NIU physicist Susan Mini lands NSF grant for APS beamline upgrades

OCTOBER 12, 2007

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Susan Mini

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Susan Mini, chair of Northern Illinois University’s Department of Physics, a grant of nearly $1.4 million to make upgrades to a beamline at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source (APS). The upgrades will be made to the University of Chicago’s chemistry and materials science beamline of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, known as ChemMatCARS. The NSF will disperse the grant over three years, during which time Mini will lead a team that will design, build, and install upgraded beamline x-ray optics. Mini’s collaborators in this multi-university endeavor include P. James Viccaro of the University of Chicago and Mark Schlossman of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mini, an expert in spectroscopy and the application of synchrotron radiation techniques, has conducted research at the APS since the facility opened in the early 1990s. Her grant comes through NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation Program, designed to improve the condition of scientific equipment for research and training in U.S. research facilities. The equipment is expected to extend the energy range of the beamline, increase x-ray resolution and brilliance, and result in more efficient use of beam time.

“This beamline has a productive history of cutting-edge research,” Mini said. “In addition to facilitating existing experiments, the new optics could potentially result in new research directions. The proposed instrumentation will enable the chemistry and materials group to remain at the forefront of materials research.”

This is not the first time Mini has brought a funded project to the APS. She received an NSF award in 1998 to construct a high-energy-resolution monochromator currently in use at the facility.