Posts tagged as DOE

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Making Chemical Maps
Staff scientist Sam Webb places a sample into an X-ray absorption experimental station at the  Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL). This endstation was used to take data for a NASA-funded experiment looking at bacteria found in Mono Lake, CA that substitute arsenic for phosphorous within their DNA.
This setup is also used by visiting researchers investigating environmental contamination and other studies that require high-resolution chemical mapping—for example, finding ways to clean up toxins in soil by first precisely identifying them, or understanding disease by pinpointing harmful compounds in samples of brain tissue.
The shot: Canon 5d MkII, 24 mm f/2.8L; 1/40 sec exposure, ISO 400. Oftentimes a scientist will wear the perfect clothes by complete coincidence… case in point here with Sam’s horizontal orange and brown stripes. The acrylic box on the right (filled with helium—air interferes with X-rays) I highlighted from below with a red gel on a 600 w/sec monobloc strobe (slave mode), positioned beneath the table and pointed at the floor. Sam is illuminated by a gridded Speedlite 550 on a Gorillapod, camera right, triggered by a Pocket Wizard II.
One of the first things I do when setting up a shot like this is turn off the overhead lights, and turn on any local point sources or indicator lights, which makes the shot more dimensional to my eye. Guides a viewer’s attention in a more interesting way. All of the light shining on the sample Sam’s holding comes from the twin fiber optic lights arcing like antennae from the black box in the background. Fiber optic lights are plentiful in the experimental hutches, and I always make sure to have them on. Same is true for a previous post, A Tale of Two Light Sources. 

Making Chemical Maps

Staff scientist Sam Webb places a sample into an X-ray absorption experimental station at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL). This endstation was used to take data for a NASA-funded experiment looking at bacteria found in Mono Lake, CA that substitute arsenic for phosphorous within their DNA.

This setup is also used by visiting researchers investigating environmental contamination and other studies that require high-resolution chemical mapping—for example, finding ways to clean up toxins in soil by first precisely identifying them, or understanding disease by pinpointing harmful compounds in samples of brain tissue.

The shot: Canon 5d MkII, 24 mm f/2.8L; 1/40 sec exposure, ISO 400. Oftentimes a scientist will wear the perfect clothes by complete coincidence… case in point here with Sam’s horizontal orange and brown stripes. The acrylic box on the right (filled with helium—air interferes with X-rays) I highlighted from below with a red gel on a 600 w/sec monobloc strobe (slave mode), positioned beneath the table and pointed at the floor. Sam is illuminated by a gridded Speedlite 550 on a Gorillapod, camera right, triggered by a Pocket Wizard II.

One of the first things I do when setting up a shot like this is turn off the overhead lights, and turn on any local point sources or indicator lights, which makes the shot more dimensional to my eye. Guides a viewer’s attention in a more interesting way. All of the light shining on the sample Sam’s holding comes from the twin fiber optic lights arcing like antennae from the black box in the background. Fiber optic lights are plentiful in the experimental hutches, and I always make sure to have them on. Same is true for a previous post, A Tale of Two Light Sources

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A Tale of Two Light Sources
The scene: Experimental endstation (one of two dozen or so) at the Stanford synchrotron “light source” lab SSRL. This hutch is used to examine samples of exotic materials using intense pulses of X-ray light generated by SSRL’s synchrotron particle accelerator. Here, scientist Tim Miller (pictured) and colleagues have set up a second light source—a bright green laser—that’s used to first excite the sample, followed by a zap from a pulse of X-rays just a fraction of a second later. The green light gives the sample’s molecules a kick, and the X-rays snap images of how they behave in response.  (The hair-thin beam from the laser, which is about 400 times more intense than a laser pointer, is just visible in the hi-resolution version.)
In this experiment, researchers are looking at “super-ionic nanomaterials”—compounds that can act like both a liquid and a solid on the atomic level, and which look promising for developing a new generation of battery technology.
The shot: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 17-35/f2.8 lens @ 17mm, f5.6. ISO 100, 1.6 second exposure. Three off-camera Speedlites: one wall splash behind the machine; one behind camera left, high with grid; and one directly under the plastic box on the right to make it glow. All of the visible green color is spill from the green laser.

A Tale of Two Light Sources

The scene: Experimental endstation (one of two dozen or so) at the Stanford synchrotron “light source” lab SSRL. This hutch is used to examine samples of exotic materials using intense pulses of X-ray light generated by SSRL’s synchrotron particle accelerator. Here, scientist Tim Miller (pictured) and colleagues have set up a second light source—a bright green laser—that’s used to first excite the sample, followed by a zap from a pulse of X-rays just a fraction of a second later. The green light gives the sample’s molecules a kick, and the X-rays snap images of how they behave in response.  (The hair-thin beam from the laser, which is about 400 times more intense than a laser pointer, is just visible in the hi-resolution version.)

In this experiment, researchers are looking at “super-ionic nanomaterials”—compounds that can act like both a liquid and a solid on the atomic level, and which look promising for developing a new generation of battery technology.

The shot: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 17-35/f2.8 lens @ 17mm, f5.6. ISO 100, 1.6 second exposure. Three off-camera Speedlites: one wall splash behind the machine; one behind camera left, high with grid; and one directly under the plastic box on the right to make it glow. All of the visible green color is spill from the green laser.