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Chemistry on the Edge: Study Pinpoints Most Active Areas of Reactions on Nanoscale Particles

Illustration - This illustration shows the setup for an experiment at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source that used infrared light (shown in red) and an atomic force microscope (middle and top) to study the local surface chemistry on coated platinum particles (yellow) measuring about 100 nanometers in length. (Credit: Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Defects and jagged surfaces at the edges of nanosized platinum and gold particles are key hot spots for chemical reactivity, researchers confirmed using a unique infrared probe.

New Graphene-Based System Could Help Us ‘See’ Electrical Signaling in Heart and Nerve Cells

Image - This diagram shows the setup for an imaging method that mapped electrical signals using a sheet of graphene and an infrared laser. The laser was fired through a prism (lower left) onto a sheet of graphene. An electrode was used to send tiny electrical signals into a liquid solution (in cylinder atop the graphene), and a camera (lower right) was used to capture images mapping out these electrical signals. (Credit: Halleh Balch and Jason Horng/Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley)

Scientists have enlisted the exotic properties of graphene to function like the film of an incredibly sensitive camera system in visually mapping tiny electric fields. They hope to enlist the new method to image electrical signaling networks in our hearts and brains.

Scientists Trace ‘Poisoning’ in Chemical Reactions to the Atomic Scale

Image - A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image showing a type of catalyst called a zeolite that is used to convert ethanol to high-value fuels. The particles measure about 15 microns in length. (Credit: PNNL)

A combination of experiments, including X-ray studies at Berkeley Lab, revealed new details about pesky deposits that can stop chemical reactions vital to fuel production and other processes.

On the Path Toward Bionic Enzymes

This graphic depicts a view into the bionic enzyme, an artificial metalloenzyme created by Berkeley Lab scientists. Within the protein (grey) is a porphyrin (red), a component of natural heme proteins, with iridium as the active site (purple). The enzyme converts the molecules at the top left and right to those at the bottom left and right by reaction at a carbon-hydrogen bond and carbon-carbon double bond, respectively. (Credit: John Hartwig Lab/Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley)

Berkeley Lab chemists have successfully married chemistry and biology to create reactions never before possible. They did this by replacing the iron normally found in the muscle protein myoglobin with iridium, a noble metal not known to be used by living systems.

Copper is Key in Burning Fat

Chris Chang and UC Berkeley graduate student Sumin Lee carry out experiments to find proteins that bind to copper and potentially influence the storage and burning of fat. (Credit: Peg Skorpinski/UC Berkeley)

A new study led by a Berkeley Lab scientist and UC Berkeley professor establishes for the first time copper’s role in fat metabolism, further burnishing the metal’s reputation as an essential nutrient for human physiology.

New Path Forward for Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Batteries

A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers Dong-Hwa Seo, Alex Urban, Jinhyuk Lee, and Gerd Ceder (from left) sheds light on how lithium-rich cathodes work, opening the door to higher capacity batteries.

A team led by Gerbrand Ceder has made a major advance in understanding the chemical processes in “lithium-rich cathodes,” which hold promise for a higher energy lithium-ion battery.

‘Disruptive Device’ Brings Xenon-NMR to Fragile Materials

This illustration shows how the new method works. Hyperpolarized xenon-129, which can sense molecular ordering within the samples, diffuses through hollow membrane fibers containing viscous liquids. Different chemical environments, including phases (gas, liquid or solid) and types of molecular order, correspond to highly resolved xenon-129 chemical shifts, represented here by different colors of xenon atoms. (Image credit: Ashley Truxal)

A new device will enable nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, coupled with a powerful molecular sensor, to analyze molecular interactions in viscous solutions and fragile materials such as liquid crystals.

Weaving a New Story for COFS and MOFs

Omar Weaving art illustation feature

An international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab scientists
has woven the first 3D covalent organic frameworks (COFs) from helical organic threads. The woven COFs display significant advantages in structural flexibility, resiliency and reversibility over previous COFs.

Seeing the Big Picture in Photosynthetic Light Harvesting

Through the miracle of photosynthesis, plants absorb sunlight in their leaves and convert the photonic energy into chemical energy that is stored as sugars in the plants’ biomass. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

Berkeley Lab scientists have created the first computational model that simulates the light-harvesting activity of thousands of antenna proteins that would interact in the chloroplast of an actual leaf. The results point the way to improving the yields of food and fuel crops, and developing artificial photosynthesis technologies for next generation solar energy systems.

Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy:

3HM nanocarriers for brain cancer therapy

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new family of nanocarriers, called “3HM,” that meets all the size and stability requirements for effectively delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain for the treatment of a deadly form of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.