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Could This Strategy Bring High-Speed Communications to the Deep Sea?

Berkeley Lab researchers are proposing a new method for sending acoustic waves through water that could dramatically increase communication speeds for scuba divers, deep sea robots, and remote ocean monitors. By taking advantage of the dynamic rotation generated as waves travel, the researchers were able to pack more channels onto a single frequency, effectively increasing the amount of information capable of being transmitted.

New Class of ‘Soft’ Semiconductors Could Transform HD Displays

New research by Berkeley Lab scientists could help usher in a new generation of high-definition displays, optoelectronic devices, photodetectors, and more. They have shown that a class of “soft” semiconductors can be used to emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The work could challenge quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light.

Microbe Mystery Solved: What Happened to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Plume

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is one of the most studied spills in history, yet scientists haven’t agreed on the role of microbes in eating up the oil. Now a research team at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has identified all of the

2-D Material’s Traits Could Send Electronics R&D Spinning in New Directions

Researchers created an atomically thin material at Berkeley Lab and used X-rays to measure its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as “spintronics.”

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle’s protein shell. This work could benefit research in bioenergy and pathogenesis, and it could lead to new methods of bioengineering bacteria for beneficial purposes.

Researchers Find New Mechanism for Genome Regulation

The mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of a part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new Berkeley Lab study. Researchers found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed.

Sound Waves Direct Particles to Self-Assemble, Self-Heal

Berkeley Lab scientists have demonstrated how floating particles will assemble and synchronize in response to acoustic waves. Their simple experiment provides a new framework for studying how seemingly lifelike behaviors emerge in response to external forces. The work could help address fundamental questions about energy dissipation and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

Keeping California’s Natural Gas System Safe

The massive natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon shined a light on California’s aging natural gas infrastructure. And five years of extreme drought also exacted its toll on transmission pipelines. Now Berkeley Lab has been awarded $4.6 million by the California Energy Commission for two projects aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the state’s natural gas system.

A Seaweed Derivative Could Be Just What Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Need

Lithium-sulfur batteries have great potential as a low-cost, high-energy, energy source for both vehicle and grid applications. However, they suffer from significant capacity fading. Now scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made a surprising discovery that could fix this problem.

Researchers Find a Surprise Just Beneath the Surface in Carbon Dioxide Experiment

X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab, coupled with theoretical work, revealed how oxygen atoms embedded very near the surface of a copper sample had a more dramatic effect on the early stages of a reaction with carbon dioxide than earlier theories could account for. This work could prove useful in designing new types of materials to make reactions more efficient in converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuels and other products.