NECAT Beamline

The Northeastern Collaborative Access Team (NE-CAT) facility at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is managed by Cornell University and consists of seven member institutions:

  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Harvard University
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Rockefeller University
  • Yale University.

    Primary funding for this project comes from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) , a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additional financial support for NE-CAT comes from the member institutions.

    NIGMS at a Glance.

    Supported by:

    National Institutes of Health
    National Institute of General Medical Sciences

    Status of NE-CAT Sector 24 Activities


    May 2009

    The accelerator was shut down for scheduled preventative maintenance for nearly the entire month of May. These long accelerator shutdown periods, which occur three times a year, are used by the NE- CAT staff to perform their own preventative maintenance on the beamlines and to install and test new capabilities for its users.

    The major emphasis during this shutdown period was to develop a new software interface between the Console beamline control system and the MD2 microdiffractometer control system. When delivered, the MD2 was supplied with its own control system and Maatel had also provided an interface to enable the MD2 to communicate with an external control system. However in usage, our users would periodically experience a hang up requiring rebooting of the system due to problems with the supplied interface. Also the communications between the Console control system and the MD2 software through the supplied interface were very slow, appreciably slowing down the automated sample placement robot operation as well as the rate at which data frames could be taken. To alleviate this problem, a new interface software system was developed and installed during the shutdown period. Following resumption of APS accelerator operations on May 27, our staff thoroughly tested the new interface before arrival of the first users. The new interface was found to be highly reliable; totally eliminating the hang up problems previously encountered and permitted must faster operations. The complete cycle of pin dismount and new pin remount on the goniometer using the sample placement robot was decreased from 2-1/2 minutes to 1-1/4 minutes. Also, the rate at which data frames could be taken was increased by a factor of two. Based upon the successful testing of the new interface, this new control interface has now been installed on both beamlines for routine operations.

    Several other new features have been added. A triple aperture assembly has been purchased from ACCEL/Maatel. This assembly contains three different sized apertures. From the control area users can now automatically select which of the three aperture sizes they wish to use- avoiding the need to go in and out of the experimental hutch to manually change apertures. A MD2 Kappa attachment for the MD2 is now available for routine use by our users on the 24-ID-C beamline. To facilitate use of the Kappa, we have made available to the users the STAC (Strategy for Aligned Crystals) software. STAC allows the user to automatically determine the correct orientation of the crystal and provides an optimum data acquisition strategy to be used.