With 7-years Open-up, SSRF is Growing in Ranks of Users and Level of Use
In Zhangjiang, Pudong, more “light of innovation” inside “Nautilus” will be drawn out. The 16 beam line stations of Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF) phase II will start later this year. It is expected to glare 3 years later. With the completion of phase II, there will be nearly 40 beam lines open to the users and more than 10,000 people per year to come to SSRF for experiments.
SSRF technician is helping users to prepare for experiment
Since opening to users in 2009, SSRF has been stepping toward the mature “golden period” of research. During the 7 years, a large number of domestic scientists have been using the advanced 3rd-generation synchrotron radiation light source and made good work. Their strength of positive impact on the world cutting-edge has improved dramatically. SSRF has been growing with Chinese scientists. In accordance with user needs, technical support team developed a variety of experimental methods. Phase II has built 4 supporting assistant laboratories and 1 user data center to provide better and more convenient laboratory services for scientists.
According to Zhao Zhentang, Director of SSRF and Director of Shanghai institute of applied physics, Chinese academy of sciences, light source is the torch to help scientists observe the microscopic world. The perfect practice of the “torch” shows the scientific wisdom of the Chinese scientists, which makes “light of innovation” of SSRF increasingly bright.
How to use the “light of innovation”? The scientists will explore together
Back to seven or eight years ago, Tai Renzhong, deputy center director of SSRF and his colleagues were promoting light source to domestic scientists, just like visiting customers. A question most frequently asked by many scientists is, “What can it do? What can it make?” At that time, he was also very confused. Besides light source, the specific supporting test method still needs exploring. 7 years later, now scientists have worn out the threshold of SSRF users office: someone would appoint machine-hour of several different beam lines at the same time in order to systematically solve their scientific problems; someone would keep proposing new experimental demands on beam line station along with their in-depth study, and design experimental program together with SSRF technology R & D personnel...
Early in 2007, When SSRF started to glare, Bao Xin, the international famous catalyst expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, began working with the light source with his team. Ever done experiments using the synchrotron radiation device in Beijing, as well as foreign light source, he is well aware of the importance of high quality synchrotron radiation for the study of catalyst. He suggested that the line station of light source X - ray absorption spectrum must have the ability to experiment in situ dynamic - this is very important to understand the principle of the catalyst and the process of action.
Optimizing experiment device, analyzing absorption spectrum data, designing experiment method...... Bao Xi and his team worked with the light source technology team to open up the application of synchrotron radiation in the field of catalysis. In 2010, his team published a paper in the journal Science. In May 2014, he used the light source and made an important research. He found a breakthrough method in the direct conversion of natural gas, which is commented as a new technology “about to change the world” by the German peer. At present, CNPC, Saudi Oil Company and other enterprises have signed a memorandum of cooperation with him.
SSRF’s experimental ability in the study of the catalyst also has a great reputation in the global beam line stations. “Whenever there's a need for research, his team will look for a light source”，said Tai Renzhong. He said that Baoxin also gives publicity to application of light source in various international academic exchanges occasions, “he produced more than 500 papers on X-ray absorption spectrum line station, among which 1 / 3 are about catalytic. Many users are attracted.”
The team of Gao Fu, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science, made a series of important research results in SSRF which have been published in Nature, Science, Cell and other international top journals. The research results include the analysis of H1N1 virus structural protein in 2009, and the determination in the H7N9 avian virus structure, and the study of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Ebola virus, Zhai card virus and other epidemic virus protein structure and mechanism in 2013.
There are a number of such “hardcore” users in almost every light source station. Chen Chunying, researcher of National Nano Center is trying to make a nano “cage” that can be loaded with drugs that flow in and out of cells. It is necessary to see the specific location of the “cage” to the cell, and also to see how the drug combines with surrounding protein. She has used three beam line stations to obtain the required data.
Recently, SSRF users built a WeChat group, in which they would discuss all experimental demands. “For users like Chen Chuying who needs two or three line stations to do experiments, we would try to arrange the machine-hour closer”, said Zhang Lijuan, the user superintendent of SSRF BL08U1A line station, “so that she only needs to prepare one batch of cells to complete the experiment.”
According to statistics, the number of users of SSRF has increased to 13708 from the beginning 932. The number of high quality papers published is also growing. Over the past year, there are more than 600 papers published in the international high level academic journals.
With support of light source technology, stable and high level team is also indispensable
The forthcoming Phase II line station puts more emphasis on providing convenience for the users’ experiments. “The greatest significance of the light source, is to help scientists to make breakthroughs in research, and to obtain a high level of research results”, said Zhao Zhentang, but if a high level of work is to be done, a high level of technical support team must be equipped to play and tap the potential of the light source.
“Many foreign beam line stations have been automated, but we have just started”, said He Jianhua, deputy center director of SSRF. He also said that completion of construction is no end of any major scientific device, but the starting point of its scientific research life. The golden life of SSRF is about more than ten years. After that it will be caught up by “the bright younger generation”. But the use level of a large installation lies more in its experiment technology level - equipped with a treasured sword; it is natural to make it play the biggest power.
At present, among the SSRF team of nearly 400 people, most of whom are engaged in technology development and device construction work, striving to study how to improve the performance of devices and how to realize the users’ scientific experimental ideas. “However, since the existing system lack for the stable support channel for the technical support personnel of such devices, it demands a considerable dedication to adhere to this position,” said Zhao Zhentang. He also said, the stable support mechanism for technicians needs to be improved, and the technology R & D channel to enhance device performance also needs to be opened. “The more large scientific equipment China needs, we would need more high-end technical support personnel. To break the system bottle neck for them will help ‘the Tool’ expose edge, and also let China’s investment in this regard obtain more fully return”.