New Berkeley Lab breakthroughs: engineering chemical-producing microbes; watching enzyme reactions in real time; capturing the first image of ‘electron ice’; revealing how skyrmions really move
A new way to make complex, layered semiconductors is like making rock candy: They assemble themselves from chemicals in water. The method will aid design and large-scale production of these materials.
After 20 years of trying, scientists doped a 1D copper oxide chain and found a surprisingly strong attraction between electrons that may factor into the material’s superconducting powers.
Three physicists talk about how they got started, their work at SLAC and what they would say to others considering a career in STEM.
Anchoring individual iridium atoms on the surface of a catalyst made them a lot better at splitting water – a reaction that’s been a bottleneck in making sustainable energy production more competitive.
Researchers have made the first direct observation of how hydrogen atoms in water molecules tug and push neighboring water molecules when they are excited with laser light.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have demonstrated that they can use machine learning to optimize the performance of particle accelerators by teaching the algorithms the basic physics principles behind accelerator operations – no prior data needed.
The agreement, announced today, will make it easier for researchers to change their names and claim work from all stages of their careers. It specifically addresses the administrative and emotional difficulties some transgender researchers have experienced when requesting such name changes.
Scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have created an ultrathin magnet that operates at room temperature. The ultrathin magnet could lead to new applications in computing and electronics – such as spintronic memory devices – and new tools for the study of quantum physics.
Scientist demonstrated a new way of observing atoms as they move in a tiny quantum electronic switch as it operates. Along the way, they discovered a new material state that could pave the way for faster, more energy-efficient computing.
Highlights of the two-hour visit included behind-the-scenes looks at one of the most powerful X-ray sources on the planet and at the construction of the world’s largest digital camera for astronomy. She also joined presentations of the lab’s research in machine learning, quantum technology and climate science and engaged in discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion at SLAC.
Are new nickelate superconductors close kin to the original high-temperature superconductors, the cuprates? The first study of their magnetic properties says the answer is yes. Scientists from SLAC, Stanford and Diamond Light Source found important similarities but also subtle differences between the two.
SLAC and Stanford scientists took a unique and detailed nanoscale look at how oxygen seeps out of lithium-ion battery electrodes, sapping their energy over time. The results could suggest a fix.
Among the many scientists who push the frontiers of knowledge at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Panofsky fellows stand out.
Transitioning to a hydrogen economy will require massive production of cheap, clean hydrogen gas for fuel and chemical feedstocks. New tools allow scientists to zoom in on a catalytic reaction that’s been a bottleneck in efforts to generate hydrogen from water more efficiently.
When light hits certain molecules, it dislodges electrons and creates areas of positive and negative charge. An X-ray free-electron laser study has directly observed how this charge transfer affects a molecule’s structure for the first time.
For the past few years, researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have been developing “virtual diagnostics” that use machine learning to obtain crucial information about electron beam quality in an efficient, non-invasive way. Now, a new virtual diagnostic approach incorporates additional information about the beam that allows the method to work in situations where conventional diagnostics have failed.
Researchers combined machine learning with knowledge gained from experiments and equations guided by physics to discover and explain a process that shortens the lifetimes of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries.
Physicists long dreamed of producing X-ray laser pulses that probe matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Scientists realized this dream in 2009 with the hard X-ray free-electron laser at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). But each LCLS X-ray pulse has a slightly different intensity and wavelength distribution. A new oscillator design overcomes these problems with an approach inspired by optical lasers.
A promising lead halide perovskite is great at converting sunlight to electricity, but it breaks down at room temperature. Now scientists have discovered how to stabilize it with pressure from a diamond anvil cell. The required pressure is well within the reach of today’s manufacturing processes.
Polarons affect a material’s behavior, and may even be the reason that solar cells made with lead hybrid perovskites achieve extraordinarily high efficiencies in the lab. Now scientists have directly seen and measured their formation for the first time.
The first detailed images of coronavirus spikes in their natural state, while still attached to the virus and without using chemical fixatives that might distort their shape, provide quicker, more realistic snapshots of the infection apparatus.
Researchers from Berkeley Lab and Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed new methods for the large-scale production, purification, and use of the radioisotope cerium-134, which could serve as a PET imaging radiotracer for a highly targeted cancer treatment known as alpha-particle therapy.
Scientists use beams of electrons to study materials’ properties. Shorter beams produce higher-resolution views. To make shorter beams, the electrons at the tail of the beam need to catch up to the head of the beam. This is accomplished by giving the electrons at the tail extra energy, a so-called “energy chirp.” Scientists have now used a terahertz laser pulse to create this energy chirp.
The NIH is establishing a national service center at the SLAC and Stanford where biomedical researchers can learn how to prepare extremely thin specimens that are frozen into a glassy state for cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET), a powerful tool for directly visualizing cellular components in 3D.
This new technology addresses two major goals of battery research: extending the driving range of electric vehicles and reducing the danger that laptops, cell phones and other devices will burst into flames.
At the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, machine learning is opening new avenues to advance the lab’s unique scientific facilities and research.
Xijie Wang, an accelerator physicist at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will receive the 2021 Nuclear and Plasma Science Society’s Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award. Bestowed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the prestigious award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of particle accelerator science and technology.
A team led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has invented a new type of accelerator structure that could make accelerators used for a given application 10 times shorter.
The largest collaborative undertaking yet to explore the relic light emitted by the infant universe has taken a step forward with the U.S. DOE’s selection of Berkeley Lab to lead the partnership of national labs, universities, and other institutions that are joined in the effort to carry out the DOE roles and responsibilities.
Cracks and chemical reactions on a battery particle’s surface can sap its ability to store and release energy. Scientists probed a single charged particle the size of a red blood cell to see how interior and surface damage influence each other.
Crews at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have taken the first 3,200-megapixel digital photos – the largest ever taken in a single shot – with an extraordinary array of imaging sensors that will become the heart and soul of the future camera of Vera C. Rubin Observatory.
Theory suggests that quantum critical points may be analogous to black holes as places where all sorts of strange phenomena can exist in a quantum material. Now scientists say that they have found strong evidence that QCPs and their associated fluctuations exist in a cuprate superconductor.
Q-NEXT will bring together nearly 100 world-class researchers from three national laboratories, 10 universities and 10 leading U.S. technology companies with the single goal of developing the science and technology to control and distribute quantum information. These activities, along with a focus on rapid commercialization of new technologies, will support the emerging “quantum economy” and ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront in this rapidly advancing field.
Their work uses machine learning to transform the way scientists tune particle accelerators for experiments and solve longstanding mysteries in astrophysics and cosmology.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented an emergency ventilator that could help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have used observations of the smallest known galaxies to better understand dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up 85% of the matter in the universe. The smallest galaxies can contain hundreds to thousands of times more dark matter than normal visible matter, making them ideal laboratories for studying this mysterious substance. By performing a rigorous census of small galaxies surrounding our Milky Way, scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have been able to constrain the fundamental particle physics that governs dark matter.
A study identified which pairs of atoms in a catalyst nanoparticle are most active in a reaction that breaks down a harmful exhaust gas in catalytic converters. The results are a step toward engineering cheaper, more efficient catalysts.
Developed in the lab of Stanford University Nobelist W.E. Moerner, the technique combines cryoelectron tomography and low temperature single-molecule microscopy. It has potential to answer fundamental questions about the molecular machinery of viruses, parasites, and processes like photosynthesis.
Until now, electron spins and orbitals were thought to go hand in hand in a class of materials that’s the cornerstone of modern information technology; you couldn’t quickly change one without changing the other. This study raises the possibility of controlling them separately.
The first step in many light-driven chemical reactions, like the ones that power photosynthesis and human vision, is a shift in the arrangement of a molecule’s electrons as they absorb the light’s energy. Now scientists have directly observed this first step.
SLAC researchers have developed a new tool, using machine learning, that may make part of the accelerator tuning process five times faster compared to previous methods.
The lab is responding to the coronavirus crisis by imaging disease-related biomolecules, developing standards for reliable coronavirus testing and enabling other essential research.
Turning a brittle oxide into a flexible membrane and stretching it on a tiny apparatus flipped it from a conducting to an insulating state and changed its magnetic properties. The technique can be used to study and design a broad range of materials for use in things like sensors and detectors.
Researchers observed atomic nuclei moving over distances of less than an angstrom in less than a trillionth of a second — a level of resolution that can only be achieved with an X-ray free-electron laser.
Researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made a promising new advance for the lab’s high-speed “electron camera” that could allow them to “film” tiny, ultrafast motions of protons and electrons in chemical reactions that have never been seen before.
A cheap technique could detect neutrinos in polar ice, eventually allowing researchers to expand the energy reach of IceCube without breaking the bank.
A team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University has gained insight into how electric fields affect the way energy from light drives molecular motion and transformation in a protein commonly used in biological imaging.
Photosensitizers are molecules that absorb sunlight and pass that energy along to generate electricity or drive chemical reactions. A SLAC study looked at how an inexpensive photosensitizer, iron carbene, stores energy from sunlight, and why it’s not better at its job.
Imagine being able to manufacture complex devices whenever you want and wherever you are. It would create unforeseen possibilities even in the most remote locations, such as building spare parts or new components on board a spacecraft. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, could be a way of doing just that.