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Nanoscale Tetrapods Could Provide Early Warning of a Material’s Failure

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Light-emitting, four-armed nanocrystals could someday form the basis of an early warning system in structural materials by revealing microscopic cracks that portend failure.

Discovery Could Dramatically Boost Efficiency of Perovskite Solar Cells

A team of scientists from the Molecular Foundry and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, both at Berkeley Lab, found a surprising characteristic of perovskite solar cells that could boost their efficiency. On the left side (front to back) are: Jeffrey Neaton, Linn Leppert, Sebastian Reyes-Lillo, and Ed Wong. On the right (front to back) are Sibel Leblebici, Francesca Toma, Ian Sharp, Paul Ashby, and Alexander Weber-Bargioni. (Credit: Paul Meuller/Berkeley Lab)

A possible secret to increasing the efficiency of perovskite solar cells has been found hidden in the nanoscale peaks and valleys of the crystalline material.

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

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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.

Five Berkeley Lab Researchers Receive DOE Early Career Research Awards

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Five researchers at Berkeley Lab were named today as recipients of the Early Career Research Program managed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The program is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

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.

New Carbon Capture Membrane Boasts CO2 Highways

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A new, highly permeable carbon capture membrane could lead to more efficient ways of separating carbon dioxide from power plant exhaust, preventing the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

New Fuel Cell Design Powered by Graphene-wrapped Nanocrystals

Photo - A powdery mixture of graphene-wrapped magnesium nanocrystals, produced at Berkeley Lab, is stable in air. The mixture's energy properties show promise for use in hydrogen fuel cells. (Eun Seon Cho/Berkeley Lab)

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a new materials recipe for a battery-like hydrogen fuel cell that shields the nanocrystals from oxygen, moisture, and contaminants while pushing its performance forward in key areas.

Modernizing a Technology From the Vacuum Tube Era To Generate Cheap Power

Hand-built research converters and thermionic demonstration device heated with a flame to produce power. (GE Research, 1960s)

When scientists Daniel Riley and Jared Schwede left Stanford University last year to join Cyclotron Road, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s program for entrepreneurial researchers, their vision was to take thermionics, an all-but-forgotten technology, and develop it into a clean, compact, and efficient source of power.

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.