Hints for proposal completion

General Hints

  1. Students cannot be the principal investigator on a proposal.
  2. Prepare proposals early, to allow enough time to complete it properly and also to have time to make enquiries and receive a response.
  3. Take care to describe the synchrotron-relevant aspects of your experiment.

Preparing Proposals with Reference to the Evaluation Categories

1. Scientific relevance and merit

Ensure that reviewers can easily determine the scientific value of the SYNCHROTRON experiment you are seeking to undertake and how it will contribute to the relevant field of research or application.

2. Track record of applicants, particularly publications resulting from prior Australian Synchrotron / ASRP beamtime.

It is now NECESSARY to upload prior publication(s) resulting from use of AS or ASRP facilities to the online proposal system (portal.synchrotron.org.au).  This listing will be used to evaluate the likelihood of a publication arising from the proposed experiment, based on previous history.  Additional supporting comments as to the proposer’s previous synchrotron experiments should also be made here.

3. Need for synchrotron radiation

This aspect is a valuable tool in gauging whether it is understood what a synchrotron experiment will contribute to the research.  There are many reasons why a synchrotron experiment is sought and may include: the properties of the radiation, the time scale of the experiment, the resolution of the data, the experiment set-up that is achievable, etc.

Completing the Section 'Proposed Experiment'

When submitting proposals, users should take care to address the following experimental and technical aspects:

Show proof of concept

Provide representative diffraction data, such as that collected on a laboratory source, to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed research.  The sample(s) should normally be analysed using conventional XRD prior to application for synchrotron beamtime.  If the beamtime proposal relates to ‘nano-sized’ crystallites, representative laboratory data MUST accompany the proposal to demonstrate the sample has sufficient long-range order. 

Number of samples

Clearly indicate the number and identity of the samples that are the subject of the synchrotron proposal.

Sample mounting 

Determine how the sample(s) will be mounted: this may be either in a capillary or a flat plate or on an alternate sample mount that is to be user-supplied.  If the sample stage or mount is supplied by the user please contact beamline staff prior to submitting the proposal to discuss the requirements. 

Note that small capillaries reduce absorption (and improve resolution when using the Mythen detector) but reduce the amount of scattering material.

Sample environment ancillaries

Indicate whether a sample environment, such as a temperature ancillary or gas flow equipment, is required (whether user-supplied or provided by the Australian Synchrotron).  Describe the temperature range and regime to be utilised, if relevant.

Experiments at high pressure are complex and users new to the technique should contact beamline staff before submitting their proposals.

Time requested

The amount of beamtime requested for the experiment must be justified by taking into account such details as the following: set-up time, number of samples, temperature regime, etc.   Please note, time will be allocated in units of days, however, the portal requires the total number of shifts to be entered; there are 3 shifts per day.

Photon energy or wavelength

Remember, absorption is your enemy and it is crucial to be aware of absorption edges relevant to the sample (refer to http://physics.nist.gov/PhysRefData/FFast/html/form.html for information on absorption edges).  Note, E (eV) = 12398/lambda (Å)

CCD detectors

Please note that users seeking to use one of the CCD detectors will need to request permission in advance. 

Beamline Induction Procedure

Following successful completion of the facility safety induction, users are expected to participate in the beamline-specific safety induction, prior to beginning their experiment. All experiment participants are requested to make themselves available for this induction at the beginning of the experiment as ONE group. 

Resourcing your experiment

Primary Investigators (PIs) are responsible for organising their experiments.  Please be aware of the following:

  • Experiments should be adequately staffed at all times.  It is recommended that at least two people be present at or near the beamline during experiments at all times.  Experiments involving hazardous procedures (Flammable gas at any pressure or inert gases at pressures >10 bar), will mandate the presence of 2 people at the beamline at all times.
  • Ensure that ALL your samples and their hazards are listed on the Experiment Authorisation (EA) form more than one week before the schedule experiment date.  Please include any risk assessments and highlight any OHS concerns.  Any samples that are not listed on the EA form will not be allowed at the beamline.