Today at Berkeley Lab

Revealing the Blue Phase and Other Twisted Liquid-Crystal Orders

Liquid crystals lie at the heart of display technology and are the focus of a growing number of new applications. To better understand how molecules in liquid crystals are arranged, researchers performed resonant soft X-ray scattering experiments at the Advanced Light Source. They scanned chiral liquid crystal systems such as the blue and twist-bend nematic phases. More>

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X-Rays Provide Key Insights on Path to Lithium-Rich Battery Electrode

A research team including Berkeley Lab scientists created a comprehensive picture of how the same chemical processes that give lithium-rich battery cathodes their high capacity are also linked to changes in atomic structure that sap their performance. More>

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Coral Exoskeleton Growth Begins Inside Living Tissue

Researchers have discovered some good news regarding corals. The mechanism by which their exoskeletons grow may help them resist the effects of ocean acidification. The discovery, made with X-ray studies at the Advanced Light Source, has ramifications not only for the health of coral reefs, but for applications such as 3-D printing as well. More>

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X-Rays Reveal the Biting Truth About Parrotfish Teeth

A new study has revealed a chain mail-like woven microstructure that gives parrotfish teeth their remarkable ability to chomp on coral all day long – the structure could serve as a blueprint for designing ultra-durable synthetic materials. More>

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Exploring the Roots of Photosynthesis in a Soil-Dwelling Bacterium

Heliobacterium modesticaldum — a sun-loving, soil-dwelling, thermophilic bacterium — is thought to have a photosynthetic reaction center resembling the earliest common ancestor of all photosynthesis complexes. Researchers used X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Light Source to help understand its structure and role in the evolution of photosynthesis. More>

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X-Rays Detail Effects of Temperature, Moisture on Fuel Cell Performance

To find the right balance of moisture and temperature in a specialized type of hydrogen fuel cell, Lab scientists have used X-rays to explore the inner workings of its components at tiny scales. If internal conditions are too dry or too wet, fuel cells won’t function well. More>

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Veterans Employee Resource Group Serves Those Who Served Their Country

Phil Weiss of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Rich Celestre of the Advanced Light Source may work for different divisions, in completely different fields, but years ago, they both dedicated their lives to serving their country — one from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, the other under the sweltering sun of the Persian Gulf. They co-chair the Lab’s Veterans ERG. More>

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A Closer Look at Fracture Evolution in Carbonate-Rich Shale

Accurate assessment of subsurface rock formations for CO2 containment requires a good understanding of fracture evolution. Researchers combined X-ray microtomography at the Advanced Light Source with advanced computer simulations to improve models of fracture development in carbonate-rich shale samples, which are typical caprocks for the containment of the injected CO2. More>

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ALS Helps Resolve the CRISPR Target-Recognition Mechanism

CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins have revolutionized gene editing by vastly simplifying the insertion of short snippets of new DNA into very specific locations of target DNA. Now, using X-ray crystallography at the ALS, researchers have discovered how Cas proteins recognize the target locations. More>

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Recent Lab Workshop Explores Quantum Information Science

On Oct. 25, Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists gathered for a daylong workshop focused on enhancing connections across the Berkeley community related to quantum information science (QIS). Quantum computing could help solve some of science’s hardest problems in chemistry, materials, and other disciplines. More than two dozen talks were presented. More>

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