News Center

Skin Tough

Robert Ritchie feature star

A collaboration of Berkeley Lab and UC San Diego researchers has recorded the first direct observations of the micro-scale mechanisms behind the ability of skin to resist tearing. The results could be applied to the improvement of artificial skin, or to the development of thin film polymers for flexible electronics.

A New Level of Earthquake Understanding

Martin Kunz SA fault Feature

Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers studied quartz from the San Andreas Fault at the microscopic scale, the scale at which earthquake-triggering stresses originate. The results could one day lead to a better understanding of earthquake events.

First Detailed Microscopy Evidence of Bacteria at the Lower Size Limit of Life

A lifeline to other cells? Cryo-transmission electron microscopy captured numerous hairlike appendages radiating from the surface of this ultra-small bacteria cell. The scientists theorize the pili-like structures enable the cell to connect with other microbes and obtain life-giving resources. The scale bar is 100 nanometers. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

Scientists have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria that are believed to be about as small as life can get. The research was led by scientists from Berkeley Laboratory and UC Berkeley.

Making a Good Thing Better: Berkeley Lab Researchers Open a Possible Avenue to Better Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries

X-ray absorption spectra, interpreted using first-principles electronic structure calculations, provide insight into the solvation of the lithium ion in propylene carbonate. (Image courtesy of Rich Saykally, Berkeley)

Berkeley Lab researchers carried out the first X-ray absorption spectroscopy study of a model electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries and may have found a pathway forward to improving LIBs for electric vehicles and large-scale electrical energy storage.

Switching to Spintronics


Berkeley Lab researchers used an electric field to reverse the magnetization direction in a multiferroic spintronic device at room temperature, a demonstration that points a new way towards spintronics and smaller, faster and cheaper ways of storing and processing data.

Back to the Future with Roman Architectural Concrete

Roman concerete Feature Image

A key discovery to understanding Roman architectural concrete that has stood the test of time and the elements for nearly two thousand years has been made by researchers using beams of X-rays at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source.

A Better Look at the Chemistry of Interfaces

Chuck Fadley feature image Large

SWAPPS – Standing Wave Ambient Pressure Photoelectron Spectroscopy – is a new X-ray technique developed at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source that provides sub-nanometer resolution of every chemical element to be found at heterogeneous interfaces, such as those in batteries, fuel cells and other devices.

A Cage Made of Proteins, Designed With Help From the Advanced Light Source

Protein Cage

With help from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, scientists from UCLA recently designed a cage made of proteins. The nano-sized cage could lead to new biomaterials and new ways to deliver drugs inside cells. It boasts a record breaking 225-angstrom outside diameter, the largest to date for a designed protein assembly. It also has a 130-angstrom-diameter

Berkeley Lab and Scripps Research Institute Scientists Link ALS Progression to Increased Protein Instability


LA JOLLA, CA—October 13, 2014—A new study by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and other institutions suggests a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “Our work supports a common theme whereby loss of protein stability leads to disease,” said John A.

Advanced Light Source Sets Microscopy Record

Ptychographic image using soft X-rays of lithium iron phosphate nanocrystal after partial dilithiation. The delithiated region is shown in red.

Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers used “soft” X-rays to image structures only five nanometers in size. This resolution is the highest ever achieved with X-ray microscopy.