GSECARS Developed an Efficient and Affordable N95 Mask Disinfection System

Dr. Peter Eng with help from Mike Proskey and Dr. Joanne Stubbs, developed an efficient system of disinfecting N95 masks in large quantities.  This system will be invaluable for hospitals, factories, schools and offices as America re-opens during the current health crisis.

GSECARS Scientists Continue to Decode Moon's Mysteries 50 Years Later

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Argonne explores its early lunar research as it anticipates studies at the Advanced Photon Source of pristine moon rocks from the final lunar landing missions.

Tomography at 13 BMD

A. Herring, OSU, uses tomography at 13 BMD to quantify pore scale trapping and to analyze how mechanisms affect the efficiency of capillary trapping of CO2 in saline aquifers.

What Diamond Impurities Tell Us About Earth's Mantle

Pockets of water may lay deep below Earth’s surface.

High Pressure X-ray Tomographic Microscopy Module

The HPXTM module helps researchers study the texture change of their sample under extreme pressure and temperature conditions by collecting in-situ HP/HT 3D x-ray tomographic images.

GSECARS Outreach

GSECARS hosts experiments at 13 IDE for high school students in the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) representing local area high schools.

X-ray diffraction patterns from a diamond anvil cell.

X-ray diffraction is the most powerful technique for crystal structure determination. From left to right, patterns from a single crystal, polychrystalline, nano-cyrstalline and amorphous crystals.

Update on status and plans at GSECARS, June 5, 2020

This is an update on status and plans for our beamlines at GSECARS based on current guidance from the APS. The 2020-2 cycle will begin on June 10. We will be allowed to run at least initially under a limited operations scenario where only 1 staff member per beamline is allowed on-site and those staff are urged to minimize their time spent at the lab. It appears almost certain that the APS will not be allowing off-site users to come to the facility for this run. We will schedule only a limited number of experiments to be run in 2020-2 and these will be restricted to mail-in samples in close collaboration with our beamline scientists and with optional remote control of beamline computers for experienced users. No high risk experiments (e.g. those involving radioactive materials) can be run at this time, and some medium-risk experiments may also not be allowed. Our current technique schedule for 2020-2 can be found at Because of changing conditions, GSECARS is setting detailed experiment schedules only a few weeks in advance rather than for the full cycle as we normally would do.

Those of you with canceled experiments from the previous 2020-1 cycle have had beam time requests submitted for you automatically by the APS for 2020-2. Beamline staff have likely contacted you already regarding these canceled experiments. GSECARS plans to allocate time in 2020-2 to proposed experiments (canceled and new) that are best suited to mail-in running, are highly rated, do not require any additional sample prep by GSECARS staff, and do not require complicated apparatus or configuration changes of the beamline. The Gas Loading System for diamond anvil cells is not yet approved for operation. The cognizant beamline scientists will contact those PIs that have submitted 2020-2 proposals to discuss feasibility and some PIs have already been in discussions with staff. If you feel your proposed experiment is compatible with these requirements, please contact the appropriate beamline scientist (see, follow links to individual technique pages for contact information).

As of now, experiments to be run in 2020-3 will be for mail-in samples only.   Contact the appropriate GSECARS beamline scientists for guidance. . We, and the APS, will keep you posted on developments as we move as rapidly as possible back to normal operations.

The GSECARS staff

GSECARS is a national user facility for frontier research in the earth sciences using synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory.

GSECARS provides earth scientists with access to the high-brilliance hard x-rays from this third-generation synchrotron light source. All principal synchrotron-based analytical techniques in demand by earth scientists are being brought to bear on earth science problems:

High-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and spectroscopy using the diamond anvil cell
High-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and imaging using the large-volume press
Powder, single crystal and interface diffraction
Inelastic x-ray scattering
X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy
X-ray fluorescence microprobe analysis


 ► M. Cil, J. Schabelski, A. Packman, and G. Buscarnera, “A Miniaturized Testing Apparatus to Study the Chemo-Mechanics of Porous Media,” Geotechnical Testing Journal 43

► Terzano, R., Denecke, M., Falkenberg, G., et al. (2019). Recent advances in analysis of trace elements in environmental samples by X-ray based techniques (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure and Applied Chemistry, 91(6), pp. 1029-1063. DOI :10.1515/pac-2018-0605

► Shearer,C.K.,  Bell, A.S., Herd, C.D.K., Burger, P.V., Provencio, P., Sharp, Z.D., Papike, J.J.,  The Northwest Africa 8159 (NWA 8159) Martian Meteorite Part 2. Spinel-orthopyroxene intergrowths. A record of fO2 and crust-basalt interactions, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 258, 2019, Pages 242_257,

► Qin,F., Wu, X., Qin, S., Zhang, D., Prakapenka, V.B., Jacobsen, S.D., Pressure-induced dehydration of dioptase: A single-crystal X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy study, (2019) Comptes Rendus Geoscience, Volume 351, Issues 2–3, 121-128,

► Zhang, D., Hu, Y., Xu, J., et al. (2019). High-pressure behavior of liebenbergite: The most incompressible olivine-structured silicate. American Mineralogist, 104(4), pp. 580-587., from doi:10.2138/am-2019-6680

► E-Wen Huang, Chih-Ming Lin, Jenh-Yih Juang, Yao-Jen Chang, Yuan-Wei Chang, Chan-Sheng Wu, Che-Wei Tsai, An-Chou Yehd, Sean R. Shieh Ching-Pao Wang, Yu-Chun Chuang, Yen-Fa Liao, Dongzhou Zhang, Tony Huang, Tu-Ngoc Lama, Yi-Hung Chen. (2019). Deviatoric Deformation Kinetics in High Entropy Alloy under Hydrostatic Compression, J Alloys and Compounds 792 : 116.

► Xu, J., Zhang, D., Fan, D., Wu, X., Shi, F., Zhou, W. (2019) Compressional behavior of natural eclogitic zoisite by synchrotron X-ray single-crystal diffraction to 34 GPa. Phys Chem Minerals. 46 (3):333.

► Yong, T., Dera, P., Zhang, D., (2019). Single-crystal X-ray diffraction of grunerite up to 25.6 GPa: a new high-pressure clinoamphibole polymorph. Phys Chem Minerals. 46 (3): 215.

► Hao, M., Zhang, J. S., Pierotti, C. E., Ren, Z., & Zhang, D. ( 2019). High‐pressure single‐crystal elasticity and thermal equation of state of omphacite and their implications for the seismic properties of eclogite in the Earth’s interior. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124, 2368– 2377.

DAC Users Rock the New Norm!

(Click image to enlarge)

From the safety of their homes or with face masks in their offices our users remotely controlled data acquisition, including laser heating, at the 13-IDD station performing some of the most fascinating experiments we have seen yet.  Within the three weeks of the mail-in close collaboration work in the 2020-2 run we had over 30 Zoom meetings with users, almost 300 e-mails and 1000 text-message exchanges in order to coordinate the collections of over 55 diamond anvil cells and samples with pressures ranging from 1 bar to 5 Mbar and temperatures up to 6000 K.  We were excited to have worked with you and look forward to welcome you and many more back at GSECARS soon!”

Science Highlights

Ultrahigh-pressure isostructural electronic transitions in hydrogen

High-pressure transitions are thought to modify hydrogen molecules to a molecular metallic solid and finally to an atomic metal, which is predicted to have exotic physical properties and the topology of a two-component (electron and proton) superconducting superfluid condensate. Therefore, understanding such transitions remains an important objective in condensed matter physics. However, measurements of the crystal structure of solid hydrogen, which provides crucial information about the metallization of hydrogen under compression, are lacking for most high-pressure phases, owing to the considerable technical challenges involved in X-ray and neutron diffraction measurements under extreme conditions. Here we present a single-crystal X-ray diffraction study of solid hydrogen at pressures of up to 254 gigapascals that reveals the crystallographic nature of the transitions from phase I to phases III and IV.  Click 

Pressure-Induced Superconductivity and Flattened Se6 Rings in the Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Cu2I2Se6

The two major classes of unconventional superconductors, cuprates and Fe-based superconductors, have magnetic parent compounds, are layered, and generally feature square-lattice symmetry. We report the discovery of pressure-induced superconductivity in a nonmagnetic and wide band gap 1.95 eV semiconductor, Cu2I2Se6, with a unique anisotropic structure composed of two types of distinct molecules: Se6 rings and Cu2I2 dimers, which are linked in a three-dimensional framework. Click 

An upgraded and integrated large-volume high-pressure facility at the GeoSoilEnviroCARS bending magnet beamline of the Advanced Photon Source

The multi-anvil, large-volume high-pressure facility at the bending magnet beamline (13-BM-D) runs a unique setup permitting an unusually wide range of high-pressure and high-temperature experiments combined with X-rays and other in-situ probing techniques.  Here we provide a detailed description of the current large-volume press (LVP) setup at 13-BM-D, including hardware, software, and all experimental capabilities. Click 

Phase transitions beyond post-perovskite in NaMgF3 to 160 GPa

The high-pressure behavior of NaMgF3 is of interest due to its role as a low-pressure analog for phase transitions in the MgSiO3 system. In this work, we have used the diamond anvil cell and synchrotron X-ray diffraction techniques to study structural transitions in NaMgF3 to 1.6 Mbars. Our work has identified a sequence of high-pressure phases beyond post-perovskite in this ABX3 system.  Click 

GSECARS – Working From Home

Tim Officer

My research focuses on understanding processes related to how earthquakes initiate several hundred kilometers below Earth’s surface.  While under quarantine, I am analyzing acoustic emission data collected during synchrotron based, high pressure/high temperature experiments.  In collaboration with seismologists, we are applying the same techniques used to study natural earthquakes to our laboratory data sets.  Such information is crucial when scaling seismological/geophysical phenomena observed in the lab to natural deep focus earthquakes.

Malcolm Spears

As a mechanic, it’s my responsibility to lathe, drill, and mill parts for GSECARS experiments.  We’re capitalizing on the quarantined time by training me as a CAD designer and CNC operator through MecSoft.

Joanne Stubbs

I have been analyzing x-ray scattering and reflectivity data from magnesium oxide and manganese oxide mineral surfaces, planning for future experiments with collaborators across the United States, and remotely helping with the development of ultra-violet light disinfection methods for face masks at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Matt Newville

I am working on software and XAFS databases.

Yanbin Wang

I’ve been analyzing data collected in past beam times, writing papers, and coordinating a group effort to redesign beamline operation GUI interfaces.  The LVP group has weekly BlueJeans meetings (Friday 11-12).  Man Xu, the new post-doc, will also join the meeting starting this Friday.

Young Jay Ryu

I am currently working on a research paper regarding silicate melts and glass.

Charlie Smith

It’s business as usual for me.  Much of my job (pre-COVID19) was handled remotely, so my quarantine workload isn’t all that different than what I’m used to.  With the exception of my kids standing over my shoulder much of the day. 😊

Pasquale (Lino) DiDonna

I am working on a new I/O board for a Raspberry Pi.  The Raspberry Pi runs the Epics IOC software.

Mike Proskey

Currently working with Dr. Eng and other PSD staff on further development of mk2 prototype UV-C enclosure for disinfecting N95 masks for UCMC hospital.  Juggling immediate needs of that project with requests from GSECARS scientists for projects in anticipation of return to work.

Tony Yu

I am staying at home analyzing data collected from previous beamtime; writing up manuscripts; modifying beamline control windows for better user experience; doing as much as possible through the internet to get things prepared for the upcoming beamtime.

Dongzhou Zhang

I am working on the slides for the Frolic Goats high pressure diffraction workshop ( I was invited to give a (tele-)oral presentation there next Monday about the research capability at BMC.

Jingui Xu

Jingui Xu is working on the synchrotron X-ray data collected in March 2020.

Tony Lanzirotti

I’m missing the rest of the gsecars staff and working with all our users at the beamline. But while making sure they all stay safe by self distancing, I’m finding time to work with a number of our users remotely on publications of their work done at 13IDE. In particular our NSF and NASA funded studies on valence state oxybarometers. I’m also hoping to have ready for publication our first with on using HERFD spectroscopy to look at copper direction in magmas. Matt, Steve and I have really pushed on developing this new capability at the microprobe and I’m excited to share our first experimental progress with the community.

Vitali Prakapenka

I am working on beamline upgrade and software optimization related to the diamond anvil cell program, data analysis and reviewing papers/proposals.

Sergey Tkachev

During present lockdown, in addition to two submitted white papers (remote collaboration with Physics Department at UNLV, or the University of Nevada Las Vegas), on one of which we have already received an invitation to participate in the forum via Zoom in May, and completed revision of a manuscript on experiments conducted at GSECARS (also remote collaboration with HIGP, or Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology), Dr. Ryu and I continue to collaborate on processing Brillouin, Raman and X-Ray diffraction data alongside with preparing a manuscript (Dr. Zhenxian Liu from NSLS-II at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Mr. Brian Yulga from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are external collaborators) on mode assignments in one of the profoundly insensitive energetic materials.

Nancy Lazarz

I have been busy catching up on user statistics, updating the publication database, following up on purchase orders, deliveries and invoices.  We have new hires soon to come onboard (hopefully) and I have tried to help facilitate communication between staff while we are working from home.  Answering user and staff questions about the 2020-2 and beyond schedules has resulted in overuse of the phase “I have no idea”!


Click here to view video

Tony Lanzirotti and Mark Rivers presented a virtual tour to the ANL summer interns on earth and planetary synchrotron research at GSECARS.

Matt Newville presented a virtual talk to  the ANL high school camp, “Coding for Science”. In this camp students learned Python and how to apply it to scientific problems.

GSECARS welcomes summer student Alex Nicolellis. He will be working for Matt Newville on a project, “Web-based X-ray properties of the elements and absorption calculations”.

GSE staff scientist Matt Newville showed physics majors and their professors from Hastings College, Nebraska synchrotron reasearch techniques used at GSECARS.

GSE Staff scientist Joanne Stubbs worked with eighth graders from local schools in Argonne’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. This day gives young female students a unique opportunity to discover engineering careers alongside world-class scientists and engineers.

GSECARS hosted a group of University of Chicago Lab School chemistry students. The group visited all three CARS sectors and learned about synchrotron radiation research in material science,  biology and earth and mineral sciences.

GSECARS hosted high school students from Glenbard East High School. The students ran an experiment at 13 IDE,
“Manganese hyperaccumulation in Brassica juncea when co-cropped with Lupinus perennis”. They will present their results at the APS User Meeting Poster Session in April.

GSECARS was pleased to host a tour from The University of Chicago Principal Gifts and Leadership Engagement groups.

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