Newsletter from MAX IV Laboratory 
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From the Directors Office

What a year it has been! It is difficult to judge if 2019 flew by faster than the year before or not, but one thing is sure: Many good things happened at MAX IV in 2019.

Among them, we opened a fourth beamline, FinEstBeAMS, to general users in April then four more beamlines, MAXPEEM, Bloch, Balder, and Veritas, this winter for a total of eight. Three more beamlines, FemtoMAX, FlexPES, and Species are well along in commissioning. FlexPES and Species will accept general users in spring 2020 and FemtoMAX plans to take users in autumn 2020. The CoSAXS beamline just saw "first light" this autumn and commissioning is proceeding rapidly. This marks the 12th of 16 funded beamlines at MAX IV to join our growing family of running beamlines, as described in our regular beamline status reports to the Swedish Research Council.

It also exceeds the most-ever (11) beamlines that were running when MAX IV's predecessor, MAX-lab, closed in 2015. In addition, all five of the planned beamlines on the 1.5 GeV ring are either hosting general users or being commissioned to be ready for them. In particular, these include MAXPEEM, FlexPES and Species, the three beamline programs transferred from MAX-lab to MAX IV which long served the vibrant and productive soft x-ray imaging, photoemission spectroscopy, and resonant inelastic x-ray scattering communities in Sweden.

The MAX IV accelerator systems that provide light to these beamlines have also made outstanding progress this year and continue to set the world standard for both performance and reliability. Top-up operation for superior beam stability is seamless, with the 1.5 GeV ring now running at 400 mA and the 3.0 GeV ring running at 250 mA routinely.

Likely of greater interest for most users, delivery of high-quality x-ray beams by the accelerator systems to the beamlines is exceptionally reliable with availability greater than 97%. MAX IV is on track to deliver 3800 hours of operations in 2019 on the Short Pulse Facility (FemtoMAX beamline), 4500 hours on the 3.0 GeV ring, and over 5000 hours on the 1.5 GeV ring. This world-class performance will continue to improve through next year and beyond.



This year also saw two reviews of MAX IV project management (three in total since August 2018) by an independent committee appointed by the Swedish Research Council. In its report from the most recent review, held on 11-12 November, the review committee thanked the MAX IV staff for its efforts and noted that MAX IV has made significant progress toward project management and beamline development since the previous review in February 2019.

While the committee expressed concerns about the transition ahead from building to full operation of the facility, it observed that MAX IV is moving in the right direction and that, "all problems that led to this series of reviews have been understood and efforts are made by the MAX IV staff to make continuous progress without further delays."

The report concluded, "Overall, the committee is happy to see that MAX IV is finally on the trajectory in ensuring its position and displaying its potential in becoming a world-leading synchrotron radiation user facility." Read the full report here. 

We are very pleased with this positive outcome and look forward to addressing the review committee's recommendations going forward.

On another front, the MAX IV user program is ramping up rapidly and utilization of the facility by the community is growing fast. Starting in 2019, we began offering two proposal calls for general user experiments. The spring call for beamtime in autumn/winter 2019 and autumn call for beamtime in winter/spring 2020 each attracted well over 200 high-quality proposals, making ranking by the MAX IV Program Advisory Committee challenging.

Roughly half the proposals submitted were authored by researchers from Swedish institutions, an indicator of strong regional engagement with MAX IV as well as illustrating the breadth and depth of Swedish x-ray science. Compared to 2018, the number of users participating in experiments at MAX IV in 2019 has grown from about 270 to more than 700, and the approximate number of four-hour shifts allocated for user experiments has increased from 1300 to 3000.

More importantly, noteworthy results from MAX IV have begun to appear in high quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals, some of which are highlighted in this newsletter. You can now keep up with the latest as well as follow earlier publications coming out of MAX IV with our online search tool. The word is out: MAX IV is open for business.

The year ahead is sure to bring the user community more beamlines and new capabilities as well as bring us new challenges, both financial and technical. I have absolutely no doubt that MAX IV is up to the job. On that note I wish everyone a happy and safe winter holiday season and productive year ahead!


Ian McNulty, 

Call for Abstracts for SXNS16

The 16th International Conference on Surface X-ray and Neutron Scattering will take place on 23–26 June 2020 in Lund, Sweden. The conference is co-organized by the European Spallation Source and MAX IV Laboratory with the support of the Lund Institute of Advanced Neutron and X-ray Science.

Submit your abstract here before 9 March 2020.

The scientific programme for SXNS16 will emphasize novel techniques for surface x-ray and neutron scattering including instrumentation and source development. Topics will include in-situ and in-operando surface studies, nanostructured surfaces and interfaces, surface and interfaces in soft matter, biological interfaces, emergent interfacial materials, and dynamics of surfaces, interfaces and nanostructures.

Our plenary speakers are Robert Feidenhans’l (XFEL, Germany) and Robert Thomas (Oxford University, UK), and a full list of invited speakers is on the website.

The registration deadline is 30th April 2020.

First scientific article from FinEstBeAMS: exploring ionic liquids

The first scientific article has been published based on results from the Estonian-Finnish beamline FinEstBeAMS. In this research paper, electronic structure of ionic liquids based on the [TFSI] anions was under investigation: valence band of [EMIM][TFSI], [DEME][TFSI] and [PYR1,4][TFSI] gas-phase ion pairs have been investigated using ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS).


Discoveries map out CRISPR-Cas defence systems in bacteria

For the first time, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have mapped how bacterial cells trigger their defence against outside attacks. This could affect how diseases are fought in the future.

Professor Guillermo Montoya from Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health and Medical Science explains: – We can see how CSX1 is activated, rotates and starts defending the cell, once COA is activated. Expressed in popular terms, the CSX1 starts cutting up the intruder.


First users at Balder beamline seek to illuminate MXenes

BALDER beamline – in operation since September, has taken its first users to investigate MXenes, a class of nano-crystalline 2D-layered transition metal carbides, carbonitrides and nitrides. Researchers aim to learn more about their fascinating characteristics and how to exploit their material properties for new technologies.


Exchange with SESAME

Naema Imam, Saeed Saedy and Saima Rasheed have all been visiting MAX IV during 2019. They have taken part in the scholarship-based training programme offered by the Swedish Institute for researchers from the eight Middle Eastern countries affiliated with SESAME light source located in Jordan.

Read about their experiences here: Naema, Saeed, and Saima

Open positions

Be sure to always check our website for the latest openings!

Right now we are looking to fill these positions:

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