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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.

Shaping the Future of Nanocrystals


Berkeley Lab researchers have recorded the first direct observations of how facets form and develop on platinum nanocubes in solution, pointing the way towards more sophisticated and effective nanocrystal design and revealing that a nearly 150 year-old scientific law describing crystal growth breaks down at the nanoscale.

Bottling Up Sound Waves

Peng Zang wave thumb

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories. These self-bending bottle beams hold promise for ultrasonic imaging and therapy, and for acoustic cloaking, levitation and particle manipulation.

Dynamic Spectroscopy Duo

2D-EV spectral data tells researchers how photoexcitation of a molecular system affects the coupling of electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom that is essential to understanding how all molecules, molecular systems and nanomaterials function.

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new technique called two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy that can be used to study the interplay between electrons and atomic nuclei during a photochemical reaction. Photochemical reactions are critical to a wide range of natural and technological phenomena, including photosynthesis, vision, nanomaterials and solar energy.