Work Package 6 – High Repetition Rate Sample Delivery (HIREP)

Advanced light sources generate intense light pulses many times per second, requiring scientists to exchange samples at high rates in many experiments. At frequencies of 10 Hz, automation is needed to place targets or to change sample position so that they can be irradiated by the light. High spatial precision is a further requirement for this technique. Technologies developed through HIREP use several automated, standardized methods to enable scientists to make more efficient use of the advanced light source facilities. These technologies also support complementary experiments at different advanced light sources.

Standard sample infrastructure

HIREP scientists developed two sets of standard sample frames for use at various advanced light source instruments. One is a frame for biological samples, with evenly spaced conical grooves that act like wells into which cryogenically frozen biological samples are delivered. The second frame holds solid samples such as foils, possibly carrying deposited thin films for investigation. HIREP’s special software uses a form of artificial intelligence to identify areas of interest on these foils for the experiment. A sample scanner and a rotating stand automatically and precisely align the foils in the frame relative to the pump or probe beams and move the samples to match a 10 Hz repetition rate.