News Center

A Hot Start to the Origin of Life?

Composite image of an energetic star explosion taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in March of 1997. Credit: NASA

Researchers from Berkeley Lab and the University of Hawaii at Manoa have shown for the first time that cosmic hot spots, such as those near stars, could be excellent environments for the creation of molecular precursors to DNA.

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment

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By combining biocompatible light-capturing nanowire arrays with select bacterial populations, a potentially game-changing new artificial photosynthesis system offers a win/win situation for the environment: solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide.

Solving an Organic Semiconductor Mystery

Sketch of organic semiconductor thin film shows that the interfacial region between larger domains (blue and green) consists of randomly oriented small, nano-crystalline domains (purple).

Organic semiconductors are prized for light emitting diodes (LEDs), field effect transistors (FETs) and photovoltaic cells. As they can be printed from solution, they provide a highly scalable, cost-effective alternative to silicon-based devices. Uneven performances, however, have been a persistent problem. That’s now changed.

A Better Look at the Chemistry of Interfaces

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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.

Copper on the Brain at Rest

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A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers has shown that proper copper levels are essential to the health of the brain at rest.

New Insights on Carbonic Acid in Water

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A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers provides valuable new insight into aqueous carbonic acid with important implications for both geological and biological concerns.

Of Metal Heads and Imaging

IPI is a fluorescent probe that can visualize changes in exchangeable iron stores in living cells upon iron supplementation or depletion.

Berkeley Lab researchers are developing molecular imaging probes and techniques to study metals in the brain that have been linked to disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

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.

Dynamic Spectroscopy Duo

2D-EV spectral data tells researchers how photoexcitation of a molecular system affects the coupling of electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom that is essential to understanding how all molecules, molecular systems and nanomaterials function.

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new technique called two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy that can be used to study the interplay between electrons and atomic nuclei during a photochemical reaction. Photochemical reactions are critical to a wide range of natural and technological phenomena, including photosynthesis, vision, nanomaterials and solar energy.

Producing Hyperpolarized Xenon Gas on a Microfluidic Chip

In this experimental set-up, unpolarized  xenon gas goes in and hyperpolarized xenon gas emerges from a microfluidic chip when the gas becomes polarized through spin exchange with optically pumped rubidium atoms in the chip.

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a technology by which hyperpolarized xenon gas is produced on a microfluidic chip, providing a contrast agent capable of enhanced NMR signals with a small, portable device.