Riverside-Brookfield High School students tour CARS
7 March 2003
Eleven advanced placement physics students from Riverside-Brookfield High School gained a hands-on introduction to innovative x-ray science at the Advanced Photon Source (APS). The students spent the better part of March 7 at the beamlines operated and managed by ChemMatCARS (Chemistry and Materials beamlines of the Consortium for Advanced Radiation Sources), where ChemMatCARS and APS staff members guided the students from scientific principles to the finer points of experimentation.
The workshop was designed to introduce the students to a typical scientific environment found at forefront research facilities such as the APS. The ChemMatCARS national synchrotron resource at the APS is available to researchers from a variety of scientific fields. It is managed by The University of Chicago Center for Advanced Radiation Science.
The students had access to the microcrystallography facility located in station 15-ID-C of the ChemMatCARS facility. In preparation for the experiment, the group attended an overview session on X-ray science and beam physics and participated in the experimental orientation required for “later career” researchers who use the APS beamlines. The experimental orientation is required for all later career users.
Next, the students used the APS x-ray beam to determine the molecular structure of a zeolyte compound employed in the production of gasoline. Monochromatic X-rays from a high-brilliance APS undulator synchrotron source were used in conjunction with the X-ray beam delivery system and the ChemMatCARS experimental facility.
The experiment demonstrated to the participants to the current tools required available for forefront cutting-edge research with high-brilliance x-ray beams. These tools included the actual beamline instrumentation as well as sample mounting and data analysis. The procedures the students followed and the overall experience were identical to those encountered in an actual experiment carried out by full-fledged users of the APS facility.