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Graphene, a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, has been touted as the strongest material known to exist, 200 times stronger than steel, lighter than paper, and with extraordinary mechanical and electrical properties. But can it live up to its promise?

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Scientists Take Key Step Toward Custom-made Nanoscale Chemical Factories

February 4th, 2016

Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. The new design provides an entirely new functionality that greatly expands the potential for these compartments to serve as custom-made chemical factories.

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New Galaxy-hunting Sky Camera Sees Redder Better

February 2nd, 2016

A newly upgraded camera that incorporates light sensors developed at Berkeley Lab is one of the best cameras on the planet for studying outer space at red wavelengths too red for the human eye to see.

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Coupling 2 ‘Tabletop’ Laser-Plasma Accelerators, a Decisive First Step Toward Tomorrow’s Ultrapowerful Compact Machines

February 1st, 2016

Scientists at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center demonstrated that a laser pulse can accelerate an electron beam and couple it to a second laser plasma accelerator, where another laser pulse accelerates the beam to higher energy—a fundamental breakthrough in advanced accelerator science.

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Scientists Discover Protein’s Starring Role in Genome Stability, and Possibly Cancer Prevention

January 28th, 2016

A protein called XPG plays a previously unknown and critical role helping to maintain genome stability in human cells. It may also help prevent breast, ovarian, and other cancers associated with defective BRCA genes.

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Simplifying Solar Cells with a New Mix of Materials

January 27th, 2016

Scientists have simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. The special blend of materials eliminates the need for a process known as doping that steers the device’s properties by introducing foreign atoms. Doping can also degrade performance.

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Polar Vortices Observed in Ferroelectric

January 27th, 2016

Berkeley Lab researchers have observed polar vortices in a ferroelectric material that appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions. This discovery holds intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices and could also rewrite our basic understanding of ferroelectrics.