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Scientists Take Key Step Toward Custom-made Nanoscale Chemical Factories

The shell of a bacterial microcompartment (or BMC) is mainly composed of hexagonal proteins, with pentagonal proteins capping the vertices, similar to a soccer ball (left). Scientists have engineered one of these hexagonal proteins, normally devoid of any metal center, to bind an iron-sulfur cluster (orange and yellow sticks, upper right). This cluster can serve as an electron relay to transfer electrons across the shell. Introducing this new functionality in the shell of a BMC greatly expands their possibilities as custom-made bio-nanoreactors. (Credit: Clément Aussignargues/MSU, Cheryl Kerfeld and Markus Sutter/Berkeley Lab)

Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. The new design provides an entirely new functionality that greatly expands the potential for these compartments to serve as custom-made chemical factories.

Weaving a New Story for COFS and MOFs

Omar Weaving art illustation feature

An international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab scientists
has woven the first 3D covalent organic frameworks (COFs) from helical organic threads. The woven COFs display significant advantages in structural flexibility, resiliency and reversibility over previous COFs.

How to Train Your Bacterium

Peidong solar feature

Berkeley Lab researchers are using the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica to perform photosynthesis and also to synthesize semiconductor nanoparticles in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight into valuable chemical products.

Paul Alivisatos Wins the National Medal of Science

Paul Alivisatos

Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos has been named a winner of the 2015 National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research.

2D Islands in Graphene Hold Promise for Future Device Fabrication

This AFM image shows 2D F4TCNQ islands on graphene/BN that could be used to modify the graphene for electronic devices.

Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a new mechanism for assembling two-dimensional molecular “islands” that could be used to modify graphene at the nanometer scale for use in electronic devices.

The Artificial Materials That Came in From the Cold

Rob Ritchie freeze feature

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a freeze-casting technique that enables them to design and create strong, tough and lightweight materials comparable to bones, teeth, shells and wood.

Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy:

3HM nanocarriers for brain cancer therapy

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new family of nanocarriers, called “3HM,” that meets all the size and stability requirements for effectively delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain for the treatment of a deadly form of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme.

Exciting Breakthrough in 2D Lasers

In the whispering gallery mode of a 2D excitonic laser made from a monolayer of tungsten disulfide and a microdisk resonator, the localization of the electric field at the edges of the resonator helps promote a high Q factor with low power consumption.

An important step towards next-generation ultra-compact photonic and optoelectronic devices has been taken with the realization of a two-dimensional excitonic laser. Berkeley Lab researchers have embedded a monolayer of tungsten disulfide into a microdisk resonator to achieve bright excitonic lasing at visible light wavelengths.

At the American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston: Berkeley Lab’s Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein Discuss Nanoparticles and Solar Energy Applications

LSC image

At the ACS Meeting in Boston, Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos discussed quantum dots and next generation luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs).

Berkeley Lab Spinoff Company Makes Fast, Accurate Nanoscale Sensor

Robert Chebi (right) and Frank Chen

Imagine being able to test your food in your very own kitchen to quickly determine if it carried any deadly microbes. Research conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and now being commercialized by Optokey may make that possible.