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Solar-to-Fuel System Recycles CO2 to Make Ethanol and Ethylene

In a big step toward sun-powered fuel production, scientists at Berkeley Lab have used artificial photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons at efficiencies greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant advance in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.

A Semiconductor That Can Beat the Heat

A newly discovered collective rattling effect in a type of crystalline semiconductor blocks most heat transfer while preserving high electrical conductivity – a rare pairing that scientists say could reduce heat buildup in electronics devices and turbine engines, among other possible applications.

Lights! Action! Photo-Activated Catalyst Grabs CO2 to Make Ingredients for Fuel

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a “spongy,” light-activated material that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be further turned into liquid fuels and other useful products. This is done without generating unwanted chemical reactions and byproducts, a significant step forward in developing technology that could help mitigate levels of a potent greenhouse gas while generating solar-powered fuel.

Could This Strategy Bring High-Speed Communications to the Deep Sea?

Berkeley Lab researchers are proposing a new method for sending acoustic waves through water that could dramatically increase communication speeds for scuba divers, deep sea robots, and remote ocean monitors. By taking advantage of the dynamic rotation generated as waves travel, the researchers were able to pack more channels onto a single frequency, effectively increasing the amount of information capable of being transmitted.

New Class of ‘Soft’ Semiconductors Could Transform HD Displays

New research by Berkeley Lab scientists could help usher in a new generation of high-definition displays, optoelectronic devices, photodetectors, and more. They have shown that a class of “soft” semiconductors can be used to emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nanometers. The work could challenge quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals to emit light.

2-D Material’s Traits Could Send Electronics R&D Spinning in New Directions

Researchers created an atomically thin material at Berkeley Lab and used X-rays to measure its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as “spintronics.”

Scientists Help Thin-Film Ferroelectrics Go Extreme

Scientists have created the first-ever polarization gradient in thin-film ferroelectrics, greatly expanding the range of functional temperatures for a key material used in a variety of everyday applications. The discovery could pave the way for developing devices capable of supporting wireless communications in extreme environments.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Discover New Atomically Layered, Thin Magnet

Berkeley Lab scientists have found an unexpected magnetic property in a 2-D material. The new atomically thin, flat magnet could have major implications for a wide range of applications, such as nanoscale memory, spintronic devices, and magnetic sensors.

How X-rays Pushed Topological Matter Research Over the Top

Pioneering X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) helped bring to life decades-old theories about exotic states of matter, and the ALS continues to play an important role in this flourishing field of topological matter research.

Scientists Pull Water Out of Thin Air

Berkeley and MIT scientists have demonstrated breakthrough technology capable of generating liters of water out of dry air using the power of the sun. The development is a major step toward a future of personal, off-grid sources of water.