Today at Berkeley Lab

A Cleansing Rain Falls; a Soil-Filled Mist Arises

Rain’s reputation for cleansing the air may come with a caveat after new findings, including STXM and NEXAFS data, show that raindrops play a role in generating airborne organic particles. The findings could influence how scientists model our planet’s climate and future. More>

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New Catalyst Boosts Selective Formation of Olefins from Syngas

Experiments at the ALS have helped to explain how a new catalyst significantly boosts the selective formation of light olefin molecules —important building blocks in the petrochemical industry — from syngas. The new process could allow for the use of alternative syngas feedstocks that save water and energy. More>

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New Technique Shows Nanoscale Workings of Rechargeable Batteries

There’s a new tool in the push to engineer rechargeable batteries that last longer and charge more quickly. An X-ray microscopy technique recently developed at Advanced Light Source has given scientists the ability to image nanoscale changes inside lithium-ion battery particles as they charge and discharge. More>

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OCFO Employee is Mother of Olympian Competing in Rio

Linda Griffin, an OCFO employee matrixed to the ALS Business Management team, will be cheering on her daughter Kelly as she competes for the U.S. Women’s Rugby Sevens team. Sevens is a faster, shorter form of rugby. This is the first time any form of rugby has been included in the Olympic Games since 1924. The competition will be held Aug. 6-8. Watch a video featuring Kelly.

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Getting to the Root of Grapevine Hydraulics

In grapevines, “root pressure” was assumed to play a role in recovering from embolisms (blockages) in a plant’s water-transport systems during drought conditions. To clarify this, researchers used ALS Beamline 8.3.2 to obtain 3D microtomographic images of grapevine stem segments detached from roots and leaves. More>

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Register Now for the 2016 ALS User Meeting, Oct. 3-5

The ALS Users Executive Committee (UEC) and meeting organizers have assembled a full program featuring a welcome from Director Mike Witherell, keynote talks on opportunities presented by the ALS upgrade (ALS-U), as well as 12 focused workshops, a student poster “slam,” and the annual awards banquet. More>

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New Insights into Oxygen’s Role in Lithium Battery Capacity

Researchers working at the ALS have recently made new discoveries in understanding the nature of charge storage in lithium-ion batteries, opening up possibilities for new battery designs with significantly improved capacity. The researchers used soft X-ray techniques to quantifiably explain oxygen’s role in Li-ion charge capacity. More>

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Researchers Shine Light on How Antidepressants Block Serotonin Transport

At the ALS, researchers were able to obtain X-ray crystallographic structures of the difficult-to-crystallize human serotonin transporter bound to two commonly prescribed antidepressant drug molecules. The resulting details about the transporter structure and mechanism will help in the design of new, more effective therapeutics for treating depression and anxiety. More>

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ALS Helps Develop A Novel Quasi-1D Topological Insulator

The tantalizing prospect of energy saving, ultralow-power electronics has led to a vigorous search for optimal topological insulator materials. Now, an international team of scientists has discovered the first of a new class of topological insulators with unique properties: quasi-1D bismuth iodide. More>

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New Fuel Cell Design Powered by Graphene-Wrapped Nanoparticles

Researchers working at the ALS and the Molecular Foundry developed a promising new materials recipe based on magnesium nanocrystals and graphene for a battery-like hydrogen fuel cell with improved performance in key areas. The technology could have wide-ranging applications for batteries, catalysis, and energetic materials. More>

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