From the Director
Dear Colleagues,

Spring is in the air in Ithaca. Green hills are returning to the landscape, fruit trees are blossoming, and the creeks are swelling - ensuring the waterfalls showcase their full magnificence. A nice time to be in Ithaca!  

I personally long for the return of in-person users at CHESS. However, our main focus is to continue to keep everyone safe. Covid travel restrictions are still in place, and CHESS will be in remote operations mode for the upcoming run, which starts on April 21st. We will return to “normal” operations as soon as regulations allow.

There have been some promising signals from Cornell University regarding in-person instruction for the upcoming fall semester. We will keep the user community up-to-date with respect to in-person access to CHESS as the situation evolves.  

We discussed these issues, the current status, and my personal attempts at predicting the future at the CHESS Town Hall this week. Thank you to everyone who joined us. If you were not able to attend you can still view a recording of the meeting on our website.  

Registration is now open for the CHESS Users’ Meeting on June 8/9, and we will be updating information as things evolve. Please register for this annual event!

This month’s newsletter showcases the breadth of the partners at CHESS, with research highlights from CHEXS (FAST/QM2), MacCHESS, and MSN-C

We are also delighted to highlight Mario-Ramos-Garcés, a CHESS User and former Ph.D. student at University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras who has been honored by the ACS with the Young Investigator Award for his Ph.D. Through the PREM program, Mario was able to conduct operando research at the PIPOXS beamline at CHEXS. His research will surely contribute to better catalysts for future fuel cells. Congratulations Mario! 

The FlexX Beamline is highlighted in this month’s "Beamline in Focus", where staff scientist Aaron Finke discusses Covid research and the wide variety of crystallography-related experiments at the FlexX beamline. 

As changes continue to be implemented, we promise to keep you up-to-date. We encourage users to reach out to the Users Executive Committee with questions, comments and suggestions and, of course, feel free to contact us directly.

Thanks and Best Wishes,

Joel Brock, Director, CHESS (email Joel)
Beamlines in Focus: FlexX
The FlexX beamline, part of both CHEXS and MacCHESS, conducts research funded by both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Staff Scientist Aaron Finke, who has been at the FlexX beamline since 2016, gave us a tour of FlexX’s capabilities.
Incommensurate charge order in a low-dimensional superconductor
A team lead by Sara Haravifard from Duke University has conclusively and directly identified the subtle charge density wave phase in TPT emerging below 12K. The promise of engineered high temperature superconducting materials, which could revolutionize computing, energy, and transportation industries, drives ongoing fundamental research into the interplay between SC and CDW order.
A virus recognizes the starting point on the DNA to be packaged inside its protein shell
A bacteriophage – a virus that attacks bacteria – assembles into an infectious species using a powerful nanomachine to stuff its DNA into a protein shell. In several types of phage, this genome packaging motor is composed of several copies of large and small terminase subunits (TerL and TerS, respectively) that attach to a portal into the protein procapsid.
Autonomous materials development using in situ laser annealing and scan-probe, grazing incident x-ray microdiffraction.
During the 2021-1 run cycle at the FMB-beamline of MSN-C, an interdisciplinary group of researchers based at Cornell University demonstrated the first use of an AI-directed, fully-automated process for thin-film metastable materials exploration.
Investigation of porosity, texture, and deformation behavior using high energy X-rays during in-situ tensile loading in additively manufactured 316L stainless steel
A high-energy x-ray study of 316L stainless steel produced by laser powder bed fusion used x-ray tomography to understand porosity in the manufactured samples, and then observe the effect of these pores on the evolution of damage, texture, and strain when the materials are mechanically deformed.
Register now for the 2021 CHESS Users' Meeting
The CHESS Users’ Meeting will be online and the registration is free. Join us June 8th & 9th! There will be the usual annual recap, plus workshops and a poster session. Note that some workshops have not been determined yet - check back later for more information!
PREM connection, operando research lead to ACS Award for CHESS User
Mario Ramos-Garcés, CHESS User and former Ph.D. student at UPR-Río Piedras has been honored by the American Chemical Society's Division of Inorganic Chemistry with the Young Investigator Award for his Ph.D. research.
Issue No. 82 2021.4.16