Today at Berkeley Lab

In Situ X-Ray Scattering Helps Optimize Printed Solar Cells

Plastic solar cells printed on flexible sheets with an ink-like solution show a lot of potential as a source of lightweight, inexpensive renewable energy. However, much of the power-conversion efficiency gets lost in the translation. Research at the Advanced Light Source is helping to gain an understanding of why that happens. More>

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New ALS Technique Guides IBM in Next-Gen Semiconductor Development

A new measurement technique developed at the ALS is helping guide the semiconductor industry in next-generation nanopatterning techniques. Directed self-assembly of block copolymers is an extremely promising strategy for high-volume, cost-effective semiconductor manufacturing at the nanoscale. More>

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Brain Receptor Structures Key to Future Therapeutics

With an aging population in America, it is more important than ever to treat or prevent diseases affecting the brain and its ability to make new connections and recall memories. Important players in the brain’s normal function are the glutamate receptors. Multiple structures of the AMPA and NMDA receptors were solved at the Advanced Light Source. More>

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Feb. 4 ALS Science Café on Thermionics

The noon talk features Dan Riley and Jared Schwede of Berkeley Lab’s Cyclotron Road energy incubator program talking about their project “Direct Heat-to-Electricity Conversion Using Thermionics.” The event takes place in Building 15-253 and features light refreshments. More>

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ALS Upgrade LDRD Workshop on Jan 27

On Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in 15-253, a workshop will be held on the Advanced Light Source Upgrade Lab-wide LDRD initiative. Attendees from across the lab are welcome to attend the workshop to learn about the science that will be made possible by a brighter, more coherent soft x-ray light source. More>

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An Evolutionary Arms Race for Sulfur

Recent work at the ALS shows that the viruses infecting sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in the deep sea carry bacterial genes for the oxidation of elemental sulfur. Although the viruses themselves cannot use the sulfur, they likely supplement bacterial sulfur oxidation and then exploit the generated energy for viral replication. More>

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From CO2 to Methanol via Novel Nanocatalysts

Researchers have found novel nanocatalysts that lower the barrier to converting carbon dioxide–an abundant greenhouse gas–into methanol–a key commodity used to produce numerous industrial chemicals and fuels. In one case, it worked almost 90 times faster than catalysts commonly used for this reaction today. More>

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Switching to Spintronics

ALD for Energy Technologies Ramamoorthy Ramesh led a study in which the application of an electric field at room temperature reversed the magnetization direction in a multiferroic spintronic device. This points a new way towards spintronics and smaller, faster and cheaper methods of storing and processing data. More>

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Back to Future with Roman Architectural Concrete

UC Berkeley’s Marie Jackson led a key discovery at the Advanced Light Source about Roman architectural concrete that has stood the test of time for nearly two thousand years. Volcanic ash-lime mortar resistant to microcracking is the key to the longevity of the concrete, which was made from coarse chunks of volcanic tuff and brick. More>

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A Better Look at the Chemistry of Interfaces

Materials scientist Chuck Fadley and chemical scientist Hendrik Bluhm developed a new X-ray spectroscopy technique called SWAPPS. This new technique provides sub-nanometer resolution of every chemical element found at heterogeneous interfaces, such as those in batteries, fuel cells and other devices. More>

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