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On the Road to Spin-orbitronics

These schematics of magnetic domain walls in perpendicularly magnetized thin films show (a) left-handed and (b) right-handed Neel-type walls; and (c) left-handed and (d) right-handed Bloch-type walls. The directions of the arrows correspond to the magnetization direction.

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a new way of manipulating the magnetic domain walls in ultrathin magnets that could one day revolutionize the electronics industry through a technology called “spin-orbitronics.”

A Robot Chemist, at Your Service

Symphony X is an automated molecular synthesizer used at Berkeley Lab. Credit: Ron Zuckermann

Earlier this year, Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry got a new suite of robotic synthesis tools called the Overture and the Symphony X (pictured above), automated chemical synthesizers that assemble custom molecular structures called peptoids. Peptoid nanostructures, pioneered at Berkeley Lab, have molecular shapes similar to biological molecules like proteins, but are made with synthetic building

Bacterial Armor Holds Clues for Self-Assembling Nanostructures

S-layer bacteria

Berkeley Lab researchers at the Molecular Foundry have uncovered key details in the process by which bacterial proteins self-assemble into a protective coating, like chainmail armor. This process can be a model for the self-assembly of 2D and 3D nanostructures.

Precision Growth of Light-emitting Nanowires


A novel approach to growing nanowires promises a new means of control over their light-emitting and electronic properties. Berkeley Lab researchers demonstrated a new growth technique that uses specially engineered catalysts. These catalysts have given scientists more options than ever in turning the color of light-emitting nanowires.

Making a Good Thing Better: Berkeley Lab Researchers Open a Possible Avenue to Better Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries

X-ray absorption spectra, interpreted using first-principles electronic structure calculations, provide insight into the solvation of the lithium ion in propylene carbonate. (Image courtesy of Rich Saykally, Berkeley)

Berkeley Lab researchers carried out the first X-ray absorption spectroscopy study of a model electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries and may have found a pathway forward to improving LIBs for electric vehicles and large-scale electrical energy storage.

Outsmarting Thermodynamics in Self-assembly of Nanostructures

Simulation of feedback driven self-assembly in mass assembly-line. The tilted network indicates aqueous flow in space (blue reservoir). The plasmon gauged potential (red) phothermally dissociates unwanted assemblies and re-assembles into the desired dimers.

Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved symmetry-breaking in a bulk metamaterial solution for the first time, a critical step game toward achieving new and exciting properties in metamaterials.

Nanotubes that Insert Themselves into Cell Membranes

An artist’s interpretation of a nanotube embedded within a cell membrane, allowing a DNA molecule to pass through. Credit: Xavier Studios

Berkeley Lab researchers have helped show that short carbon nanotubes can make excellent artificial pores within cell membranes. Moreover, these nanotubes, which are far more rugged than their biological counterparts, can self-insert into a cell membrane or other lipid bilayers.

Berkeley Lab Study Reveals Molecular Structure of Water at Gold Electrodes

Rachel B thumb

Berkeley Lab researchers have recorded the first observations of the molecular structure of liquid water at a gold electrode under different battery charging conditions.

Dispelling a Misconception About Mg-Ion Batteries

David Prendergast and Liwen Wan at the Molecular Foundry used supercomputer simulations to dispel a popular misconception about magnesium-ion batteries that should help advance the technology in the future. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

Berkeley Lab researchers, working under the JCESR Energy Hub, used supercomputer simulations to dispel a popular misconception about magnesium-ion batteries that should help advance the development of multivalent ion battery technology.

Berkeley Lab Helps Capture Birth of Mineral in Real Time


Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California Berkeley, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have used a high-powered electron microscope to capture the birth of calcium carbonate crystals. It is a first step, the researchers say, to better understanding how it might be possible to pull excess carbon dioxide from the air and store it in rock where it wouldn’t contribute to global warming.