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


    July - August 2008 


    During this period we were presented first with some bad and then good news from APS. The 2008-2 run, was shortened by about three weeks due to an APS budget shortfall, and concluded on August 12. However, hearing that they would receive approximately $7M of supplemental funding for the remainder of FY2008, APS announced that the 2008-3 user operation would not be shortened as originally feared. Unfortunately, the APS operating schedule for users throughout 2009 still remains uncertain and subject to uncertainties of congressional action on DOE Office of Science’s 2009 budget request.


    User Operations

    During the operational months in July and August, NE- CAT users of both insertion beamlines reported successful runs. Both beamlines operated reliably with no users losing any significant amount of beam time due to faults with the beamlines. However, APS experienced a number of failures in accelerator operations during this period most of short duration but one which was lengthy. On Saturday, August 16 APS experienced a 14 hour long accelerator fault. However, in spite of the problems experienced with the accelerator on this day, only one user group of NE- CAT’s beamlines, a group from the University of Chicago, was unable to complete its planned experiments.

    The following pie charts summarize scheduled usage of NE- CAT’s beamlines during the last run period, 2008-2.

    24-ID-C Usage by Group


    24-ID-E Usage by Group


    Particularly notable, both beamlines were fully booked. General User usage of 24-ID-C continued to rise to 43% (47% when subtracting “Development” time resulting in the percentage of time actually available for scheduling of users) which is very close to our target of 50% for General Users. Usage of 24-ID-E by General Users has risen to 35% (39%), substantially above our target of 25% for the first year of operation of this beamline. For both beamlines, “Development Time” of ~10% was a little higher than normal during this period due to the need to train NE- CAT’s three new hires and to improve the reliability of the automated sample placement robot on 24-ID-C which was placed into user operation during this period.


    Automated Sample Placement Robotic System

    During this period, eight research groups used the newly operational automated sample placement robotics system on the 24-ID-C beamline, mounting and dismounting some 500 crystals. All reported satisfactory results with only a relatively few problems in mounts and dismounts encountered for which the problems were quickly resolved during this commissioning phase. With this early successful experience and reliability of the robotic system steadily improving, an increasing number of users are requesting time to use the robot for screening of their crystals.


    Status of New MD2 Microdiffractometer

    We have been informed by ACCEL that our second MD2 microdiffractometer, scheduled for installation on 24-ID-C, will most likely be shipped to us late in September, too late to be installed in time for the 2008-3 run beginning October 2. Therefore, installation of the new microdiffractometer on 24-ID-C is now scheduled for the December-January shutdown, with user operation beginning at the start of the 2009-1 run.