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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.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Discover Surprising New Properties in a 2-D Semiconductor


Researchers found how substantial linear defects in a new semiconductor create entirely new properties. Some of these properties indicate the defects might even mediate superconducting states.

Scientists Take a Major Leap Toward a ‘Perfect’ Quantum Metamaterial

Illustration - The wavelike pattern at the top shows the accordion-like structure of a proposed quantum material—an artificial crystal made of light—that can trap atoms in regularly spaced nanoscale pockets. These pockets can be made to hold a large collection of ultracold “host” atoms (green), slowed to a standstill by laser light, and individually planted “probe” atoms (red) that can be made to transmit quantum information in the form of a photon (particle of light). The lower panel shows how the artificial crystal can be reconfigured with light from an open (hyperbolic) geometry to a closed (elliptical) geometry, which greatly affects the speed at which the probe atom can release a photon. (Credit: Pankaj K. Jha/UC Berkeley)

Scientists have devised a way to build a “quantum metamaterial”—an engineered material with exotic properties not found in nature—using ultracold atoms trapped in an artificial crystal composed of light.

Four Berkeley Lab Researchers Named to National Academy of Sciences


Four Berkeley Lab-affiliated researchers were elected members to the National Academy of Sciences this week. The four make up a class of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates this year from 14 different countries. The election recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

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.

Scientists Push Valleytronics One Step Closer to Reality

Valleytronics Thumbnail

Scientists have taken a big step toward the practical application of “valleytronics,” which is a new type of electronics that could lead to faster and more efficient computer logic systems and data storage chips in next-generation devices.

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.

Nature-Inspired Nanotubes That Assemble Themselves, With Precision

Precision meets nano-construction, as seen in this illustration. Berkeley Lab scientists discovered a peptoid composed of two chemically distinct blocks (shown in orange and blue) that assembles itself into nanotubes with uniform diameters. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

Scientists have discovered a family of nature-inspired polymers that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into hollow crystalline nanotubes. What’s more, the nanotubes can be tuned to all have the same diameter of between five and ten nanometers.

‘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.