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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.

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.

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.

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.

Excitonic Dark States Shed Light on TMDC Atomic Layers

Berkeley Lab researchers have found evidence for excitonic dark states in monolayers of tungsten disulfide that could explain the unusual optoelectronic properties of single atomic layers of transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) materials.

Berkeley Lab researchers believe they have uncovered the secret behind the unusual optoelectronic properties of single atomic layers of TMDC materials, the two-dimensional semiconductors that hold great promise for nanoelectronic and photonic applications.

Peptoid Nanosheets at the Oil/Water Interface

Peptoid nanosheets are among the largest and thinnest free-floating organic crystals ever made, with an area-to-thickness equivalent of a plastic sheet covering a football field. Peptoid nanosheets can be engineered to carry out a wide variety of  functions.

Researchers at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry have developed peptoid nanosheets that form at the interface between oil and water, opening the door to increased structural complexity and chemical functionality for a broad range of applications.

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.