May 2, 2003 Search the Currents Archive

Talking Up a New Accelerator Facility

Studying Carbon Cycles in the Heartland

A Good Year for Neutrinos: From SNO to IceCube
Daughters(and Sons) to Work
Washington Briefings
New Recruitment Head Takes Proactive Approach
Manager of Employee and Labor Relations Has Wealth of Experience
Lab Scientist Wins Prestigious Gustafsson Prize
Ray Orbach to Meet with Lab Employees
New ALS Beamline
Berkeley Scientists Create Insulated Nanowires
Blood Drive Reminder
An Evening of Conversation with the Community
Computer & Information News
New Chemical Inventory System
Berkeley Lab Currents
Flea Market
Home on the Range for Lab Earth Scientists

Talking Up a New Accelerator Facility

By Lynn Yarris

With femtosecond spectroscopy, scientists are able to study the motion of atoms in molecules during physical, chemical, and biological reactions. With attosecond spectroscopy, they could study the motion of electrons in those atoms during such reactions. Femtosecond and, ultimately, attosecond spectroscopic studies with x-rays are among the many intriguing promises of a large new accelerator facility that Berkeley Lab scientists have in mind, called LUX, for Linac-based Ultrafast X-ray source.

“LUX is a concept to produce ultrashort x-ray pulses in a highly refined manner for experiments across all fields of the physical, chemical and biological sciences,” said Steve Leone, a chemist with the Chemical Sciences Division, who joined John Corlett, a physicist with the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division (AFRD), in presenting a talk on LUX at a Nuclear Science Division colloquium last Wednesday in the Building 50 auditorium.

Leone and Corlett are two of the leaders behind a proposal in which Berkeley Lab would design and build LUX as a U.S. Department of Energy national user facility. This facility would be optimized to produce substantial fluxes of tunable x-rays at pulse lengths ranging from 50 to 200 femtoseconds, with a goal of even shorter pulse lengths in the future. It would benefit many of the researchers now using the Advanced Light Source (ALS) and those expected to use the forthcoming Molecular Foundry.

“There is a tremendous grassroots effort growing in ultrafast x-ray science,” said Leone, an expert in the study of chemical reaction dynamics, who oversees operation of the chemical dynamics beamline at the ALS. “The experimental interest is both national and international, and LUX will provide the best opportunity to achieve many of the most critical experimental goals.”

John Corlett (left, at last week’s talk) and Steven Leone (below right) are the leaders behind the LUX proposal.

For molecules and atoms, time is measured in femtosecond increments. A femtosecond is one millionth of a billionth of a second — which is to one second what one second is to about 30 million years. The development of pulsed lasers that flash femtosecond blinks of visible, infrared or ultraviolet light has enabled scientists to take stop-action photo snapshots that record the dynamics of chemical bond-breaking during molecular reactions. However, to get analogous photos of the structural changes that take place during these reactions requires x-rays; otherwise, clear spectroscopic features of atoms are not observable and structural details of molecules are blurred.

“Lasers perform all of the ultrafast experiments we know of today but they can’t and aren’t likely to ever produce the substantial fluxes of x-rays needed for the diffraction experiments that can give us structural information,” said Leone. “LUX is designed to make femtosecond x-ray diffraction experiments possible.”

The primary component of the proposed LUX facility would be a 2.5 GeV (billion electron volt) recirculating superconducting linac (linear accelerator) system. This system would feature a photocathode gun, an injector linac and a 50-meter-long main linac, four outward spiraling recirculating rings, and multiple beamlines and experimental end-stations that would be coupled to lasers. The entire facility would occupy an area of about 150 by 50 meters, which is bigger than a football field, and would ideally be housed in a building adjacent to the ALS in the area now known as “Old Town.” Construction would take about six years, and the estimated total cost of the project is $380 million in 2003 dollars.

“LUX is the latest in Berkeley Lab’s history of ultrafast x-ray source developments,” said Corlett in his portion of the colloquium presentation. Corlett, who leads the Beam Electrodynamics Group at AFRD’s Center for Beam Physics, was referring to earlier work in which femtosecond x-ray pulses were generated at the Beam Test Facility off the ALS’s 50 MeV linac, and more recent work in which femtosecond x-ray pulses were obtained off the ALS’s primary electron beam. In these previous efforts, however, the x-ray pulses produced were low in flux and tunability.

“A recirculating linac is a potentially brighter source of x-rays than a synchrotron and provides an electron bunch repetition rate that is well-suited to pump-probe dynamics experiments,” Corlett said. “With LUX, we will use short electron bunch lengths to produce ultra-short x-ray pulses that have high flux per pulse. This will give us spatially and temporally coherent radiation on the soft x-ray regime.”

While LUX will be optimized for the production of 50 to 200 femtosecond x-ray pulse lengths, Leone and Corlett said in their presentation that the prospects for shortening those pulse lengths are excellent. This would bring attosecond pulses within reach, a span of time almost incomprehensibly brief: There are more attoseconds in one minute than there have been minutes in the entire history of the universe. Attoseconds are the timescale of electron motions — it takes an electron about 24 attoseconds to orbit a hydrogen nucleus. With attosecond x-ray spectroscopy capabilities, it is possible that scientists could steer the motion of electrons and control not only chemical reactions but even the emission of light.

Said Leone in his talk, “The x-ray region is where attosecond time dynamics will be achieved, and this should have a major impact on the study of electronic dynamics.”

Funding for LUX has so far come from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. The idea has been presented to members of DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, where it was well received. Corlett said that at least two to three more years of R&D are needed before a formal project proposal is submitted to DOE.


Studying Carbon Cycles in the Heartland

The peaceful, picturesque farm country west of Tulsa, Oklahoma, doesn’t look much like a science laboratory. But scientists found all they needed here to study carbon cycles for a DOE project.



A Good Year for Neutrinos: From SNO to IceCube

By Paul Preuss

In 1967 Raymond Davis, Jr., installed a tank of dry-cleaning fluid in the Homestake gold mine in South Dakota to look for neutrinos from the sun. He found far fewer than everybody said he should. Thus began a 35-year-long scientific mystery, finally resolved last year — just in time for Davis to win a Nobel Prize.

Beginning in June 2001, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada announced unambiguous evidence that the most audacious of ad hoc attempts to explain the solar neutrino puzzle was in fact correct: there are at least three kinds of neutrinos, whose “flavors” oscillate during their eight-minute trip from the sun.

Their tiny but significant mass makes it possible for electron neutrinos, tau neutrinos, or muon neutrinos to change into one another; Davis’s experiment could detect only electron neutrinos, so he saw only about a third of the real total. Last December the KamLAND neutrino detector in Japan showed that the same oscillations occur in (anti)neutrinos produced in nuclear power reactors.

This February neutrino science of a different sort got a boost, when the administration requested $60 million for fiscal year 2004 so the National Science Foundation could begin full-scale construction of IceCube — a giant, high-energy cosmic neutrino “telescope” at the South Pole.

A new day for neutrino science

IceCube, which is headquartered at the University of Wisconsin, will deploy 4,800 unique Digital Optical Modules (DOMs), 60 on each of 80 cables suspended in holes two kilometers deep, drilled with hot water into the Antarctic ice. The whole hexagonal array will encompass a cubic kilometer of remarkably clear ice.

A substantial chunk of IceCube’s budget will come to Berkeley Lab, where the key optical and data acquisition components were designed and built as prototypes and have already been tested deep in the ice. David Nygren of the Physics Division heads IceCube’s Data Acquisition team; Gerald Przybylski of the Engineering Division will oversee building the circuit boards for all 4,800 IceCube DOMs, plus extras.

Chuck McParland of the Computational Research Division is in charge of IceCube’s software, with additional data-systems design handled by William Carithers of Physics. A dozen other Berkeley Lab personnel from several divisions are intimately involved in the IceCube effort.

“We’re in it because we want to do the science,” says Robert Stokstad of the Nuclear Sciences Division, the Lab’s institutional lead for IceCube, and the scientific payoff promises to be big: acting as a “cosmic beam dump,” IceCube will investigate giant black holes, supernovae, gamma ray bursters, dark matter, and other phenomena in ways impossible with other kinds of detectors.

IceCube will incorporate neutrino detectors already placed in the Antarctic ice for the AMANDA telescope (top).

Digital optical modules (DOMs) designed at Berkeley Lab enclose both a photomultiplier tube and its processing electronics in a high-pressure glass sphere. (below)

Berkeley Lab Leadership

Berkeley Lab has been a major participant in SNO, KamLAND, IceCube, and many other neutrino-science collaborations; its involvement in SNO began as early as 1989. To do equally important neutrino science in the future means getting started now.

“The field is awash with good ideas,” Stokstad says. “We need to identify the opportunities and pick the projects best suited to Berkeley Lab participation.”

Among the criteria: outstanding science, the chance for a unique Lab contribution, and political as well as technical feasibility. The Lab’s Neutrino Working Group, chaired by Stokstad and with members from Physics, the Nuclear Science Division (NSD), and the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division (AFRD), presented their report on April 11.

Hitoshi Murayama of Physics gave a talk that could well have been titled “How can we fix the Standard Model?” The Standard Model of physics doesn’t allow for neutrino mass; before it can be enlarged to include the concept, researchers must learn whether or not the neutrino is its own antiparticle and determine the mass relations among the three flavors. Exactly how massive is the lightest neutrino? Which flavor is it?

New kinds of experiments are needed to answer these questions. One of the most audacious is a “neutrino factory.”

“Creating a neutrino factory means a significant step forward in the accelerator builder’s art,” noted Michael Zisman of AFRD. He discussed Berkeley Lab’s leadership of the Neutrino Factory and Muon Collider Collaboration, and contributions to MICE, the international Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment, which will test one of the machine’s essential components.

In January 2000, Berkeley Lab's Bob Stokstad, Gerald Przybylski, and Jozsef Ludvig oversaw the deployment of a test string of IceCube-style DOMs at AMANDA.

The big four

The Neutrino Working Group’s top four picks for the Lab include:

• Double beta-decay experiments. Some nuclei can decay by emitting two electrons (beta particles), simultaneously transforming two of their neutrons into protons. Usually two neutrinos are also emitted. However, if neutrinos are their own antiparticles they could annihilate, and the result would be “neutrinoless double beta decay” instead.

The search requires detectors a hundred times more sensitive than current experiments. Stuart Freedman of NSD described Berkeley Lab’s extensive involvement in the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE) at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, as well as other, more revolutionary experiments.

Measurement of the mixing angle theta (one, three). “Mixing” is what happens when one neutrino flavor turns into another; mixing angles, designated by the Greek letter theta plus a pair of numbers, describe how likely and how often this occurs. Of the three mixing angles needed to describe neutrino oscillation, only two have been measured.

Accelerator-based attempts to measure the third — theta (one, three) — are underway but will take years. A properly shielded detector placed to take advantage of reactor-produced neutrinos could give an answer faster and cheaper.

Karsten Heeger of Physics described the search for a suitable site. As it happens, the hills near the Diablo Canyon power plant on the California coast are riddled with abandoned gold mines. Three hundred tons of liquid scintillator placed in a tunnel four kilometers from Diablo Canyon’s twin reactors could detect 12,000 neutrino events a year.

• New tests of the Standard Solar Model. More precise values of mixing angles that SNO, KamLAND, and other experiments have already measured will help scientists determine neutrino masses and their order. To do this, researchers need to know more about low-energy nuclear reactions in the sun. Berkeley Lab scientists are at work on the far more sensitive solar-neutrino detectors needed for this work.

• The National Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (NUSEL). Cosmic neutrino physics got its start in the Homestake Mine, and Homestake may yet turn out to be home to a lot more neutrino physics — not to mention geology, biology, and other studies as well. But the fate of the mine is in doubt; its owners are threatening to let it flood unless the government comes to terms on cost and liability issues. (Currents will carry more about NUSEL in a future issue.)

When NUSEL executive committee member Kevin Lesko delivered his status report at the Neutrino Working Group session, it appeared the mine would begin flooding three days later (a date since delayed). Lesko viewed this as an opportunity “to get on with choosing a permanent site.”

James Symons, director of NSD, promptly labeled Lesko the embodiment of Winston Churchill’s definition of an optimist: “one who sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Neutrino science is difficult both politically and technically — it’s not easy to catch particles that can zip through a light-year of lead. That could be one reason it presents so many attractive opportunities to the Lab’s optimistic researchers.

The members of Berkeley Lab’s Neutrino Science Working Group are Robert Cahn, William Carithers, Stuart Freedman, Karsten Heeger, Richard Kadel, Volker Koch, Kevin Lesko, Zoltan Ligeti, Kam-Biu Luk, Hitoshi Murayama, Eric Norman, David Nygren, Andrew Sessler, Robert Stokstad, Jonathan Wurtele, and Michale Zisman.

Daughters (and Sons) to Work

For the tenth consecutive year, Berkeley Lab hosted children of Lab employees for "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" on April 24. “Climbing to the Top” was the theme, and 180 children from ages 9-16 participated.

“The day was a huge success,” said Rollie Otto, Director of the Center for Science and Engineering Education, which organized the event. “This event is such a great opportunity for parents at the Lab to bring their kids to the work environment while also giving them a chance to see what fun science can be.”

The day began with an opening talk by Susan Celniker of Life Sciences on fruit fly genomics, followed by workshops held all over the Lab. The youngsters learned about scientific glassblowing, the use of laser light and ultrasound medical imaging to observe how blood flows inside the body, and how to extract and spool DNA from fruit. They also learned how to detect radiation and radioactive particles and build their own electromagnets during a visit to the ALS.


David Knowles of the Life Sciences Division and Brett Holland of Genome Sciences taught a workshop on microscopy. Children got to observe leaves, petals, epithelial cells, and even living flies "There were so many excellent questions that we just did not have the time to answer them all."

Flies were also under the microscope at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), where kids observed specimen insects and spider webs under increasing magnification, beginning with a magnifying glass and ending with the country's most powerful electron microscope.

But it wasn’t all science. The firehouse held a workshop on fire safety and basic firefighting procedures, and the day ended with an old-fashioned ice cream social.

Said NCEM’s Doug Owen. “It makes you so proud to see our next generation of scientists.” — Lisa Gonzale

Washington Briefings

Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development visited Berkeley Lab last week to learn more about major initiatives and key programs for potential science funding. During their visit, they heard about the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center and advanced computing, the SuperNova/ Acceleration Probe (SNAP), the proposed Molecular Foundry and nanoscience, and the Advanced Light Source.

At the ALS stop (right), resear-cher Carolyn Larabell explains her work in biological imaging to: (counterclockwise from bottom) ALS Director Daniel Chemla, Subcommittee Chairman David L. Hobson (R-Ohio), Marion Berry (R-Ark), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and panel staffer Bob Schmidt. Looking on are Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank, behind Berry, and subcommittee staffer Kevin Cook, right. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


By Ron Kolb

New Recruitment Head Takes Proactive Approach

Edward Sayson’s car license is “EDHUNTR,” which tells you several things about him. First, as a play on the word “Headhunter,” it suggests what business he’s in. It reflects his endearing sense of whimsy. And it says he’s creative when it comes to recruiting.

“I’ve had people flag me down and give me their resumes,” Sayson laughs. Just the kind of guy Berkeley Lab should be proud to have as its new Head for Recruitment in Human Resources. HR Manager Randy Scott hired him to replace Lori Fong, who retired recently.

Don’t ask Sayson about his last name. He’ll tell you some silly story about Ellis Island and a Swedish immigrant (he’s actually of Chinese ancestry and grew up in Manila). But ask him about the world of personnel staffing and proactive employee searches, and he’ll give you his no-nonsense approach to effective recruiting. It’s based on two decades of success.

“Our current state of recruitment appears to be reactive,” Sayson said during his second week on the job. “You’re already behind the curve if you wait for the (job) requisition. So the key is to partner with the HR center staff and the hiring manager to develop a workforce plan in advance of the need. Build industry candidate pools, and publicize with underrepresented groups that are targets in the division diversity plans.”

He should know. As staffing manager for Commerce One, a supply chain software firm, he helped the company grow from a fledging start-up of 150 people to an international corporation of 3,500. He similarly oversaw hiring for a telecommunications start-up, Procket, to go from 120 to 300 employees. As an independent recruiter for 10 years, he placed hundreds of clients in top telecommunications and information technology (IT) positions.

Sayson actually started in the IT world, fresh with an MBA from Pepperdine. He was an advisor on hardware and software strategies. But an experience with the Walt Disney Company shifted his focus. While working to improve Disney’s engineering automation and word processing systems in the face of impending growth in Florida (Epcot Center) and Tokyo (Disneyland), Sayson realized that getting the right people for the job wasn’t that easy.

“We needed experienced engineers, and I discovered that even with a name like Disney, skilled people wouldn’t beat a path to our door. We had to go out and find them.”

And a new career in recruiting was born. Now, armed with the tools and skills that he says represents “best practices” in the industry, he said he hopes to build the infrastructure and partnerships needed to “obtain the most dynamic, interesting and diverse workforce that we can, recruiting and retaining the best in the business.”

With the Molecular Foundry and its significant hiring needs on the horizon, and growth in other scientific areas almost assured, Sayson will have plenty of opportunity to put his “Edhunting” skills to use.

Manager of Employee and Labor
Relations Has Wealth of Experience

The journal of organizations with which Bill Elkins negotiated over the years reads like a Who’s Who of the American labor movement — the Teamsters, United Steelworkers, United Mineworkers, United Auto Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Paperworkers, International Union of Operating Engineers.

The entry about the number of strikes resulting from those contract negotiations is very short — one item, to be exact. And that tells you something important about Berkeley Lab’s new manager of Employee and Labor Relations.

“I take a very pragmatic approach,” Elkins said. “It focuses on mutual collaboration, joint problem-solving, and issue resolution. You have to look at the concerns and issues on both sides. If you’re not, you generate negatively-based attitudes that can come back and undermine your organizational effectiveness.”

Despite that six-day walkout employees staged at Monsanto early in his career, Elkins has a strong track record of being a management advocate with a healthy respect for the employee. In his labor relations stints with Inland Steel, Monsanto, Weyerhaeuser, and Boeing, he and his teams treated the collective bargaining process as an opportunity for collaboration, not conflict.

He’s even seen the world from the “other side,” when he spent time as a representative for the Graphic Communications Union, negotiating with companies in the paper converting industry, such as Georgia Pacific and International Paper.

Following a two-year hitch with the U.S. Marines, Elkins earned his B.A. degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of Wisconsin, which has served him well (“I’m like a social worker for industrial relations,” he said). After setting aside brief aspirations to be a civil engineer, he returned to graduate school to earn his masters in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota. That set the stage for his subsequent extensive experience in the field.

One stop he hadn’t yet made was in public sector labor relations — until now. When Berkeley Lab’s opportunity beckoned, he left a 10-year career at Boeing in Southern California to come north to a destination that attracted him both personally and professionally. His weekends are now spent exploring new territory like Marin and Mendocino. On weekdays he’s mastering a terrain that’s similar, yet different, from the past.

“There seems to be more focus on employee equity than in the private sector,” he said one month into the job. “You don’t have shareholder equity as a concern and, while important, less emphasis upon operating efficiency and employee productivity. And you do have the political process, which you don’t run into much in private industry relative to labor and employee relations issues.”

Elkins said he enjoys the academic environment that Berkeley provides, which is a long way from steel, chemicals and paper converting. But he added that the Lab should be able to learn from the things he brings with him from the industrial world.

“I’d like to be able to explore possibilities for the Laboratory’s leadership team and our unions,” he said, “advocating new approaches to labor relations, new perspectives to working together and addressing matters of mutual concern. I hope to be able to offer more options and alternatives.”

It all serves what Elkins calls the bottom line, for employee and management — “to keep us all going.”

Lab Scientist Wins Prestigious Gustafsson Prize

Mattias Klintenberg, a materials scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division and an associate professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, has been awarded the Göran Gustafsson prize for young researchers in Sweden.

The prestigious prize, valued at $120,000, is awarded to young researchers with outstanding merits in the area of physics. The prize ceremony was held in Stockholm at Bukowskis’ (an art auction house) and the dinner at the Swedish National Museum.

Klintenberg, who’s been splitting his time between Berkeley Lab and Sweden, has been working on a new class of semiconductor scintillator materials for biomedical imaging along with Lab scientists Stephen Derenzo, Edith Bourret-Courchesne, and Marvin Weber.

"The area of materials science in which I am active tries to understand and optimize materials properties using quantum mechanics,” Klintenberg says. “Using massive computational power we are systematically investigating the electronic structure of tens of thousands of materials.”

Klintenberg earned his Ph.D. in solid state physics in 1997 and worked as a postdoc for the following two years in Berkeley Lab’s Department of Nuclear Medicine and Functional Imaging. In 1999 he was hired as a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab and alternated between research here and teaching at Uppsala University.

Klinternberg, his wife Rebecka (a postdoc at UC Berkeley) and their 18-months-old daughter Elsa will spend most of their time now in Berkeley.

More information on Klinterberg’s research can be found at — Monica Friedlander

Ray Orbach to Meet with Lab Employees

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science Director Ray Orbach will make his annual trip to Berkeley Lab next Friday, May 9, for an all-day, on-site review of scientific programs. While here, he would like to speak to employees and answer some questions. So at 12:30 p.m., Berkeley Lab staff is invited to join him on the cafeteria lawn for a brief presentation. Light refreshments will be provided.


New ALS Beamline

The ribbon was cut on April 22 for the new Coherent Soft X-ray Science Beamline (12.0.2) at the Advanced Light Source. A joint project of the ALS, the Center for X-ray Optics (CXRO), and the University of Oregon, the beamline will produce microwatts of tunable coherent soft x-rays to do a wide range of experiments in both scattering and optics. ALS Division Director Daniel Chemla and Lab Director Charles Shank wielded the scissors, flanked by (from left) Steve Kevan from the University of Oregon, CXRO Head Erik Anderson, and ALS Scientific Support Leader Zahir Hussain. Watching the proceedings behind Anderson is CXRO’s Dave Attwood. Also on hand were (left to right in back) Ron Oort, Patrick Naulleau, Kevin Bradley, Bryan Hoef, Paul Denham, Rene Delano, Gideon Jones, Ken Goldberg, Hanjing Huang, and Drew Kemp. Photo by Roy Kalschmidt

Berkeley Scientists Create Insulated Nanowires

By Lynn Yarris

Berkeley Lab scientists have created insulated electrical wires that are about 100,000 times narrower in diameter than a human hair. These insulated wires are single-walled carbon nanotubes encased within an outer sheath of boron nitride nanotubes. The ultra high-strength wires were reported in the April 18 issue of Science.

“The ability to insulate nanowires opens up new possibilities for nanoelectronics,” says Alex Zettl, a physicist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD) and UC Berkeley’s Physics Department, who led the research. “Insulation keeps different wires from shorting to each other or to nearby conductors, and will allow the wires to serve as the basis of coaxial cables or a simple gating configuration for the production of electronic devices such as transistors.”

Coauthoring the Science paper with Zettl were William Mickelson, Shaul Aloni, Wei-Qiang Han and John Cumings.

Above are electron micrscopy images of boron nitride nanotube silos housing buckyball nanowires in various packing configurations: (a) staggered, (b) rotated triangles, (c) cork-screw, and (d) disordered stacking. The drawing illustrates how a change in the cylinder diameter of a boron nitride nanotube changes the configuration of buckyballs packed within.

First came the discovery in 1985 of fullerenes, the cagelike structures of carbon atoms, the most famous of which is carbon-60, the buckyball. Then came the discovery in 1991 of the long, thin, hollow cylinders of carbon atoms called nanotubes. In 1998, scientists created the first carbon “peapods,” carbon nanotubes which were packed with a linear chain of buckyballs. Now, from Zettl’s group — which in 1997 made the first nanotubes out of pure boron nitride — comes the “boron nitride silo.” When a boron nitride silo is packed with buckyballs and then subjected to a 10-minute blast from an intense beam of electrons, the result is a carbon nanowire conductor enclosed within the world’s strongest widegap insulating fiber.

Zettl and his group made their boron nitride nanotubes using a plasma-arc technique developed earlier in Zettl’s laboratory, in which a hot electrical discharge is sent between two boron-rich electrodes in a chamber filled with pure nitrogen gas. This yields an abundance of boron nitride nanotubes in the soot that forms along the chamber walls. The soot can then be heat-treated to open the tips of the tubes, creating a boron nitride silo. The silos were packed with buckyballs by sealing the soot in vacuum inside a quartz ampoule along with carbon-60 powder and then heating the ampoule to between 550 and 630 degrees Celsius for 24 to 48 hours.

In addition to creating insulated carbon nanowires, Zettl says that boron nitride silos can also serve as model systems for studying the mechanical, electronic, thermal, and magnetic properties of “dimensionally constrained” configurations of densely packed molecules such as buckyballs, a critical need for the development of nanotechnology.

“When individual carbon-60 spheres just barely fit inside the boron nitride cylinder, we got the linear chain or classic peapod configuration,” Zettl says. “However, at a slightly larger cylinder diameter, the spheres began to form a staggered chain. At still larger diameters, the staggered chain became close-packed, followed by a corkscrew-like formation.”

Zettl and his group were able to obtain “a whole new slew” of bucky-ball packing configurations simply by increasing the diameter of the boron nitride silo until the silo diameter exceeded the buckyball diameter by six times, at which point disorder set in. The configurations they obtained have never been seen in bulk or thin-film forms of carbon-60 and are expected to have novel electrical and mechanical properties. In carbon nanotube peapods, only the linear chain configuration has been seen.

Blood Drive Reminder

The next onsite blood drive is being held on Tuesday and Thursday of next week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Building 70A, Room 3377. Appointments can be made online at the BeADonor website (, use company/group code “LBL”) or by calling Charlotte Bochra at X4268.

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 56 days. For more see the BeADonor website.

The blood drive is a partnership between Berkeley Lab and the American Red Cross Blood Services.

An Evening of Conversation with the Community

Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, and lead scientists from the Laboratory will participate in an evening of conversations with members of the local neighborhoods who are interested in learning more about the Lab’s current and future activities. All employees are invited.

“Conversations About Lab Activities,” will be held on Thursday, May 8, at the Haas Clubhouse in the Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area (second floor Club Room), from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The event is one of several ways in which the Laboratory is extending its outreach to local and regional communities to further communications and mutual understanding.

Lab activities to be discussed include:

  • Nanoscience and the Molecular Foundry

  • Astrophysics and the Super-Nova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP)

  • Genomics and the Human Genome Project

  • Energy efficiency and the Berkeley Lamp

  • Fire protection and vegetation management

  • Science education.

Transportation will be provided by Berkeley Lab’s wheelchair accessible buses between the Berkeley BART Station and the Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area. The shuttle service will run from 7:15 until 9:30 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.

Computer & Information News

Computer Support Help Streamlined

The web-based form for requesting computer or network help has been revamped by the Desktop Support Group. The form now asks the user to describe the problem and provides a number of categories and subcategories reflecting the most commonly reported problems. The new form captures the information needed by the group to forward the request to the appropriate person.

Telephone Service Center to Offer GSM Service

The Lab’s Telephone Service Center (TSC) is now offering GSM — Global System for Mobile communications-based service — a wireless telecommunication standard that delivers circuit-switched 56.6 kbps data connections.

At this time, however, TSC recommends that GSM be used mostly by users who plan to do much international travel, who cannot receive cellular coverage on the Hill, or who require a PDA phone. All others should continue with their current cellular service/equipment. For more information, contact the TCS.

New Chemical Inventory System

An improved web-based version of the Chemical Inventory System, renamed the Chemical Management System (CMS), was released for use by the Berkeley Lab staff earlier this week. This system ensures that Berkeley Lab will continue to meet its regulatory commitments for chemical reporting while providing research and support staff at the Lab with an enhanced chemical inventory tracking and reporting tool.

Upgraded security measures have been incorporated into CMS to ensure that sensitive information contained in the system is protected.

CMS has been pretested by a representative users’ group to ensure that improvements work as expected. The application runs on both PC and Macintosh platforms operating with Netscape or Internet Explorer.

Starting this month, training will be offered to prospective users to help them take full advantage of the capabilities of CMS.

For more information or to enroll in a training session, contact Lee Aleksich at or X2994.

Berkeley Lab Currents

Published twice a month by the Communications Department for the employees and retirees of Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Ron Kolb, Communications Department head.

EDITOR: Monica Friedlander, (510) 495-2248,

STAFF WRITERS: Lisa Gonzales, 486-4698; Dan Krotz, 486-4109, Paul Preuss, 486-6249; Lynn Yarris, 486-5375

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Jon Bashor, X5849; Allan Chen, X4210


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
Communications Department, MS 65
One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley CA 94720
Tel: (510) 486-5771 Fax: (510) 486-6641

Flea Market


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‘89 HONDA CIVIC 4 wd wagon, 4 dr, 4 cyl, 1.6L, 6 sp manual, 125K mi, new clutch, must sell, take fair offer, Feng, X5304, 652-6842

‘92 MAZDA MPV minivan, 160K mi, new service & batt, cruise, all pwr, rear ac, am/fm/cass, runs great, $3,000, Gustavo, X4473, 524-6095

‘87 MERCURY COUGAR, blue, 2 dr coupe, 188K mi, 5.0 L 8 cyl, at, all pwr, elec climate control, am/fm/ cass, ac, tilt whl, great cond, new trans, $1,600/ bo, Marius, 783-1907, 685-8224

‘86 HONDA CIVIC, 4 dr sedan, at, 103K mi, clean title, runs very well, $1,000, Shenji, X5662, 526-7562


‘97 HONDA HELIX motor scooter, red, 16K mi, 250 cc, freeway legal, no shifting, good tires, windshield, exc digital instr readout, lockable trunk + added rack, 2 padded seats, exc cond, all records, $2,800; large Shoei helmet, $100, Pierre/ Margot, 524-8672


BERKELEY HILLS, bay view, furn rm 17’x15’, priv bth/ent, cooking facil in adj rm, w/d, pool table, workout mach, quiet neighbrhd near UC/pub trans/shops, $850/mo incl linens, dishes, util, phone, internet, use of garden/ BBQ, wkly b&b, no smoking/pets, $300/wk, Carol, 524-6692

BERKELEY HILLS, fully furn rm w/ sep ent, full kitchen priv, w/d, quiet neighbrhd, lovely backyrd, nr bus, avail 8/1, $890/mo, incl util, Arun, 524-3851,

BERKELEY, 1 bdrm/1bth, inlaw garden apt, sep ent, w/d, near shops/BART/pub trans, 12-mo lease, no pets/smoking, avail 6/1, $875/mo+util, Linda, 849-1579,

BERKELEY, 2 bdrm house, furn, recently renov, centrl location, 4 bl to N Berkeley BART, $1,300/mo + util + dep, 3 cats & 1 small snake will require care, avail 5/20-8/8, Jonathan, X7081,

BERKELEY/CLAREMONT, space for 1 or 2 persons in priv home close to Lab, $700 for 1 pers, $900 for 2, mo-to-mo, Jim, X5603, Carol, 848-7401

CENTRAL BERKELEY, nice furn rms, kitchen, laundry, TV, DSL, hardwd flrs, linens, dishes, contin brkfst, walk to pub trans/ shops, $950/mo incl utils, $350/wk, Jin or Paul, 845-5959, jin.young@juno. com, Paul X7363

CLAREMONT, 2 bdrm/2 bth eleg furn home, avail 6/1-3/15/04, flexible, walk to campus/shops, kitchen, formal din rm, patio, garden, ideal for a vis prof & small family, $3,000/mo, Rona, 666-1389

ELMWOOD, share eleg 11 rm/2 bth house w/ 2 professionals, 35+, nonsmoking, lge sunny bdrm w/ hill view, fp, big closet, avail 5/1, weekly shared dinners, yellow Lab, sauna, guest rm, nice yrds, $850/ mo+dep, shared expenses, Tony, 841-4480

ELMWOOD, 1700 sq ft house, 2 lge bdrms, sep bth, liv rm w/ vaulted ceilings, fp, w/d, fully or part furn, neg, near College Ave, short ride to LBNL, safe/clean, quiet neighbrhd, walk to Claremont/ Rockridge/BAR/UC, street parking, garden, util pd, avail 8/1/03-6/1/04, $2,400 +dep+last mo rent, neg, David, 845-1620, (415) 235-9560

KENSINGTON, 3 bdrm home, fully furn, view, avail 5/1 - 6/21, $1,500/ mo, Ruth, 526-6730

KENSINGTON, rm in priv home, fully furn, kitchen privil, $450/mo, avail 5/1, Ruth, 526-6730

OAKLAND HILLS house, share w/ 2 adults, lge rm, sunny, views, walkin closet great location, $700+util, avail now, short term possible, Michelle, 531-9151

OAKLAND/LAKE MERRITT, across fr Children’s Fairyland, 2 bdrm apt, walk to BART, hardwd flrs, gas stove, fp, quiet, 1,100 sq ft, avail 5/1, $1,595/mo, Ying 530-3760, Jin, X7531

PLEASANT HILL, 3 bdrm/ 3 bth, 2,600 sq ft, trilevel home, sep office, upgr gra-nite kitchen, 2 car garage, lge landscp backyrd, incl gardener serv, 20 min to LBNL, avail 7/1 neg, no pets/smok, $2,350 + dep, Eran, (925) 827-9453,

PLEASANT HILL, townhouse, 1,400 sq ft, 3 bdrm/ 2 bth, 2 car garage, comm pool & facil, $1,800/mo or bo, Derun, X5053, John, (925) 476 2115, DLi@


LBNL/UCB research couple seek 2 bdrm house in N. Berkeley hills/Kensington hills area for long term lease, exc ref, nonsmok/no pets, Mattias, X4631, mkklintenberg@

VISITING SCHOLAR, wife & child seek housing in El Cerrito area beg 9/22 for 10 mo, tanishi@civil.


CELL PHONE, NOKIA 5190 w/ stand battery, hi cap battery, desk charger & more, $40, Joe, X5374

DRAW TIGHT class 3 receiver, tow hitch fits Ford pickup w/ mounting hardware, $100/bo, Frank, X4552, (707) 745-1435

FURNITURE, solid wood bookcase, $50; corner unit $30; small desk $100; queen futon bed w/ twin bunk above, $150; bunk bed needs minor repair, $300 for all, Rosemary X2426, (925) 229-4275

KENMORE washing mach, 3 cycles, good cond, $60, Daniela, X7814, 843 0425

KIMBALL upright piano w/ bench, good cond, tuned reg, rich tone, manufact in late 70s, $1,200/bo, Carol, X4848, 665-4870

SPINNING WHEEL, antique, $75/bo, photos at, Bill Benson, 524-0409,


CHILDCARE needed for 18-mo-old baby girl, Mattias, X4631,

HOUSE SITTER, N. Berkeley, 3 blks to Lab shuttle, BART, 7/21-8/18, 2 bdrm/1 bth, parking, spa, DSL, cat to feed, Tony, X7158,


TAHOE KEYS, S. Lake Tahoe, 3 bdrm/2.5 bth house, fenced yard, quiet, sunny, great view of water/ mtns, $195/nights, 2 night min, Bob, (925) 376-2211

Flea Market Policy

Ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and onsite DOE personnel. Only items of your own personal property may be offered for sale.

Submissions must include name, affiliation, extension, and home phone. Ads must be submitted in writing (e-mail:, fax: X6641, or mailed/delivered to Bldg. 65.

Ads run one issue only unless resubmitted, and are repeated only as space permits.

The deadline for the May 16 issue is Thursday, May 8.

Home on the Range for Lab Earth Scientists

Scientists from Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division traveled to the big sky country of central Oklahoma for one week last month to conduct fieldwork for the Carbon Project, which is sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. The Carbon Project team is making a suite of measurements to understand the region’s atmospheric CO2 budget. They are developing models that predict exchanges of carbon, water, and energy at the landscape scale, which will help scientists understand how these cycles link to land use and the climate.

“The overall goal of our work is to better understand the sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” says team leader Margaret Torn.

The research site, in the middle of farm country two hours west of Tulsa, is a mix of wheat fields and pastureland. The flat topography and variety of land uses make the site an ideal place to determine how to scale carbon flux predictions from small plots to region-wide areas. It also allows the team to measure hydrological and meteorological processes across different land surfaces.

(Top) Jessie Westbrook of Earth Sciences collects plant and soil samples from a wheat field, which will be analyzed for their oxygen-18 content. This information will be used to test a numerical model of ecosystem carbon and water fluxes.
(Bottom) Marc Fischer of Environmental Energies Technologies Division installs an eddy covariance system in a central Oklahoma pasture. The device consists of a sonic anemometer, which measures wind velocity and air temperature, and an infrared gas analyzer that measures CO2 and H2O densities. Together, the instruments allow the team to measure CO2 fluxes in the pasture, which will be compared with CO2 fluxes in a wheat field.