Today at Berkeley Lab

Archives for October 2011

Open Enrollment Ends Nov. 22; Info Sessions Scheduled

To assist Berkeley Lab employees during Open Enrollment (Oct. 31-Nov. 22), the HR Benefits Group is hosting a series of information sessions in the coming weeks and has created a website with links to information on choosing a medical plan, rates, finding a doctor, eligibility, and more. It also includes a webinar presentation on Open Enrollment. A Google calendar on the site lists all the scheduled information sessions. More>

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Golden Membranes: A New Tool for Studying Spatial Patterns in Living Cells

Jay Groves of the Physical Biosciences Division led the creation of a new way to study how the spatial patterns of chemical and physical properties on membranes can determine the fate of a biological cell — whether it lives or dies, remains normal or turns cancerous. The key was embedding a fixed array of gold nanoparticles into a fluid lipid bilayer membrane. Working with Groves on this project were Theobald Lohmuller, Sara Triffo, Geoff O’Donoghue, Qian Xu and Michael Coyle. More>

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A Workshop for a New Generation of Light Sources

John Corlett of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division and SLAC’s Zhirong Huang co-chaired a three-day workshop last week at Berkeley Lab on “Realizing the Potential of Seeded FELs in the Soft X-Ray Regime.” Some 90 participants from across the U.S., half a dozen European countries, and as afar afield as China gathered to discuss the theory, technology, and experimental facilities needed to create tomorrow’s advanced “seeded” free electron lasers. These long strings of magnets yield laser-like x-ray light from electron beams and should soon be able to achieve the tunable energies, very short pulses, very high repetition rates, and other properties needed to do currently inaccessible experiments in chemistry, biology, and materials science. More>

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Naulleau Appointed Director of Center for X-Ray Optics

Patrick Naulleau of the Materials Sciences Division has been appointed as Director of the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO). He has been serving as interim director since 2010. Naulleau launched the EUV nanopatterning program in CXRO and led the development of the 0.3-NA EUV nanolithography tool at the ALS, which has become the world’s highest resolution projection lithography tool. He is also a member of UC Berkeley’s IMPACT program, dedicated to research in advanced lithography. Naulleau and his colleagues at CXRO are global leaders in x-ray research and technology, and they have developed strong and critical connections between the Materials Sciences and Advanced Light Source Divisions at the Lab.

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Lean Team Improves SJHA Process Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

A Process Improvement (Lean) Team lead by Mike Ruggieri (EH&S) has increased efficiency and customer satisfaction of the Subcontractor Job Hazards Analysis (SJHA) program. The lead time for completing SJHAs was decreased and customers who consider the SJHA process to be “Easy and Improves Safety” increased from 39% to 89%. The customer satisfaction results are updated monthly and available on the Operations Dashboard. The improvements were achieved by enhancing customer service, creating a more user-friendly SJHA database, and increasing the number of Lab-wide SJHAs available to customers. Other members of the Lean Team included Dan Abell (IT), Vivi Fissekidou (Earth Sciences Division) Gina Goodman (OCFO), and Ben Sandmann (Physical Biosciences Division).

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November Benefits Calendar Now Available

To assist staff in tracking its upcoming events, the HR Benefits Group produces a monthly calendar, and the November edition is now available. A new employee benefits orientation, a workshop on elder care, and Open Enrollment information sessions are among next month’s offerings. Contact benefits@lbl.gov for more information. More>

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Accelerator for Warm Dense Matter Explores a Path to Fusion Power

The second of a two-part article on the heavy-ion fusion (HIF) approach to fusion for electrical power production looks at Berkeley Lab’s progress with the Neutralized Drift Compression Experiment II (NDCX-II), now under construction. Built as a scientific instrument to explore a state of matter that exists in such regimes as the cores of giant planets and other astrophysical phenomena, NDCX-II is making advances in special accelerators and the compression and focusing of intense ion beams, important components of HIF energy production. More>

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Cool NERSC Experiment Really Pays Off in Energy Savings

Brent Draney, who leads NERSC’s Networking, Servers and Security Group, explains how designing a custom cooing distribution unit with commodity hardware delivered energy and space savings for the Department of Energy’s primary scientific computing facility. More>

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Lab Public Affairs Connects with Environmental Journalists

More than 800 reporters, freelance journalists and students attended the Society of Environmental Journalists‘ annual conference in Miami last week, and many stopped by the Berkeley Lab booth supported by the Lab’s Public Affairs Department. The conference is the largest gathering of journalists dedicated to covering topics related to the environment, and Public Affairs’ Julie Chao (right) represented the Lab, connecting journalists with the Lab’s savvy scientists and innovative initiatives.

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‘Secrets of the Soil’ Topic of Science at the Theater on Monday

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