Using Synchrotron Light to Probe Plant, Soil, and Geologic Systems.

x-ray ct of leaf tissues segmented by machine learning

Using Synchrotron Light to Probe Plant, Soil, and Geologic Systems. 

Workshop/Tutorial at the ALS User Meeting 2020, August 28, 2020

Organizers: Dr. Devin Rippner (USDA) (,, Dr. Tamas Varga, (EMSL, PNNL) (, Dr. Mengqiang Zhu (UWyo) (


Synchrotron light is used to probe chemical heterogeneity of geologic materials at the nanometer scale, investigate and resolve elemental composition and speciation in soils and plants, and study soil aggregate structure and plant hydraulics. This workshop aims to highlight some of the diverse uses of synchrotron light for investigating environmental systems with the goal of cross beamline collaboration for a more holistic understanding of environmental processes. As part of this workshop, presentations from Dr. Hans Bechtel and users of beamlines 1.4/2.4 will discuss applying micro and nano-fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (µ/nFTIR) to study mineral-organic matter associations at the nm to µm scale. Presentations from Dr. Sirine Fakra and users of beamline 10.3.2 will focus on using micro-x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (µXFS) and microscopy (µXFM) techniques to study metal (Fe, Cu) and metal(loid) (P, As, Se, Cr) distribution and speciation in a variety of environmental systems. Presentations from Dr. Dula Parkinson and users of beamline 8.3.2 will discuss applying micro-x-ray computed tomography (µXCT) to porous media and plant systems. At the end of the day, a panel of beamline scientists and users from a variety of beamlines will discuss how to enable data collection on multiple beamlines to better improve our understanding of complex environmental processes.

x-ray fluorescence microscopy image of copper oxide particle distribution in soilsmicro-x-ray ct of soil aggregate with organic matter penetrating the aggregate.

Workshop Agenda

8:00 Welcome, opening remarks (Devin/Tamas/ Mengqiang)

8:20 Overview of 8.3.2 capabilities (Dr. Dula Parkinson (LBNL) (confirmed)

8:55 Dr. Marco Voltolini (LBNL) (Confirmed)

9:30 Dr. Mason Earles (UCD) (Confirmed)

9:50 Break (10 min)

10:00: Overview of 10.3.2 capabilities (Dr. Sirine Fakra (10.3.2, confirmed)

10:35:  Dr. Peggy O’Day (UCM) (Confirmed)

11:10:  Dr. Jocelyn Richardson ( SLAC) (Confirmed)

11:30: Morgan Barnes (UC Merced)/Than Dam (UWyo) (Both Confirmed)

11:50: Lunch

12:50 Overview of 2.4.1/2.4.2 (Hans Bechtel, (LBNL) (Confirmed)

1:25 Dr. Patricia Valdespino-Castillo  (LBNL) (Confirmed)

2:00 Dr. Neslihan Taş (LBNL) (Confirmed)

2:20 Break (10 min break)

2:30 Panel Discussion to talk about potential for cross beamline collaboration (Can we invite more people to be on the panel?)

4:00 wrap up.

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