Wednesday, 17 December 2014
The white noise of the Stanford synchrotron has started to lullaby me to sleep....this helped by the metronomic back and forth of the sample stage, like some high-tech macabre hypnotist act performing to the Borg. The first 6 days of beam time were straight forward, but this should have been 10 ten days of scanning prior to this point. Alas, one of the beam lines on which we were meant to work had a slight 'leak' of radiation...so we were unable to give our fossil samples an EXAFS bath that they all required...this will now have to wait till Spring 2015. Today we switched from the 'hard' 13.5 KeV x-rays to to the softer 3.15 KeV....this to gently tease a sulfur signal from our samples and tweak energies between the multiple oxidation states via XANES of this splendidly useful element within organic molecules. This lighter side of our elemental analyses is cloaked in an atmosphere of helium, adding to the degree of complexity that consists the sample stage. All told, we are sleep deprived...light deprived...but very happy with the steady stream of data from the XRF rapid scanning stage.