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PSI Facility Newsletter I/2018

28 March 2018

Dear colleagues

There exists a school of thought that believes, to get the best out of someone, you need to keep them 'lean and mean'. This may indeed be true - the large-scale facilities at PSI produce world-leading research by attracting excellent scientists like you, performing experiments in a 24/7 fashion. All this despite, to a large extent, a complete absence of catering at and nearby PSI during the weekends.

We plan to build on our strengths and upgrade the SLS in order to maintain and improve our leading position in the league of synchrotron radiation facilities, providing brilliant and stable beams for your ever more challenging experiments.

Oliver Bunk
Oliver Bunk
Dependent upon the success of a pending funding application, this will happen in 2023-2024, resulting in a fiftyfold improvement in performance.

Despite the risk of a drop-off in productivity, if you belong to the 'lean-and-mean' school, a much more immediate goal the PSI is addressing is the lack of catering on weekends. From April 14th until July 22nd, we plan a pilot phase of playing host to food trucks with varied menus, including vegetarian choices, offering brunch and dinner on weekends and holidays in front of the SLS building. You can monitor the success of this program via the weekend-catering calendar. The success and continuation depend on how well you make use of this new service. Catering for sciences on weekends: Use it or lose it!

Oliver Bunk,
on behalf of the PSI Photon Science Division

Next proposal submission deadlines:

SLS: PX beamlines
deadline: April 15, 2018
more information

SLS: non-PX-beamlines

deadline: September 15, 2018
more information


deadline: September 15, 2018
more information

Particle Physics

deadline: January 2019
more information

deadline: February 2019
more information


proposal submission paused - upgrade program 2019
more information
An overview about all proposal submission deadlines of the PSI facilities can be obtained here.
Research highlights

New insights into the nucleation and subsequent crystallization of calcium carbonate

The injector shoots tiny protein crystals into the beam of X-ray pulses SLS - Are supersaturated calcium carbonate solutions classical or non-classical?
Despite its widespread occurrence in nature and its importance in a variety of industrial applications, the nucleation and subsequent crystallization of calcium carbonate is still a matter of debate. Classical theory predicts that supersaturated carbonate solutions consist mostly of ions and ion pairs, with a small number of larger clusters present in the solution. However, for calcium carbonate solutions, this classical view has been challenged by the emergence of non-classical theories. In a novel experiment, using synchroton X-ray absorption spectroscopy, the molecular structure around the solvated calcium ion in dilute supersaturated calcium carbonate solutions was probed in situ.
Read the full story
K. Henzler et al, Science Advances 4, eaao628 (2018)

Crystal-to-Crystal Transition of Ultrasoft Colloids under Shear
The injector shoots tiny protein crystals into the beam of X-ray pulses

SINQ - Crystallization close to the glass transition
Ultrasoft colloids typically do not spontaneously crystallize, but rather vitrify, at high concentrations. Combining in situ rheo–small-angle-neutron-scattering experiments and numerical simulations we show that shear facilitates crystallization of colloidal star polymers in the vicinity of their glass transition. With increasing shear rate well beyond rheological yielding, a transition is found from an initial bcc-dominated structure to an fcc-dominated one. This crystal-to-crystal transition is not accompanied by intermediate melting but occurs via a sudden reorganization of the crystal structure. Our results provide a new avenue to tailor colloidal crystallization and the crystal-to-crystal transition at the molecular level by coupling softness and shear.
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J. Ruiz-Franco et al, Physical Review Letters 120, 078003 (2018)

Quasistatic antiferromagnetism in the quantum wells of SmTiO3/SrTiO3 heterostructures

The injector shoots tiny protein crystals into the beam of X-ray pulses SμS - New information on pseudogap formation
High carrier density quantum wells embedded within a Mott insulating matrix present a rich arena for exploring unconventional electronic phase behavior ranging from non-Fermi-liquid transport and signatures of quantum criticality to pseudogap formation. Probing the proposed connection between unconventional magnetotransport and incipient electronic order within these quantum wells has however remained an enduring challenge due to the ultra-thin layer thicknesses required. Here we address this challenge by exploring ...
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R.F. Need et al, npj Quantum Materials 3, 7 (2018)

First Pilot Experiment at SwissFEL-Alvra

The injector shoots tiny protein crystals into the beam of X-ray pulsesSwissFEL - UV photo-induced charge transfer in OLED system
On the 17th of December 2017 SwissFEL saw its first pilot experiment in the Alvra experimental station of the SwissFEL ARAMIS beamline. A team of scientists from the University of Bremen, Krakow and PSI, led by Matthias Vogt (Univ. Bremen) and Chris Milne (PSI)in collaboration with J. Szlachetko, J. Czapla-Masztafiak, W. M. Kwiatek (Inst. of Nucl.Phys. PAN (Krakow), successfully did the first pilot experiment at SwissFEL-Alvra on UV photo-induced charge transfer in OLED system ...
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SNSF professorship awarded to Andreas Crivellin

The injector shoots tiny protein crystals into the beam of X-ray pulses Particle Physics
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) awarded this year an SNSF professorship to Andreas Crivellin (NUM, Laboratory of Particle Physics (LTP), Theory Group) for his research plan on the study of Lepton Flavour Universality Violation (LFUV) in B meson decays. These processes received a lot of attention in the last years due to the intriguing hints for LFUV which, if confirmed, would prove the existence of physics beyond the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics. The project will be jointly hosted by the LTP at PSI and the Physik-Institut of the University of Zurich and is a direct follow-up of Andreas’ current Ambizione grant here at PSI ...
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Facility news

OMNY - A tOMography Nano crYo endstation

Ptychographic tomography can provide high-resolution quantitative 3D images of a sample. OMNY is an in-vacuum endstation that allows cryogenic sample conditions and a cryo load-lock system permits sample transfer of cryogenically fixed specimens. Accurate sample position required for the method is achieved via closed loop position control to a metrology system based on laser interferometry. OMNY is now in regular operation at the cSAXS beamline and proposals may be submitted. Typically, it is used for biological and other radiation sensitive samples such as polymers. First imaging results on biological samples can be found here.
Read more

Proposals 2018

On February 20, 2018 the latest proposal submission deadline for the SINQ facility has passed. In total, 213 new beam time requests were submitted. In particular, the instruments for materials science and neutron imaging are strongly demanded: 93 proposals were received for those instruments followed by the instruments for small angle scattering and reflectometry (47 proposals). The review committees will gather on April 19-20 at PSI to evaluate the new proposals such that the users can be informed by the end of April. Due to the SINQ upgrade in 2019 this was the only proposal deadline in 2018. The date for the first call after the upgrade will be announced in due time.

New Detector System for GPD

At the end of the beam period in 2017, a new detector system has been installed and tested for the GPD instrument. It is composed out of small and independent units of scintillator blocks which are directly read out by silicon photomultipliers (SiPM). This therefore compact and modular system allows for an easy and quick change of detector geometry which is e.g. needed between transverse and longitudinal field measurements. Compared to the detector system used before, it features an increased solid angle coverage and time resolution as well as a smaller positron background. For the upcoming beam cycle, GPD will be equipped with additional passive entrance collimators which according to GEANT4 simulations will further reduce the background.

BVR 49: Particle Physics Users' Meeting at PSI

Particle Physics
The annual Open Users’ Meeting (BVR: Benutzerversammlung Rinzyklotron) of the particle physics at the ring cyclotron took place February 12 -14, 2018 at PSI. As usual, the first day was devoted to detailed half-day review meetings of subcommittees with the international MEG, Mu3e, MUSE and nEDM collaborations. The committee-internal work framed the open meeting with progress reports and requests for beam time in the afternoon of Feb 13.
Following a well-received tradition, the open meeting started with a talk on theoretical developments, this time given by Professor Gilberto Colangelo from Bern and covering progress in the calculation of the anomalous g-factor of the muon - a very hot topic in precision particle physics.
More information

JUSAP - The Joint Users Association

Dear colleagues

In May 2018, the next JUSAP committee meeting will take place at PSI. This will be a good occasion for us, members of the committee, to discuss any issues, concerns or suggestions that you, members of the PSI user community, would like to communicate to us. We encourage you to get into contact either directly with me or with any other committee member.

Claude Monney
Our ESUO representative, Annick Froideval, reports that the 11th annual meeting of the European Synchrotron and FEL User Organisation (ESUO) will take place at the SOLARIS synchrotron (Krakow, Poland) on April 9-10, 2018. The meeting, supported by the H2020 project CALIPSOplus, will discuss in particular the ESUO related activities for the European synchrotron and FEL user community as well as the status of CALIPSOplus, e.g. the first results of the CALIPSOplus Twinning Programme and the new developments of the portal.

After the launch event of the League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources LEAPS, in November 2017 in Brussels, at which ESUO was mainly represented by the executive board, ESUO is very much looking forward to constructively contributing by interacting with specific working groups and by participating in the advisory group of the academic users.

Yours sincerely,
Claude Monney (on behalf of the JUSAP committee)

Upcoming events

Please have a look at our conference calendar.
Copyright © 2018, Paul Scherrer Institut PSI

PSI Facility News addresses the users of the PSI large facilities and appears quarterly in English. Any feedback is highly welcome! More information. 

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