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Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment

Peidong feature image

By combining biocompatible light-capturing nanowire arrays with select bacterial populations, a potentially game-changing new artificial photosynthesis system offers a win/win situation for the environment: solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide.

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.”

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.

New Design Tool for Metamaterials

Xiang Zhang  new feature

Berkeley Lab researchers have shown that it is possible to predict the nonlinear optical properties of metamaterials using a recent theory for nonlinear light scattering when light passes through nanostructures.

From the Lab to Your Digital Device, Quantum Dots Have Made Quantum Leaps

The TV on the right using Nanosys’ quantum dot technology shows a 50% wider range of colors than the standard white LED set on the right. (Courtesy Nanosys)

Berkeley Lab’s quantum dots have not only found their way into tablets, computer screens, and TVs, they are also used in biological and medical imaging tools, and now Paul Alivisatos’ lab is exploring them for solar cell as well as brain imaging applications.

A Cage Made of Proteins, Designed With Help From the Advanced Light Source

Protein Cage

With help from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, scientists from UCLA recently designed a cage made of proteins. The nano-sized cage could lead to new biomaterials and new ways to deliver drugs inside cells. It boasts a record breaking 225-angstrom outside diameter, the largest to date for a designed protein assembly. It also has a 130-angstrom-diameter

Lord of the Microrings

Schematic of a PT symmetry microring laser cavity that provides single-mode lasing on demand.

Berkeley Lab researchers report a significant breakthrough in laser technology with the development of a unique microring laser cavity that can produce single-mode lasing on demand. This advance holds ramifications for a wide range of optoelectronic applications including metrology and interferometry, data storage and communications, and high-resolution spectroscopy.

On the Road to Artificial Photosynthesis

This TEM shows gold–copper bimetallic nanoparticles used as catalysts for the reduction of carbon dioxide, a key reaction for artificial photosynthesis.

New experimental results have revealed the critical influence of the electronic and geometric effects in the carbon dioxide reduction reaction.

Competition for Graphene

Illustration of a MoS2/WS2  heterostructure with a MoS2 monolayer lying on top of a WS2 monolayer. Electrons and holes created by light are shown to separate into different layers. (Image courtesy of Feng Wang group)

Berkeley Lab reports the first experimental observation of ultrafast charge transfer in photo-excited MX2 materials, the graphene-like two-dimensional semiconductors. Charge transfer time clocked in at under 50 femtoseconds, comparable to the fastest times recorded for organic photovoltaics.

Berkeley Lab Wins Three 2014 R&D 100 Awards

biosig

Berkeley Lab has won three 2014 R&D 100 awards. This year’s winners include a fast way to analyze the chemical composition of cells, a suite of genetic tools to improve crops, and a method to screen images of 3-D cell cultures for cancer cells. The technologies could lead to advances in biofuels, food crops, drug development, and biomaterials, and a to better understanding of microbial communities, to name a few potential benefits.