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  • The SRC Aladdin Newsletter No. 38

    Summer 2005

    1. SRC Research Spotlight—Dr. Robert Carpick (UW Madison): MEMS, NEMS and Ultracrystalline Diamond
    2. Users’ Meeting: October 14-15, 2005
    3. 2005 Aladdin Lamp Award
    4. U.S. Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation Conference: September 21-23, 2005
    5. Successful Open House
    6. First Results from the VLS-PGM
    7. News Flash
    8. New Staff at SRC
    9. Educational Outreach Activities


    1. SRC Research Spotlight—Dr. Robert Carpick (UW Madison): MEMS, NEMS and Ultracrystalline Diamond

    The phrase “diamonds are forever” is being taken to new extremes at SRC. Researchers seeking to develop micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems, called MEMS and NEMS, have turned to a form of diamond and its durability as a way to make these little machines stand the test of time and wear. Dr. Robert Carpick, Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin Madison and his research group( are among the leaders in the study of tribology—the study of adhesion, friction and wear—at the micro- and nanoscales.

    A particularly nagging problem when making small machines has been that at such a small scale it is impossible to lubricate moving parts. A possible solution is the use of Ultrananocrystalline Diamond or UNCD. In a recent paper published in the April 18 issue of the journal Advanced Materials (Vol. 17, No. 8), Dr. Carpick and his colleagues report their study into UNCD and their use of synchrotron light at SRC.

    “[The issue] is particularly problematic because of the lack of fundamental scientific understanding of tribology. Indeed, currently there are no commercially viable MEMS/NEMS devices that involve sliding interfaces,” the authors write. “Here we describe the first nanometerscale tribological measurements of ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD), a diamond-based film that is a candidate material for MEMS/NEMS.”

    Dr. Carpick stresses the critical role that SRC played in this research and that all data reported in the recent article was collected at SRC. The next phase of the research includes a collaborative effort with Dr. Gelsomina “Pupa” De Stasio and will examine the wear of UNCD. This study, funded by a grant from the United States Air Force, is the critical next step, notes Carpick.

    “I think this is what the [Air Force grant] proposal is really about—it’s make it or break it,” he says. “What we haven’t shown yet is the wear.”


    2. The 2005 SRC Users Meeting: October 14-15

    The 2005 SRC Users’ Meeting will be held Friday and Saturday, October 14th and 15th 2005, in the Physical Sciences Laboratory conference room. This year's event will include several subject sessions—each consisting of one or two invited speakers—followed by contributed talks. All users are invited to prepare and submit abstracts of work performed at SRC during the past year. These abstracts will be used as a basis for selecting the oral presentations (both invited and contributed) for the Users Meeting. It is important to note that events such as these are very helpful in demonstrating the important research that is conducted at SRC for site visits, outreach, and education initiatives. The Users' Meeting is a great time for students and postdoctoral researchers who have performed hands-on research at SRC to report their research and they are particularly encouraged to present their work during the oral sessions.

    Please prepare each abstract (there is no limit on the number per author) in Microsoft Word format using the following parameters: 12-point Times Roman font, one-inch page margins, center and bold the title in 14-point Times Roman font, double space, authors/institutions to be 12-point and italicized with the author who would present the talk, if selected, underlined. Triple space before the abstract. The abstracts are limited in length to one letter size page. An example abstract can be viewed at:

    Deadline for abstract submission is September, 15, 2005. Please send the abstract as an email attachment to


    3. 2005 Aladdin Lamp Award

    Nominations for the Aladdin Lamp Award are being accepted for recognition of excellence in synchrotron radiation research performed at the Synchrotron Radiation Center in pursuit of a degree. Any student performing a significant piece of research at SRC as part of an educational program is eligible. The nominee should have been a student working at SRC within two years of the nomination deadline.

    A complete application will include the following:

    A. A brief letter of nomination from the applicant’s advisor. This letter should clearly state the role of the applicant in the research project.

    B. An extended abstract (4 page maximum, including figures) of the work performed at SRC, written by the applicant.

    C. The applicant’s curriculum vitae, including publications and works-in-progress.

    D. Supporting materials in the form of published papers or preprints are allowed, but not required.

    Recipients will receive a plaque, a $100 award and be recognized at the annual SRC Users’ Meeting on Friday, October 14th.

    The deadline for completed applications is September 15, 2005. Complete applications should be sent to Pam Layton at


    4. U.S. Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation Conference: September 21-23, 2005

    The upcoming SRI conference has established a website at The website will allow visitors to register and pay fees, submit titles and abstracts and provides information regarding all events related to the conference. As the site notes, critical dates include the Abstract Deadline of July 1 and the Registration Deadline of August 19.


    5. Successful SRC Open House

    The recent SRC Spring Open House held on April 24 was a huge success. Among the many volunteers, several SRC researchers including Pupa De Stasio, Brad Frazer and Franziskus Heigl, along with Rick Cole of Evansville High School presented their work to over 200 visitors touring through the vault. The event attracted the attention of local media and continues to serve as a great way to get the word out to the public about electron storage rings and the use of light for research.


    6. First Results from the VLS-PGM Beamline

    Scientists have completed the first experimental run using the SPHINX spectromicroscope on the new VLS-PGM beamline. Among other experiments, Pupa De Stasio and her group, in collaboration with Huifang Xu from the University of Wisconsin Department of Geology, studied samples of eclogite, a type of metamorphic rock, which has been forced deep into the earth’s mantle through a subduction process. Under high temperature and pressure conditions in the mantle, the minerals in eclogite are transformed into new forms. The eclogite samples studied at SRC are unique, in that they were returned to the earth’s surface in a relatively short time. Thus, the mineral inclusions in eclogite are frozen into high-pressure polymorphs and reveal a story to geologists about the mineralogy of substances 100 km below the surface of the earth.

    Some unexpected results showed that the inclusions are composed of glass-like amorphous minerals that are rich in silicon, oxygen and aluminum. Thanks to the high flux density and broad energy range of the VLS-PGM, the group was able to locate and identify microscopic inclusions in the eclogite sample, ranging in size from 250 nm to 5 µm—the smallest of which cannot be measured by any other non-destructive technique.

    7. News Flash

    Keep up-to-date with news from the world light-source community by subscribing to News Flash at News releases about the latest results from light source research are sent to you via email regularly. Subscribing is easy and all information is kept confidential.


    8. New Staff

    Brian Frederick joins the beamline/optics group as assistant. Brian earned his B.S. in biomedical engineering from UW Madison in May and plans to pursue graduate work there in the fall.

    Kyle Ripp also joined SRC at the beginning of the summer to assist in educational outreach and particularly the Remote Experiments project, directed by Chris Moore. Kyle will be a junior at UW-Madison in the fall and is a double major in Materials Science and Engineering and Physics.


    9. Educational Outreach Activities

    In addition to the open house, Chris Moore, Educational Outreach Coordinator for SRC, has been exceptionally active this spring in preparation for two major educational initiatives during the summer.

    First, a group of five outstanding undergraduates from around the country are now temporary residents of SRC as part of SRC’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program ( Jean Calerón, a sophomore majoring in chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, is working with Professor J. Leon Shohet on a project looking at the effects of VUV and UV on the surface charge of SiO2. Joni Nordberg, a junior studying physics at Gustavus Adolphus College (MN), is working with Dr. Ralf Wehlitz on the interactions between atoms and photons. Abraham Spinelli, a sophomore in materials engineering and applied physics at Purdue University, is working with Professor Robert Carpick studying the friction mechanisms of ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) and diamond-like carbon (DLC) at the micro- and nano-scales. Marcus Medley, a freshman in computer engineering at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, is working with Dr. Joe Bisognano on a project researching the next generation of synchrotron radiation and, in particular, the threshold of beam breakup in energy recovery linac (ERL) systems. Molly Andreason, a junior studying biology, physics and philosophy at the University of St. Thomas (MN), is working with Professor Gelsomina “Pupa” De Stasio studying the organic-inorganic interface of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, using the SPHINX spectromicroscope.

    Secondly, Chris is also administering a course titled Light as a Research Tool as part of the Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE) summer program ( The PEOPLE program seeks to support and encourage minority middle school and high school students from Wisconsin in order to prepare them for future success as undergraduates. Upon successful completion of the PEOPLE program and admission to the university, PEOPLE students are eligible for full tuition remission during their tenure as an undergraduate at UW-Madison.



    As part of a new initiative, science writer John Morgan is working with SRC to report on the exciting research conducted at the facility. Please forward news about your research to . Topics of interest include funding notices, awards and, in particular, pending publications. With advance notice, John will work with the office of University Communications to prepare articles about SRC research that will appear upon publication of your own research articles. Common publications include the University of Wisconsin website, Wisconsin Week, On Wisconsin alumni magazine, and news releases sent via the American Association for the Advancement of Science media outlet,, the premier site for journalists interested in reporting science news.