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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.

7 Imaging Tools Pushing Science Forward


Berkeley Lab scientists are developing new ways to see the unseen. Here are seven imaging advances (recently reported in our News Center) that are helping to push science forward, from developing better batteries to peering inside cells to exploring the nature of the universe.   1. Seeing DNA nanostructures in 3-D DNA segments can serve as a

A New Way to Image Solar Cells in 3-D

The Molecular Foundry's Ed Barnard is part of a team of scientists that developed a new way to see inside solar cells. (Credit: Marilyn Chung)

Scientists have developed a way to use optical microscopy to map thin-film solar cells in 3-D as they absorb photons. The new method could help researchers learn new ways to boost photovoltaic efficiency.

Workshop Focuses in on Electron Microscopy

Photo - High-resolution cryoEM imaging and a unique analysis tool enabled this image of a microtubule, a hollow cylinder with walls made up of a mix of tubulin proteins. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

A “Future Electron Microscopy” workshop held Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the ALS User Support Building showcased the breadth and depth of electron microscopy at Berkeley Lab.

Seeing Atoms and Molecules in Action with an Electron ‘Eye’

Rendering - The layout of the HiRES ultrafast electron diffraction beamline, which is located in the domed Advanced Light Source building at Berkeley Lab. (Computerized rendering courtesy of Daniele Filippetto/Berkeley Lab)

A unique rapid-fire electron source—originally built as a prototype for driving next-generation X-ray lasers—will help scientists at Berkeley Lab study ultrafast chemical processes and changes in materials at the atomic scale.

Construction Begins on Major Upgrade to World’s Brightest X-ray Laser

Image - An electron beam travels through a niobium cavity, a key component of a future LCLS-II X-ray laser, in this illustration. Kept at minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit, these cavities will power a highly energetic electron beam that will create up to 1 million X-ray flashes per second. (Credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Berkeley Lab scientists are developing key components for LCLS-II, a major X-ray laser upgrade and expansion project that will enable new atomic-scale explorations with up to 1 million ultrabright X-ray pulses per second.

Berkeley Lab Working on Key Components for LCLS-II X-ray Lasers

Image - A prototype LCLS-II undulator, which is designed to wiggle electrons so that they emit brilliant X-ray light, undergoes magnetic measurements testing at Berkeley Lab. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

  X-ray free-electron lasers, first realized a decade ago, produce the brightest X-rays on the planet, and scientists tap into these unique X-rays to explore matter at the atomic scale and observe processes that occur in just quadrillionths of a second. As the name suggests, an X-ray free-electron laser requires electrons—lots of them, and in

Revealing the Fluctuations of Flexible DNA in 3-D

Illustration: In a Berkeley Lab-led study, flexible double-helix DNA segments connected to gold nanoparticles are revealed from the 3-D density maps (purple and yellow) reconstructed from individual samples using a Berkeley Lab-developed technique called individual-particle electron tomography or IPET. Projections of the structures are shown in the background grid. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

Scientists have captured the first high-resolution 3-D images from individual double-helix DNA segments attached to gold nanoparticles, which could aid in the use of DNA segments as building blocks for molecular devices that function as nanoscale drug-delivery systems, markers for biological research, and components for electronic devices.

Unlocking the Secrets of Gene Expression

Eva Nogales and Robert Louder at electron microscope.

Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Eva Nogales and her team have made a significant breakthrough in our understanding of how our molecular machinery finds the right DNA to copy, showing with unprecedented detail the role of a powerhouse transcription factor known as TFIID.

New Form of Electron-beam Imaging Can See Elements that are ‘Invisible’ to Common Methods

At right, this colorized image produced by a Berkeley Lab-developed electron imaging technique called STEM shows details of nanoscale gold particles and also a carbon film (blue). At left, an colorized image from a more conventional electron-based technique called ADF-STEM is mostly blind to the carbon material. (Colin Ophus/Berkeley Lab)

A new Berkeley Lab-developed electron-beam imaging technique, tested on samples of nanoscale gold and carbon, greatly improves images of light elements. The technique can reveal structural details for materials that would be overlooked by some traditional methods.