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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.

Glowing Crystals Can Detect, Cleanse Contaminated Drinking Water

Researchers have developed a specialized type of glowing metal organic framework, or LMOF (molecular structure at center), that is designed to detect and remove heavy-metal toxins from water. At upper left, mercury (HG2+) is trapped by the LMOF. The graph at lower left shows how the glowing property, known as fluorescence, is turned off as the LMOF binds up the mercury. Its properties make this LMOF useful for both detecting and trapping heavy-metal toxins. (Credit: Rutgers University)

Motivated by public hazards associated with contaminated sources of drinking water, a team of scientists has successfully developed and tested tiny, glowing crystals that can detect and trap heavy-metal toxins like mercury and lead.

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.

A New Understanding of Metastability Clears Path for Next-Generation Materials

Kristin Persson, Gerbrand Ceder and Wenhao Sun at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Berkeley, Calif. 11/17/16

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have published a new study that, for the first time, explicitly quantifies the thermodynamic scale of metastability for almost 30,000 known materials. This paves the way for designing and making promising next-generation materials for use in everything from semiconductors to pharmaceuticals to steels.

We Gather Here Today to Join Lasers and Anti-Lasers

Schematic shows anti-lasing mode of a device created by Berkeley Lab scientists. (Credit: Zi Jing Wong/UC Berkeley)

Berkeley Lab scientists have, for the first time, achieved both lasing and anti-lasing in a single device. Their findings lay the groundwork for developing a new type of integrated device with the flexibility to operate as a laser, an amplifier, a modulator, and a detector.

Smallest. Transistor. Ever.

Schematic of a transistor with a molybdenum disulfide channel and 1 nanometer carbon nanotube gate. (Credit: Sujay Desai/UC Berkeley)

A research team led by Berkeley Lab material scientists has created a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate, breaking a size barrier that had been set by the laws of physics. The achievement could be a key to extending the life of Moore’s Law.

Transformational X-ray Project Takes a Step Forward

Photo - A time-lapse view of the Advanced Light Source building at night. (Credit: Haris Mahic/Berkeley Lab)

A proposed upgrade to the Advanced Light Source—which would provide new views of materials and chemistry at the nanoscale with X-ray beams up to 1,000 times brighter than possible now—has cleared the first step in a Department of Energy approval process. The upgrade would enable new explorations of chemical reactions, battery performance, and biological processes.

Scientists Find Twisting 3-D Raceway for Electrons in Nanoscale Crystal Slices

Photo - A scanning electron microscope image shows triangular (red) and rectangular samples of a semimetal crystal known as cadmium arsenide. The rectangular sample is about 0.8 microns (thousandths of a millimeter) thick, 3.2 microns tall and 5 microns long. The triangular sample has a base measuring about 2.7 microns. The design of the triangular samples, fabricated at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, proved useful in mapping out the strange electron orbits exhibited by this material when exposed to a magnetic field. (Credit: Nature, 10.1038/nature18276)

Researchers have observed, for the first time, an exotic 3-D racetrack for electrons in ultrathin slices of a tiny crystal they made at Berkeley Lab.

A Conscious Coupling of Magnetic and Electric Materials

Scientists engineered a new magnetic ferroelectric at the atomic-scale.  A false-colored electron microscopy image shows alternating lutetium (blue) and iron (green) atomic planes.  An extra plane of iron atoms (purple) was inserted every ten repeats.  The rumpling of the lutetium planes (blue) shown drove the material into a ferroelectric state and increased the magnetism in the adjacent double iron layers (purple). (Credit: Emily Ryan and Megan Holtz/Cornell)

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Cornell University have successfully paired ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic materials so that their alignment can be controlled with a small electric field at near room temperatures. The achievement could open doors to ultra low-power microprocessors, storage devices and next-generation electronics.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Fluorescent Ruby Red Roofs Stay as Cool as White

Berkeley Lab researchers Sharon Chen and Paul Berdahl hold up their prototype coating made from ruby powder and synthetic ruby crystals. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

Elementary school science teaches us that in the sun, dark colors get hot while white stays cool. Now new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found an exception: scientists have determined that certain dark pigments can stay just as cool as white by using fluorescence, the re-emission of absorbed light.