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Mysteries of Space Dust Revealed

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The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA’s Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks, which likely originated from beyond our solar system, are more complex in composition and structure than previously imagined.

Cagey Material Acts as Alcohol Factory

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Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed and patented by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), is making this process a little easier. The research, published earlier this year

Up in Flames: Evidence Confirms Combustion Theory

A graphical representation of the chemistry in the early stages of soot formation. The molecular formation to the right were demonstrated by experiment, while the formation to the left was not. Credit: Dorian Parker, University of Hawaii

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) and the University of Hawaii have uncovered the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles like soot and other carbon-based compounds.

Advanced Light Source Provides New Look at Skyrmions: Results Hold Promise for Spintronics

Advanced Light Source images of a Cu2SeO3 sample show five sets of dual-peak skyrmion structures, highlighted by the white ovals. The dual peaks represent the two skyrmion sub-lattices that rotate with respect to each other. All peaks fall on an arc (dotted line) representing the constant amplitude of the skyrmion wave vector.

At Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, researchers for the first time have used x-rays to observe and study skyrmions, subatomic quasiparticles that could play a key role in future spintronic technologies.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Help Discover Rare Form of Iron Oxide in Ancient Chinese Pottery

New analysis of ancient Jian wares reveals the distinctive pottery contains an unexpected and highly unusual form of iron oxide. This rare compound, called epsilon-phase iron oxide, was only recently discovered and characterized by scientists and so far has been extremely difficult to create with modern techniques. “What is amazing is that the ‘perfect synthesis

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.

A Glassy Look for Manganites: Berkeley Lab Researchers at the ALS Observe Glass-like Behavior in the Electron-Spins of PCMO Crystals

Researchers at the Advanced Light Source discovered a glass-like re-ordering of electron-spin states as manganite crystals recovered from a photo-excited conductor state back to an insulator state. The discovery holds promise for future ultrafast electronic switching and memory devices.

On the Road to Mottronics: Researchers at the Advanced Light Source Find Key to Controlling the Electronic and Magnetic Properties of Mott Thin Films

At Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, researchers controlled the conducting/insulating phases of ultra-thin films of Mott materials by applying an epitaxial strain to the crystal lattice. This is an important step on the road to Mottronics.

Tracking Catalytic Reactions in Microreactors

Berkeley Lab researchers have demonstrated a technique that for the first time allows the catalytic reactivity inside a microreactor to be mapped in high resolution from start-to-finish. This technique opens a more effective and efficient synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs and other flow reactor chemical products.

New Insight into an Emerging Genome-Editing Tool

A collaboration led by Berkeley Lab’s Jennifer Doudna and Eva Nogales has produced the first detailed look at the 3D structure of the Cas9 enzyme and how it partners with guide RNA to interact with target DNA. The results should enhance Cas9’s value and versatility as a genome-editing tool.