted by the nominee in Australasia and its relevance to the public. They may be for an individual or a pair/small group. Closing date: 15 September 2006. Email: science@control.com.au



Research Seminar: Dr Karen Rickers
Wednesday 23 August, 11:00am, Australian Synchrotron, 800 Blackburn Road, Clayton, Victoria
“From trace elements to minerals: Micro-XRF studies of melt and fluid inclusions’, with Dr Karen Rickers, Hamburg Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (HASYLab), Germany.

Melt and fluid inclusions are small blobs of silicate melt and aqueous fluids that are included in host minerals during crystallisation. They often provide the only direct information on the composition of phases present at mineral crystallisation. During the evolution of granite–pegmatite–hydrothermal systems, single quartz hosts may continuously trap inclusions that record all stages of the chemical development of melts and fluids.

Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) was used to investigate fluid and melt inclusions. Two examples will be presented highlighting trace element enrichment processes in magmatic systems.
http://www.synchrotron.vic.gov.au . RSVP by email: contact.us@synchrotron.vic.gov.au marked Attention: David Paterson.

Australian Synchrotron Users Workshop 2006
30 November – 2 December 2006, Melbourne
Australian Synchrotron Research Program (ASRP)/Australian Synchrotron Users Workshop.
Further details to come shortly.

AIP 17th National Congress 2006
3–8 December 2006, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland
Australian Institute of Physics National Congress.
Excellent plenary speakers already confirmed.
www.aipc2006.com. Email: aipc2006@icms.com.au


ICIEAA-10: International Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure
28 August – 1 September 2006, Foz do Iguacu, Parana, Brazil

ALS Users Meeting
9–11 October 2006, Berkeley Lab, California
The deadline for oral presentation in the Science Highlights session at this year’s ALS Users’ Meeting has been extended to Friday, 25 August 2006 owing to a power outage during the submission period. Abstracts for poster presentations and the student poster competition are due Friday, 15 September. Abstracts can be submitted online at: http://www-als.lbl.gov/als/usermtg/abstracts.html

AUSHEP 2006: Australasian High Energy and Medical Physics Conference
17 – 20 October 2006, Christchurch New Zealand
Topics include: HEP: ATLAS/CMS/Belle, Particle Astrophysics, Particle Theory, Simulation, Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy, GRID computing.
More at: http://www2.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/~jcw83/conf/index.php

ASCA06: Joint Conference of the Asian Crystallographic Association and Crystallographic Society of Japan
20–23 November 2007, Epochal Tsukuba, Japan

1st Asia–Oceania Forum for Synchrotron Radiation Research 2006
24–25 November 2006, KEK, Tsukuba, Japan
The abstract deadline has been extended to 31 August. Note that this Forum follows immediately after the ASCA’06 meeting also being held in Tsukuba. The AOF is offering travel funding assistance to students and early-career researchers.

VUV 15TH International Conference on Vacuum Ultraviolet Radiation Physics
July 29 – August 3, 2007, Konzerthaus Berlin, Germany
Bringing together scientists from countries all over the world working in the field of developing synchrotron, laser, or plasma based VUV and soft x-ray sources as well as applying photons in this spectral range.
More at: http://www.bessy.de/VUVXV


News and recently published research assisted by synchrotron science

3 D images link antibiotic resistance and childhood brain disease

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, used synchrotron data at the Advanced Photon Source to generate images of different types of the same enzyme to unlock the mysteries of antibiotic resistance and a rare form of brain degeneration.

A report on this study appears in the 16 August issue of the journal Structure.

The report is based on a study of the 3 D structure of an enzyme called pantothenate kinase, which triggers the first step in the production of coenzyme A, an essential molecule. In humans, certain mutations in pantothenate kinase diminish its ability to produce CoA. This mutation causes the neurodegenerative disease called pantothenate kinase associated neurodegeneration (PKAN).

The researchers crystallised a sample of the enzyme and used x-ray crystallography to produce 3-D images of different types of pantothenate kinase and their interactions with panthothenic acid and other molecules.

Different bacteria create their own versions of pantothenate kinase. For example, bacteria called Escherichia coli, found in the intestines and polluted water, produce one type; Staphylococcus aureus, which causes skin infections and serious blood infections, makes another; and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is an important cause of hospital-based infections, especially in burn patients, makes a third type The 3 D images explained how the different types of the enzyme did the same job in different ways and why some are resistant to antibiotics but others are not.
More at: http://www.lightsources.org/cms/?pid=1001539

Archimedes’ work revealed after 1,000 years

Finally, after more than 1,000 years in obscurity, the last unreadable pages of the works of ancient mathematician Archimedes are being deciphered, thanks to the x-ray vision at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).

This discovery gives us the most complete record of Archimedes’ works since the middle ages.

A team of scientists used a special x-ray imaging technique, called x-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging, to finally unlock these scientific secrets, hidden from view since antiquity on a goatskin parchment manuscript. The manuscript uniquely records several of the works of the legendary 3rd century B.C. mathematician, who famously exclaimed “Eureka!” upon discovering how to measure the volume of a solid while sitting in his bathtub. Archimedes’ work is considered to be the foundation of modern mathematics.

The text of the ‘Archimedes Palimpsest’ presented a monumental challenge for imagers to reveal and scholars to decode.

A ‘palimpsest’ is a piece of manuscript on which the original writing has been removed to make room for other writing. In the 10th century, an anonymous scribe copied Archimedes’ treatises in the original Greek onto the parchment. But three centuries later, a monk scraped away the Archimedes text, cut the pages in half, turned them sideways, and copied Greek Orthodox prayers onto the recycled pages. Adding further injury, forgers in the early 20th century painted religious imagery on several pages in an attempt to elevate the manuscript’s value. The result was the near obliteration of Archimedes’ work, except for the faintest traces of ink still embedded in the parchment.

For 11 days, from July 28 to August 7, 2006, a team of academics—x-ray scientists, rare document conservators and scholars of ancient mathematics—returned to the experimental station at SLAC, to scrutinise the ancient Greek characters, unseen for centuries, scrolling across computer screens as the x-ray beam scanned the parchment. Through the forged gold paintings that coated several pages, the team revealed previously unread sections of Archimedes’ greatest treatise, The Method.

To learn more about the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, go to http://www.archimedespalimpsest.org .To watch new text emerging from the fragile parchment along with the scientists, view the webcast of 4 August prepared by the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco and the SLAC scientists at: http://www.exploratorium.edu/archimedes/index.html

X-rays Reveal Hidden Structure of Half-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Embryos

Synchrotron x-ray tomography has given scientists a rare and precious glimpse into the three-dimensional structure of tiny unborn creatures that were frozen in time more than 500 million years ago.

The images are of fossils from the genus Markuelia, found in China and Siberia, dated from the Cambrian period, and were published in the journal Nature on 10 August.

The 3-D tomography reveals a universe of details impossible using previous methods, from the first splitting of cells to just before hatching. “We are looking at the dawn of life” said lead researcher Phil Donoghue, from the University of Bristol, UK. Fossil embryos are the rarest of fossils because of their tiny size and precarious preservation.

Synchrotron x-ray tomography microscopy leaves the tiny fossils untouched yet gives graphic details of their structure. It reveals details smaller than 1,000th millimetre in dimension.

The data was captured at the Swiss Light Source.
More at: http://www.lightsources.org/cms/?pid=1001439

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