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Not Much Force: Berkeley Researchers Detect Smallest Force Ever Measured

Mechanical oscillators translate an applied force into measureable mechanical motion. The Standard Quantum Limit is imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, in which the measurement itself perturbs the motion of the oscillator, a phenomenon known as “quantum back-action.” (Image by Kevin Gutowski)

Berkeley Lab researchers have detected the smallest force ever measured – approximately 42 yoctonewtons – using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton.

New Details on Microtubules and How the Anti-Cancer Drug Taxol Works

The most detailed look ever at the assembly and disassembly of microtubules, tiny fibers of tubulin protein that play a crucial role in cell division, provides new insight into the success of the anti-cancer drug Taxol.

Berkeley Lab researchers have produced images of microtubule assembly and disassembly at the unprecedented resolution of 5 angstroms, providing new insight into the success of the anti-cancer drug Taxol and pointing the way to possible improvements.

Confirmed: Stellar Behemoth Self-Destructs in a Type IIb Supernova

The Palomar 48 inch telescope. (Photo by: Iair Arcavi, Weizmann Instiute of Science)

Wolf-Rayet stars, more than 20 times as massive as the Sun and at least five times as hot, are relatively rare and often obscured. Scientists don’t know much about how they form, live and die.

Berkeley Lab Develops Nanoscope to Probe Chemistry on the Molecular Scale

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By combining atomic force microscopy with infrared synchrotron light, researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source and the University of Colorado have improved the spatial resolution of infrared spectroscopy by orders of magnitude, while simultaneously covering its full spectroscopic range, enabling the investigation of variety of nanoscale, mesoscale, and surface phenomena that were previously difficult to study.

No Ocean-Borne Radiation from Fukushima Detected on West Coast Shoreline, According to Analysis of 1st Samples from ‘Kelp Watch 2014’

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Scientists working together on Kelp Watch 2014 announced today that the West Coast shoreline shows no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, following their analysis of the first collection of kelp samples along the western U.S. coastline. The team is co-led by Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley’s Kai Vetter.

Berkeley Lab Climate Scientist: More Extreme Heat and Drought in Coming Decades

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By the end of this century climate change will result in more frequent and more extreme heat, more drought, and fewer extremes in cold weather in the United States. Average high temperatures could climb as much as 10 or more degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the country. These are some of the projections made by Berkeley Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner and his co-authors on the National Climate Assessment (NCA).

Edgy Look at 2D Molybdenum Disulfide

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Berkeley Lab researchers have recorded the first observations of a strong nonlinear optical resonance along the edges of single layers of molybdenum disulfide that could be key to the use of this and similar 2D semiconductors in future nanoelectronic devices.

In Memoriam: Andrew Sessler, Former Laboratory Director, Acclaimed Physicist and Humanitarian

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Andrew Sessler, former Laboratory Director and acclaimed physicist and humanitarian, has died.

Berkeley Lab’s Adam Arkin Wins 2013 Lawrence Award

Adam Arkin, director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, has been named one of six recipients of the 2013 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Berkeley Lab Launches Building Energy Performance Research Project at New FLEXLAB Testing Facility

The DOE’s David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, was on hand in Berkeley April 14 to tour FLEXLAB™, the Facility for Low Energy experiments in Buildings, run by Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Danielson and Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos also met with executives from construction firm Webcor. Webcor’s testing in FLEXLAB will allow its engineers to predict and improve the energy performance for a new building constructed for biotech company, Genentech. A building mockup for Genentech will be studied at different building orientations, specific to the actual construction site. As part of his visit to the Lab, Danielson also toured the Molecular Foundry.