Facility News: BioCARS Open House Celebrates Upgrade

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- April 18, 2008 -

Front (l. to r.): James Viccaro, director of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, The University of Chicago (CARS); Murray Gibson, director of the Advanced Photon Source; Keith Moffat, principal investigator of BioCARS; Philip Anfinrud, collaborator, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH/NIDDK); Timothy Graber, lead beamline designer for upgrade, CARS. Back (l. to r.): The CARS upgrade team. Zhong Ren, Shengyang Ruan, Yu-Sheng Chen, Frank Westferro, Robert Henning, Friedrich Schotte (NIH/NIDDK), Mati Meron, Vukica Šrajer, and Guy Macha. Not pictured: Harold Brewer, CARS; Hyun Sun Cho and Naranbaatar Dashdorj (NIH/NIDDK).

On April 18, 2008, BioCARS welcomed more than 60 people to an open house to celebrate the completion of the upgrade of beamline 14-ID and implementation of 100-picosecond time-resolved crystallography at BioCARS. The new configuration extends the time resolution available for the successful nanosecond time-resolved crystallography user program at BioCARS into the sub-ns time domain.
                                              
Speakers were James Viccaro, director of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, The University of Chicago; Keith Moffat, principal investigator of BioCARS; Murray Gibson, director of the Advanced Photon Source; and Philip Anfinrud from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (BioCARS collaborator in the implementation of 100ps time-resolved crystallography).

In their remarks and acknowledgments, the speakers lauded a unique collaboration between BioCARS, NIH and APS staff that has established BioCARS as the premier facility worldwide for 100-ps time-resolved crystallography.

With the new 14-ID beamline optics and improved time resolution, many challenging new domains become accessible, including more complex biological molecules, irreversible reactions, and important biological processes such as cooperativity, signal transduction, and catalysis.

The first experiments using the new configuration were completed in December 2007; data were taken on several heme proteins, in collaboration with Philip Anfinrud (NIH/NIDDK) and William E. Royer, Jr., University of Massachusetts Medical School. The teams successfully used crystals 10 times smaller and X-ray exposures 10 times shorter than previously used at BioCARS, while still obtaining excellent X-ray data quality.

The upgrade features the installation of several new pieces of equipment: two undulators that operate collinearly, a new Kirkpatrick-Baez mirror system providing 90 µm (horizontal) by 35 µm (vertical) X-ray beam size at the sample, a new monochromator, an upgraded BioCARS ultra-fast X-ray chopper capable of isolating single X-ray pulses in the 24-bunch APS mode, a new heat-load chopper, and new picosecond laser system with associated laser beam-delivery optics and synchronization electronics.

BioCARS is now welcoming new user groups interested in conducting time-resolved experiments on the upgraded beamline. Proposals can be submitted through the Advanced Photon Source proposal system at http://www.aps.anl.gov/Users/apply_for_beamtime.html.