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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.

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.

Evolution of a Bimetallic Nanocatalyst

Haimei CoPt thumb

Atomic-scale snapshots of a bimetallic nanoparticle catalyst in action could help improve the industrial process by which fuels and chemicals are synthesized from natural gas, coal or plant biomass.

A Glassy Look for Manganites: Berkeley Lab Researchers at the ALS Observe Glass-like Behavior in the Electron-Spins of PCMO Crystals

Researchers at the Advanced Light Source discovered a glass-like re-ordering of electron-spin states as manganite crystals recovered from a photo-excited conductor state back to an insulator state. The discovery holds promise for future ultrafast electronic switching and memory devices.

Discovery of New Semiconductor Holds Promise for 2D Physics and Electronics

Researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry have discovered a unique new two-dimensional semiconductor, rhenium disulfide, that behaves electronically as if it were a 2D monolayer even as a 3D bulk material. This not only opens the door to 2D electronic applications with a 3D material, it also makes it possible to study 2D physics with easy-to-make 3D crystals.

Bright Future for Protein Nanoprobes

Berkeley Lab researchers at the Molecular Foundry have discovered surprising new rules for creating ultra-bright light-emitting crystals that are less than 10 nanometers in diameter. These ultra-tiny but ultra-bright nanoprobes should be a big asset for biological imaging, especially deep-tissue optical imaging of neurons in the brain.

Big Step for Next-Generation Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

Researchers at Berkeley and Argonne National Labs have discovered a highly promising new class of nanocatalysts for fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers that are an order of magnitude higher in activity than the target set by DOE for 2017.

Crossover Sound: Researchers Find Unambiguous Evidence for Coherent Phonons in Superlattices

The first “unambiguous demonstration” of the coherent transport of phonons – atomic-scale sound waves – opens the door to improved thermoelectrics and possibly even phonon lasers.

E-Whiskers: Berkeley Researchers Develop Highly Sensitive Tactile Sensors for Robotics and Other Applications

Researchers with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have created e-whiskers – highly sensitive tactile sensors made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles that should have a wide range of applications including advanced robotics, human-machine interfaces, and biological and environmental sensors.

President Obama Honors Outstanding Early-Career Scientists

President Obama named four Berkeley Lab-affiliated researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.