Education and Outreach


ChemMatCARS operates as a national research resource for the chemistry and materials research communities. ChemMatCARS welcomes students at all levels - high school, undergraduate, graduate and post graduate, into our laboratories, giving them the opportunity to learn about x-ray science and instrumentation as well as to be involved in hands-on activities.

Symposium in honor of Professor Philip Coppens retirement

October 2016

From the initial planning phases in 1994 to the approval of the final design in 1996, Professor Philip Coppens played a key role in the development of the crystallographic component of the ChemMatCARS beamline. He was the ideal candidate to lead the project, given his cutting-edge crystallographic research and his early advocacy of synchrotron-based techniques that arose from his involvement with the SUNY beamline at the NSLS in Brookhaven.  Thanks to his leadership as co-PI and his service on the scientific advice committee, the ChemMatCARS advanced crystallography program at the Advanced Photon Source remains a premier global facility for experiments involving time-resolved X-ray diffraction and high-accuracy charge density measurements. In honor of his retirement, a symposium titled, Advancing Structural Science: Pushing the Limits of X-ray Crystallography” will be held on October 22, 2016 at The University at Buffalo, SUNY campus in Buffalo, New York.


Congratulations to ChemMatCARS user, William Rock!

October 6, 2016

Congratulations to William Rock on being one of five, 1st place poster award winners selected at Argonne’s ninth annual Postdoctoral Research and Career Symposium.  The event was held in Fall 2016, and displayed the scientific research of post doctorate scientists, engineers, and graduate students.  The Symposium creates a networking atmosphere and connects industry and government recruiters with brilliant individuals across the nation.  Posters were judged based on overall appearance and quality, topic organization, clarity and significance of illustrations, and knowledge of topic.  William studies interfacial reactions involved in chemical separation of heavy metals.  At Sector 15, he uses grazing incidence diffraction (GID) to probe monolayer surfaces as well as anomalous x-ray reflectivity and x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to study the structure of heavy metals at the interface.  William’s winning poster presentation was entitled, “Molecular-Scale Investigation of Anion Adsorption Competition at a Charged Langmuir Monolayer”

Congratulations William!  You’ve done a phenomenal job!

Click here to read featured story in Argonne Today!

2016 Neutron X-ray School

August 9-10, 2016

ChemMatCARS held its annual Neutron X-Ray School on Liquid Surface and Scattering on August 9-10, 2016.  Students conducted hands-on experiments to determine the structure and ordering of the Langmuir monolayer of phospholipid molecules, Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), which is the major constituent of lung surfactant.  Experimental activities included: isotherm measurements, grazing incident scattering (GID), x-ray reflectivity (XR), data retrieving, data analysis for GID using Python, and fitting XR data using Python.  This group of students was very enthusiastic and eager to learn.  

2016 Faculty and Student Team Research Award at ChemMatCARS (FaSTRAC)

June 22-July 25, 2016

In summer 2016, ChemMatCARS inaugurated a four-week Faculty Development Summer Research Program for faculty from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).  This year we hosted Dr. Jamiu A. Odutola and his student Samuel Uba from the Department of Chemistry of Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University (AAMU) for a study of europium-doped lithium strontium iodide scintillators. Lanthanide-doped lithium strontium iodides are promising materials for scintillators. Successful development of these materials relies on a detailed understanding of their solid state structure. The Odutola group’s research goal at ChemMatCARS was to carry out single crystal X-ray studies of the materials to verify and quantify crystallinity of samples grown under various conditions and to determine the crystal structures. The measured structures will aid in the optimization of crystal growth protocols and targeted development for advanced scintillator materials with applications in uncooled neutron and gamma radiation detectors. 


Congratulations to ChemMatCARS Operation Manager: Yu-Sheng Chen

Summer 2016

ChemMatCARS commends one of our very own beamline scientists, Dr. Yu-Sheng Chen, who has been recognized as a 2016 ACA Fellow this summer! ACA (American Crystallographic Association) chooses fellows based on many factors which include: high level of excellence in scientific research, teaching, professional duties, service, leadership, and personal engagement in the ACA and overall world of crystallography and science.  The program celebrates the great endeavors of ACA members as well as promote their recognition to other partners outside of the ACA network.  The fellows serve as scientific ambassadors to the scientific community and general public in order to progress science education, research, knowledge, interaction and collaboration.  We are so proud of Yu-Sheng and applaud his hard work!  Congratulations Yu-Sheng!


Dr. Jason Benedict – ACA’s 2016 Etter Student Early Career Award Recipient

July 2016

ChemMatCARS would like to congratulate our user, Jason Benedict from SUNY Buffalo, for being chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award.  This award recognizes outstanding achievement and potential in crystallographic research displayed by scientists who are still in the early stages of their independent careers.   Dr. Benedict will accept his award at the 2016 American Crystallographic Association (ACA) Meeting in Denver, CO at the end of July.  Please join us in congratulating Dr. Jason Benedict and his wonderful accomplishments!

2016 Liquid Surface X-ray Scattering School: Data Analysis

May 12-13, 2016

This year, ChemMatCARS sponsored its third Liquid Surface and X-ray Scattering School (LSXS) held at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) on May 12-13.  This year’s school focused on data analysis methods.  There were 26 students from ten different institutions in attendance.  Students ranged in experience from undergraduates to post-docs.  Multiple techniques were covered including X-ray reflectivity (XR), grazing incidence diffraction (GID), X-ray fluorescence near total reflection (XFNTR), and X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS).  One student exclaimed, “For me the most beneficial part was learning the theory behind the x-ray experiments, getting an intuition for what the data means and how to interpret it, and learning about how thery’re applied to various systems/applications.   I also learned about the kind of research that other users are doing”.


Click here to read feature in the Synchrotron Radiation News (SRN)!

Science Careers in Search of Women Conference, Tour of ChemMatCARS

April 14, 2016

On April 14, 2016, ANL hosted the annual Science Careers in Search of Women Conference and CARS helped facilitate.  Female high school students are given the opportunity to learn more about STEM careers, in an effort to increase the representation of women in the science and technology fields.  In Sector 15, the students spoke to Dr. Binhua Lin about liquid surface x-ray scattering at ChemMatCARS.  Students walked away with a better understanding of the synchrotron facilities and liquid surface techniques.

One Day and Night with Exemplary Research High School Students at ChemMatCARS

February 14, 2016

On February 14, ChemMatCARS welcomed 6 students from Hoffman Estates High School for the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) at Sector 15, APS, for a hands-on synchrotron experimental run working on a research project they proposed.  These students learned all about the synchrotron facilities at Argonne and focused primarily on liquid surface scattering.  The high schoolers performed experiments over 3 shifts (24 hours) consecutively, including preparing samples, running scans and retrieving data.  They produced high-quality data that ChemMatCARS plans to use for publication in the near future.  ChemMatCARS would like to thank APS for sponsoring such a wonderful education outreach program and Wayne Oras Jr. (Applied Technology instructor at Hoffman Estates High School) for bringing the students here for such an awesome experience.  We look forward to seeing Hoffman Estates High School again soon!

2016 ChemMatCARS Faculty Development Summer Research Program

October 19, 2015


ChemMatCARS is sponsoring a summer research experience program for faculty of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) at Sector 15, the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Labs.  The aim of this program is to foster research collaborations between ChemMatCARS and MSI faculty.  Call for proposals for the 2016 summer program can be found here , and interested faculty members should submit a proposal by January 20, 2016, 5:00 p.m. CST.

2015 Graduate Student Research Award at ChemMatCARS (GSRAC)

August 2015

During August 2015, ChemMatCARS welcomed a PhD student, Travis Mitchell, from Prof. Jason Benedict’s group in University at Buffalo to participate in synchrotron x-ray scattering experiments in the Advanced Crystallography for his research training.  

Teaching Outside of the Classroom: Field Trips in Crystallography Education for Chemistry Graduate Students

March 2015

Every year ChemMatCARS organizes an outreach program for Advanced Crystallography entitled, “Teaching Outside of the Classroom: Field Trips in Crystallography Education for Chemistry Graduate Students”.  This program is co-organized by Yu-Sheng Chen, Operations Manager for ChemMatCARS, and Dr. Shao-Liang Zheng, Harvard University professor.  Dr. Zheng brought 6 of his graduate students from Harvard to ChemMatCARS in March 2015 for 2-days of hands on experiments and data analysis.  Each student had the chance to collect their own data, determine the structure of their own samples that they prepared at Harvard, and present their results to their fellow peers.  During these 2 days, the students were also lectured on “Synchrotron X-ray Sources” and “Advanced Crystallography”, which highlighted the importance of synchrotron sources for advanced crystallography methods including high resolution charge density measurements and time resolved photo-crystallography.  ChemMatCARS is always excited to host this event every year.  Please be on the look-out for our Advanced Crystallography outreach program that we will be hosting in March 2016!

2014 IU Students’ Trip to ChemMatCARS

January 2015

Undergraduate students of the STEM initiative of the Groups Program (Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Indiana University) visited the ChemMatCARS sector at the APS and toured the experimental hutches to learn about research undertaken with synchrotron radiation. During a career panel and discussion, scientists described their research and their personal path to a profession in the sciences. This excursion is an annual highlight for the Groups Scholars program, which supports first-generation, underrepresented minority students, and students with limited financial resources from all racial backgrounds.  The trip was supported by the Indiana University Molecular Structure Center, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the Provost of Indiana University. 

For more info on the Groups Scholars Program, click here

Phil Coppens’ Structure One of World’s Top 10

An x-ray crystal structure solved by Philip Coppens, a founding member of ChemMatCARS, has been chosen by Chemical&Engineering News as one of the world’s top 10 crystal structures ever solved.  The structure, of sodium nitroprusside was studied in the framework of pioneering research on excited state crystalline structures.  Large part of the relevant experimental work was performed at the University of Chicago’s ChemMatCARS beamline and, more recently, the BioCARS beamline, at the APS.

Click here to view the APS article

School for Syncrotron Crystallography

December 2014


DECEMBER 3-6, 2014

On December 3-6, 2014, ChemMatCARS hosted a 3-day (included 16 hours hand-on session) school for synchrotron crystallography (SSC2014).  The School was attended by 26 participants, from 18 institutions around the world, among them graduate students, post-docs, crystallographic staff and faculty.  The program included a series of lectures, given by 8 speakers who are leaders in the field of synchrotron-based crystallography, as well as 16 hours of hands-on sessions, aimed at introducing the participants to synchrotron-based single-crystal x-ray diffraction techniques.  A primary goal of the school was to give students and post-docs a realistic inside look at synchrotron research, early in their careers.  The School was sponsored by Bruker and ChemMatCARS.

Congratulations to ChemMatCARS User: Dr. Winnie Wong-Ng

October 14, 2014

Dr. Winnie Wong-Ng, from NIST, is a 2014 American Crystallographic Association Fellow.  Dr. Wong-Ng’s work concentrates on materials for energy and sustainability applications.  For recent publication including studies performed at the 15-IDB ChemMatCARS Crystallography station at the APS, Click Here

Congratulations to ChemMatCARS User: Prof. Kim R. Dunbar

October 14, 2014

Prof. Kim R. Dunbar, from Texas A&M University, is a recipient of the 2015 American Chemical Society Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry.  Dunbar is cited for "outstanding achievements in the field of coordination compounds as magnetic and conducting materials and for extraordinary service in inorganic chemistry."  Some of Prof. Dunbar work has been done at the 15-IDB ChemMatCARS Crystallography station at the APS.

Click here to view the article

ChemMatCARS 2014 Undergraduate Students

August 1, 2014

In the summer of 2014, ChemMatCARS welcomed two undergraduate students, Elizabeth (Lizz) Berge (Hamline University) and Sarah Maddox (The College of William and Mary), to participate in x-ray scattering experiments at Sector 15 as part of their UChicago MRSEC Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Lizz and Sarah worked with graduate and post-doctoral researchers on using x-ray scattering to probe the microstructure of everyday products such as sunscreen, chocolate, and toothpaste, as well as studying the effects of “pollutant” carbon nanotubes on the structure of lung surfactant. In addition to this hands-on experience, Lizz and Sarah attended a number of lectures about the science and applications of x-ray scattering and crystallography.

Maine East High School Students Tour ChemMatCARS

May 2014

A group of 24 high school students from Maine East HS, Park Ridge, visited CARS on May 22nd.  Being led by their teacher, David Schultz, an ex-beamline scientist in ChemMatCARS, the students heard a brief exposition on x-ray sources, followed by a tour of the ChemMatCARS and GSECARS beamlines, guided by Mati Meron and Tony Lanzirotti.  The students appeared quite impressed by all they’ve seen and heard, and we can expect hosting more tours from this school, in the future.

ChemMatCARS User Leandra Boucheron Wins Poster Award at 2014 APS Users Meeting

May 2014

Leandra Boucheron, a graduate student in Oleg Shpyrko's group at the University of California, San Diego, won an award for best student poster at the Advanced Photon Source Users Meeting 2014, held at Argonne National Laboratory in May.