Call for 2024B Proposals at SACLA

The system trouble with proprietary proposal applications has been resolved.

April 18, 2024

The Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) is pleased to announce a call for 2024B proposals for research to be carried out at SACLA. Please refer to the following guidelines and instructions to apply.

   Important Notices
1. Types of Proposals
2. Applicant Eligibility
3. Beamlines and Equipment Available to Users
4. Research Period
5. Fees
6. Proposal Application and Required Procedures
7. Online Proposal Submission Deadline
8. Review Criteria and Notification of Review Results
9. Experiment Summary Report (Non-Proprietary Research Only)
10. Dissemination of Research Results (Non-Proprietary Research Only)
11. Important Notes
12. Contact/Consultation
13. Links

Important Notices

[Updates for 2024B]

  • Notice for Applicants Planning to Perform Experiments at BL3
    The enhancement of experimental capabilities at EH3 of BL2 has been ongoing to promote more experiments at BL2 since obtaining the beamtime at BL3 is highly competitive. From the 2024A term, the following new capabilities will be open to users at EH3 of BL2 to carry out certain types of experiments that were solely conducted at EH2/4c/5 of BL3 previously.
    • “Two-color XFEL” and “Portable nano-focusing system”: Details are given in the section of “Experimental instruments/operation modes that need prior confirmation” in this announcement.
    • “Femtosecond optical laser system”: Details are given below as “User operation of femtosecond laser system at EH3 of BL2”. This system is planned to be available in the latter part of 2024A term.
  • If applicants for BL3 consider that the assignment of beamtime at BL2 is also acceptable, they are encouraged to express their opinion as “The assignment of BL2 beamtime is also acceptable” in the section “Facility instruments to be used.”
    Experimental conditions might be different between the experimental hutches at BL2 and BL3. Please contact the XFEL Utilization Division (mail to: sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp) to learn the details of the experimental capabilities of the experimental hutches.
    Note that the hutch and beamline assignment will be decided based on the overall judgment of the review results and the experimental conditions. Therefore, please be aware that the assigned beamline might be different from the one desired in the proposal.
  • Applicant Eligibility for Proprietary Proposals
    Applicants/project leaders for proprietary general proposals had been limited to those affiliated with corporate enterprises located and registered in Japan. Starting from the 2024B term, those affiliated with academic research institutions located and registered in Japan are also eligible to apply. Any inquiries may be directed to the Users Office (mail to: sacla.jasri@spring8.or.jp).
     
  • User operation of femtosecond laser system at EH3 of BL2
    The user operation of a femtosecond laser is planned at EH3 of BL2 in the late 2024A term. The nanosecond laser system at EH3 remains available for user experiments even after the installation of the femtosecond laser.
    The operation conditions of the femtosecond laser at EH3 are expected as follows. These conditions may vary depending on the commissioning status in 2024A. Further information may be provided when you contact the XFEL Utilization Division (mail to: sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp).
    • Wavelength: 0.25 – 2.6 µm (OPA only)
    • Pulse energy: ~1 mJ max. (wavelength dependent)
    • Repetition rate: 60 Hz max.
    • Timing monitor: Not available

[Experimental instruments/operation modes that need prior confirmation]

  • List of the experimental instruments/operation modes
    The following instruments or XFEL operation modes are available for user experiments. Those who plan to use the instruments or operation modes are requested to contact the XFEL Utilization Division (mail to:sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp) to clarify the feasibility with the facility staff well in advance of the proposal submission.
    The typical operating conditions of those instruments or XFEL modes are summarized on the webpage. Please contact the XFEL Utilization Division (mail to: sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp)to obtain up-to-date information for the 2024A term.

    • Two-color XFEL
      Double pulse XFEL with two different photon energies are available at BL3. The maximum time separation between the two pulses is about 300 fs, but it depends on the operation parameters. The two-color XFEL is also available at BL2 from the 2024A term. The two-color pulses will not have a time separation at BL2. The photon energies have some restrictions at either beamline.
    • Reflection self-seeding system
      A reflection self-seeding system is available at BL3. A bandwidth of self-seeded XFEL can be much narrower than that of SASE XFEL, while an average pulse energy is comparable. A typical setup time for seeded XFEL is 1 shift, which will be included in a user’s beamtime. Please also note that it takes more time to change the wavelength of seeded XFEL than in the standard SASE case.
    • Split-and-delay optics (SDO)
      An SDO system has been developed in collaboration with the Prof. Kazuto Yamauchi’s group at Osaka University. The SDO system produces double monochromatic XFEL pulses with a time separation of up to 100 ps. This system is installed in the optics hutch of BL3 to be available at all the experimental hutches of BL3.
    • Sub-10 nm focusing system
      A focusing system of XFEL (9 keV) down to the sub-10 nm level has been developed in collaboration with the Prof. Kazuto Yamauchi’s group at Osaka University at BL3 EH4c. Since the system is strictly dedicated to experiments using the ultra-high-intensity XFEL, there are severe restrictions on the sample environment and detector arrangements. Continuous improvements are being made to this system, therefore the operation parameters may vary from the previous conditions.
    • Nano-beam coherent diffraction imaging (CDI) system (MAXIC-S)
      The MAXIC-S has been developed in collaboration with the Prof. Yoshinori Nishino’s group of Hokkaido University as a CDI experimental system using 100-nm focused XFEL beam. This system is available at BL2 EH3/4b.
    • Portable nano-focusing system
      A portable focusing system using compact KB optics is available at BL2 EH3 and BL3 EH2/4c from the 2024A term. This system can focus the XFEL pulses down to a few hundred nanometers and make the intense XFEL pulses with an intensity over 1019 W/cm2 at the maximum. Differing from the available nano-focusing system (100exa) at EH5 of BL3, this focusing system can be used with a large-area detector and also an optical laser for pump and probe experiments.
    • General purpose experimental system for soft X-ray FEL opto-spintronics
      An experimental system with a sub-micrometer focusing Walter mirror has been developed in collaboration with Prof. Iwao Matsuda’s and Prof. Hidekazu Mimura’s groups of the University of Tokyo. The system is available at BL1 for the observation of optical effects such as nonlinear optical phenomena and resonant magneto-optical Kerr effect.
    • Intense terahertz pulses
      Instead of the THz pulses from air plasma, intense THz pulses from nonlinear optical crystals generated by the synchronized femtosecond laser system are planned to be available at BL3 EH2/4c. The center frequency and field intensity at focus are estimated to be around 1 THz and a few hundred V/cm, respectively. Since the operation will be on a trial basis for the time being, the THz parameters are subject to change. Please note that the tuning time for the THz pulses is considerably longer than that for the standard laser operation. The tuning time is included in a user’s beamtime.
    • Few-cycle near-infrared pulses
      Few-cycle near-infrared pulses produced using Ar-filled hollow-core fibers are available at BL1 EH4a and BL3 EH2. The typical pulse duration is about 8 fs. There are restrictions on the experimental configurations to use the few-cycle pulses in experiments.
    • High-power femtosecond laser system
      A high-power femtosecond laser system at BL2 EH6 with the maximum power of 500 TW will be operated under limited conditions for the time being. To ensure enough time for the tuning, maintenance, and upgrade of the laser system, the amount of beamtime is limited. We can approve at most about two of the proposals that require the laser system in this term.
  • High-power nanosecond laser system
    Osaka University had deployed a high-power nanosecond laser system (HERMES) at SACLA. An experimental system is available at BL3 EH5 for advanced pump-and-probe experiments with the XFEL and the high-power nanosecond laser.
    Applicants/project leaders who apply for the above experimental system are required to consent to the following matters before submitting their proposals.
    (1) Any proposal using the above experimental system is also regarded as a proposal for Collaborative Research of Institute of Laser Engineering (ILE), Osaka University.
    (2) JASRI provides information given in a proposal to ILE if the proposal is approved.
    (3) Applicants/project leaders shall state in presentations and publications that the results were obtained by using both the SACLA XFEL and the high-power nanosecond laser system of ILE, Osaka University.
    Applicants/project leaders should contact the XFEL Utilization Division (mail to: sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp) in advance of the proposal submission for the information of the experimental system and its capabilities.
    Please note that the typical operating conditions of the laser system in the 2023B term were as follows.
    – Pulse energy: ~15 J on sample
    – Pulse shape: 5 ns square pulse
    – Central wavelength: 532 nm
    – Focused beam profile: flat-top profiles with a diameter of ~120, ~170 or ~260 or ~470µm (FWHM) using a diffractive optical element (DOE).

[Other Notices]

  • Target Expansion of the SACLA Feasibility Study Program
    SACLA Feasibility Study Program provides an opportunity to experience the use of SACLA on a trial basis. From the call for 2023B, microcrystalline materials have been added to the targets of the feasibility study using DAPHNIS for serial femtosecond crystallography. Please refer to the following link for the details.
    https://sacla.xfel.jp/?page_id=18191&lang=en
     
    The SACLA Research Proposals and the Feasibility Study Program can be applied simultaneously. If you apply both with the same contents, you do not need to submit the application form of the Feasibility Study Program. Instead, please put a check mark to the corresponding item in Term 5 (Co-Application with Feasibility Study Proposals) of the application form of the Research Proposals. In this case, the submitted proposal is reviewed as the Feasibility Study Programs only when your Research Proposal is rejected.
     
  • Feasibility-Check Beamtime (FCBT)
    We may accept a request of a feasibility-check beamtime (FCBT, max 0.5 shifts) for sample screening before the main experiment. Please note that the feasibility-check can be performed under the following conditions during FCBT for the time being:
    – Beamline & experimental hutch: BL2 EH3
    – Experimental system: DAPHNIS (J. Synchrotron Rad. 22, 532-537, 2015)
    – Standard photon energy: 10 keV (pink beam)
    – X-ray spot size: 1-2 um (with the 1-um focusing system at EH3).
    Those who require the feasibility-check beamtime should put a check mark to the corresponding item in Term 5 (Co-Application with Feasibility Study Proposals) of the application form of the SACLA Research Proposals.
     
  • Remote Experiments
    A remote-operation system allows users to control experimental instruments from outside the facility. The remote system will be available for some types of experiments. The availability of the system for a specific experiment will be determined based on the status of system preparation and the experimental conditions.
     
  • SACLA High Performance Computer (HPC)
    Most of the SACLA users need the SACLA HPC to analyze experimental data taken with standard detectors of SACLA. Please specify the name and the email address of the person whom the facility staff should contact about the SACLA HPC, in the “Facility instruments to be used” section of the proposal. The contact person can be either the project leader or a project team member of the proposal.
     
  • Beamtime on a Single-shift-in-a-day Basis
    We may allocate beamtime on a single-shift-a-day basis (one shift is 12 hours from 10 am to 10 pm or 10 pm to 10 am) for technical/operational reasons.
     
  • Response to Review Comments
    If applicants/project leaders have received the review comments in past applications, it is required to respond to them in the field of “the preparation status related to this application proposal” in the application form. The past review results can be found with the review comments on the SACLA User Information website (SACLA UI site) My Page for the last five terms.

1. Types of Proposals

Call for 2024B Proposals at SACLA

  • General Proposals (Non-Proprietary Research)*1
  • General Proposals (Proprietary Research)*2

*1 For non-proprietary research:

  • Project leaders are obliged to publish their results (e.g., in refereed journals).
  • Please see the following link for details on the Complementary Use of SPring-8, J-PARC MLF or HPCI including the K computer / the supercomputer Fugaku (public computational resource of High Performance Computing Infrastructure including the K computer / the supercomputer Fugaku; the same shall apply hereinafter): https://sacla.xfel.jp/?page_id=18208&lang=en

*2 For proprietary research:

  • Project leaders are not required to publish their research results but are required to pay fees for beamtime.
  • Project leaders, for the time being, should be affiliated with corporate enterprises or academic research institutions*, which are located and registered in Japan.
    * Starting from the 2024B term, those affiliated with academic research institutions located and registered in Japan are also eligible to apply for proprietary research.

Once approved for beamtime, proposals are valid for only 2024B.

For Proprietary Time-Designated Proposals that have been called for throughout the year, please see the following link for details: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?page_id=10937&lang=en.

2. Applicant Eligibility

1) Non-Proprietary General Proposals
There are few restrictions on the eligibility of applicants for non-proprietary research:

  • Students are ineligible (however, students can participate as project team members in any research project).
  • If you are affiliated with an institution outside Japan, please have at least one local contact person that is affiliated with a Japanese institution participate in your experiment. If you cannot find one, please contact the Users Office.

2) Proprietary General Proposals
Applicants/project leaders, for the time being, should be affiliated with corporate enterprises or academic research institutions, which are located and registered in Japan.

3. Beamlines and Equipment Available to Users

The following beamlines are available: BL3 (XFEL1), BL2 (XFEL2), and BL1 (SXFEL). For details, please see the Beamline Technical Information for SACLA HP at the following link: http://xfel.riken.jp/eng/users/index.html.

4. Research Period

The research period extends from September 2024 through February 2025* (excluding scheduled maintenance periods).
During this period, the facility will operate around the clock with user beamtime allocated for successful proposals.
For SACLA beamlines, the beamtime for non-proprietary research is basically allocated by 12-hour shifts (the FCBT may be allocated for up to six-hours). Beamtime for proprietary research is allocated in two-hour units.
*Subject to change, due to budgetary constraints.

5. Fees

  1. Beamtime Fees
    [Non-proprietary Research] Users are exempt from paying beamtime fees.
    [Proprietary Research] 1,098,000 yen/2 hours (consumption tax included)
  2. User Fees*
    All users are required to pay user fees to cover the costs of beamline consumables used. User fees include a fixed fee for wear and tear on the facility and a Usage-Based Fee.
    ◇Fixed Fee
    [Non-proprietary Research] 16,080 yen/shift (12 hours)
    [Proprietary Research] 2,680 yen/2 hours
    ◇Usage-Based Fee (liquid helium)**:
    Calculated based on the amount used: 9,540 yen/liter
Type of Proposal Research Type Beamtime Fee* User Fees*
Fixed Fee Usage-Based Fee (liquid helium)**
General Proposal Non-Proprietary Users exempt from this fee. 16,080 yen/shift (12 hours) 9,540 yen/liter
Proprietary 1,098,000 yen/2 hours 2,680 yen/2 hours

* Consumption tax included.
** Please understand that there is a possibility that we cannot provide stable supply of Helium due to the recent situation regarding global helium supply, and please note that the price is subject to change.

6. Proposal Application and Required Procedures

Applicants/project leaders are required to submit proposals via the SACLA User Information website (SACLA UI site: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?lang=en).

  1. User Registration
    To submit an application, user accounts (i.e., user ID and password) for SPring-8/SACLA are required for all participants of the experiments. For registration, please visit the website: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?p=28&lang=en. Before starting the application process, project leaders must ensure that all project team members have completed user registrations.
     
  2. Application Method
    Applicants/project leaders are required to submit proposals online via the SACLA UI site using the web-based proposal submission system.
    Please see the following link for details on submitting proposals online: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?p=2139&lang=en.
    The applicants/project leaders are strongly recommended that they draft an application form using the MS Word templates provided below. The notes in the templates provide supplementary information on what should be described in the online application form.

    Proposal Application Templates
      General Proposal (Non-Proprietary)
      General Proposal (Proprietary)

     

  3. Confirmation E-mail
    Upon successful submission, you will receive a confirmation email with an attached copy of the Agreement (Rules for Users) in PDF format. If you do not receive the confirmation email, please log in to the system to confirm that your proposal was submitted successfully.
     
  4. Other
    • [Lifetime of Proposal]
      Approved proposals are valid only for the forthcoming user operation research term (2024B). Make sure that the proposed research can be completed within that period; beamtime cannot be approved for comprehensive research that cannot be finished within the timeframe of a single research term.
    • [Project Leader]
      The project leader is the person who will assume overall responsibility throughout the duration of the experiments at SACLA.

7. Online Proposal Submission Deadline

Friday, May 24, 2024, 10:00 am Japan Standard Time (UTC +9)

To avoid last minute technical problems and possible network congestion, you are strongly encouraged to complete and submit your application well in advance of the deadline.
If you have trouble completing/submitting your application online, please contact the SPring-8/SACLA Users Office (sacla.jasri@spring8.or.jp) prior to the deadline.
If you are applying for proprietary research, you must submit a “Proprietary Use Agreement for Public Beamline*” and a “Proprietary Use Pledge for SACLA Public Beamline.”
Please download the agreements from the UI site, have them signed, and send them to the SACLA Users Office by post no later than Friday, May 31, 2024.
* Signed by the person who is responsible for the payment.

8. Review Criteria and Notification of Review Results

1. Review Criteria

  1. Non-proprietary research
    Non-proprietary research should be fully peer-reviewed in terms of scientific and technical relevance, the necessity of using SACLA as a research tool, ethics, technical feasibility, and the safety of the experiment on the basis of criteria 1-5.
  2. Proprietary research
    Proprietary research should be reviewed in terms of ethics, technical feasibility, and the safety of the experiment on the basis of criteria 3–5.
  3. [SACLA Review Criteria for Research Proposals]

    Research proposals of a wide range of scientific disciplines shall be fully peer-reviewed and then selected under the criteria outlined below.
    Proposal selection should be based on the Science and Technology Basic Plan and other related national policies while balancing international cooperation and competitiveness. Furthermore, proposals contributing to training researchers should also be noted.

    1. Scientific and technical relevance (One of the following criteria must be fulfilled.):
      1.1 The proposed research is of cutting-edge scientific and technological value (i.e., innovative and pioneering) or expected to contribute to opening up new possibilities for SACLA and must meet either the following criteria:
      a) Expected to make a significant scientific contribution.
      b) Expected to contribute to increasing industrial use.
      1.2 The proposed research has social significance or will contribute to the social economy.
    2. Necessity of using SACLA as a research tool.
    3. Conformity with the Science and Technology Basic Law and social norms: the implementation of the research proposal is appropriate in light of the Law and socially accepted ideas e.g., the implementation of the proposed research and the use of research results are for exclusively peaceful purposes.
    4. Technical feasibility.
    5. Safety of the experiment.

    Proprietary proposals shall be reviewed under the criteria 3 through 5 above.

2. Notification of Review Results
Applicants will be notified of the review results (i.e., the outcome of your application) via email and User Information My Page in early-August 2024.

3. Additional approval for fulfilling canceled beamtimes
Some of the unapproved proposals may be additionally approved to fulfill canceled beamtimes. The candidates for the additional approval are selected in advance from the unapproved proposals that meet the safety and technical review criteria. The total shifts for the candidates are up to about half the total shifts of unapproved proposals at each beamline. If the proposal is selected as a candidate for the additional approval, it will be noticed in the Notification of Review Results.
A proposal to fulfill a canceled beamtime will be selected from the candidates based on the following criteria.
(1) Overall score in the review by the SACLA Proposal Review Committee (SACLA PRC)
(2) Feasibility of the experiments at the canceled beamtime, e.g.;
– Availability of collaborators who can visit SACLA.
– Availability of the instruments for the experiments.
(3) Diversity of user experiments (e.g., basically, groups that already have beamtimes in 2024B will not be additionally approved.)

9. Experiment Summary Report (Non-Proprietary Research Only)

To ensure transparency of the non-proprietary research program, users are required to submit an Experiment Summary Report* within 60 days following their experiment.

*Experiment Summary Report
Length: up to one A4 page
Language: English or Japanese
Required Information: purpose, experimental method, experimental data, samples, and summary of the results.

Two weeks following the report submission deadline for the last experiment of the term (60 days after the end of each half-year research term + two weeks), submitted experiment summary reports will be incorporated into the experiment summary report database with search capabilities and made available on the UI site. Please see the following link for details: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?p=105&lang=en#ch01.

10. Dissemination of Research Results (Non-Proprietary Research Only)

Research results obtained through the use of SACLA must be disseminated within three years from the end of the half-year research term in at least one of the following three formats:

  1. Refereed journal papers, including refereed proceedings and doctoral thesis (Proposal No. must be specified).
    [in the event that proposal research did not result in publication]
  2. SPring-8/SACLA Research Report
  3. Technical journal articles

Please see the following link for details: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?p=107&lang=en.
As stated above, in case of using the combination system of XFEL and high-power nanosecond laser system of Osaka University, users shall state in the publications that the results were obtained by using both SACLA and the high-power nanosecond laser system of Osaka University.
If you are affiliated with a corporate enterprise located and registered in Japan, you may request to switch the research type of your approved general proposal from “non-proprietary” to “proprietary” within 60 days after the completion of the experiment or the end of the fiscal year (the end of March), whichever comes first.

11. Important Notes

  1. Radiation Worker Registration
    Based on Japanese law (i.e., the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards), all SACLA users are required to register as SPring-8/SACLA radiation workers. Please see the following link for details: https://sacla.xfel.jp/?page_id=287&lang=en#ch05-1.
  2. Safety Precautions
    For your safety, do not work alone. Please work in a group of two or more.
  3. Cancellation of Beamtime
    Please be advised that your scheduled beamtime may be cancelled in emergencies such as equipment failure, natural disaster, pandemic, etc. In such cases, users cannot claim compensation for the lost beamtime.
  4. General Insurance and Compensation
    Users shall take out appropriate personal injury and liability insurance before conducting experiments. If users damage SPring-8/SACLA facilities, equipment or persons, either willfully or through gross negligence, JASRI may require them to meet all or part of the cost of repairs. JASRI shall take due account of all relevant circumstances in determining the degree of user liability.

12. Contact/Consultation

  • General Inquiries
    SPring-8/SACLA Users Office
    Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI)
    1-1-1 Kouto, Sayo-cho, Sayo-gun
    Hyogo 679-5198 Japan
    Tel: +81-(0)791-58-0961
    email: sacla.jasri@spring8.or.jp
  • Consultation for Technical Issues
    XFEL Utilization Division
    Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI)
    1-1-1 Kouto, Sayo-cho, Sayo-gun
    Hyogo 679-5198 Japan
    email: sacla-bl.jasri@spring8.or.jp

13. Links

  1. Basic Policies regarding Proposal Selection for Public Beamlines
  2. Information Management Principles for Usage Promotion Services at the Specific Synchrotron Radiation Facilities

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