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Splitting Water: Nanoscale Imaging Yields Key Insights

In the quest to realize artificial photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into fuel – just as plants do – researchers need to not only identify materials to efficiently perform photoelectrochemical water splitting, but also to understand why a certain material may or may not work. Now scientists at Berkeley Lab have pioneered a technique that uses nanoscale imaging to understand how local, nanoscale properties can affect a material’s macroscopic performance.

Vote for Your Favorite Photos: 2018 Physics Photowalk Competition

Pick your favorite photos from the Berkeley Lab Physics Photowalk event in May. We will announce the People’s Choice winners in August.

4 Berkeley Lab-affiliated Scientists Elected as National Academy of Sciences Members

Four scientists affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are among the group of 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); three are also professors at UC Berkeley.

In Pursuit of Perfect Chemistry: A Vision for Unifying Catalysis

Several fields of research have sprung up around the chemical drivers, called catalysts, at work in many industrial processes – including those that boost the production of fuels, fertilizers, and foods – and there is a growing interest in coordinating these research activities to create new, hybrid catalysts with enhanced performance, say researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.

COSMIC Impact: Next-Gen X-Ray Microscopy Platform Now Operational

COSMIC, a next-generation X-ray beamline now operating at Berkeley Lab, brings together a unique set of capabilities to measure the properties of materials at the nanoscale. It allows scientists to probe working batteries and other active chemical reactions, and to reveal new details about magnetism and correlated electronic materials.

Chemical Sleuthing Unravels Possible Path to the Formation of Life’s Building Blocks in Space

Scientists have used experiments at Berkeley Lab to retrace the chemical steps leading to the creation of complex hydrocarbons in space. They showed pathways to forming 2-D carbon-based nanostructures in a mix of heated gases.

Scientists Confirm Century-Old Speculation on the Chemistry of a High-Performance Battery

Scientists have discovered a novel chemical state, first proposed about 90 years ago, that enables a high-performance, low-cost sodium-ion battery. The battery could quickly and efficiently store and distribute energy produced by solar panels and wind turbines across the electrical grid.

Studying Gas Mask Filters So People Can Breathe Easier

Berkeley Lab scientists have been putting the X-ray spotlight on composite materials in respirators used by the military, police, and first responders, work that could eventually lead to better gas masks.

Copper Catalyst Yields High Efficiency CO2-to-Fuels Conversion

Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a new electrocatalyst that can directly convert carbon dioxide into multicarbon fuels and alcohols using record-low inputs of energy. The work is the latest in a round of studies coming out of Berkeley Lab tackling the challenge of a creating a clean chemical manufacturing system that can put carbon dioxide to good use.

Solar-to-Fuel System Recycles CO2 to Make Ethanol and Ethylene

In a big step toward sun-powered fuel production, scientists at Berkeley Lab have used artificial photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons at efficiencies greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant advance in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.