Today at Berkeley Lab

Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth

A detailed study of blue salt crystals found in two meteorites that crashed to Earth — which included X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab — found that they contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds including hydrocarbons and amino acids. More>

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Check Out ALS ‘Science as Art’ Instagram Feature

The Lab’s Instagram account is currently featuring images submitted by Advanced Light Source users and staff as part of the facility’s “Science as Art” competition. The account will feature one image a day now through Jan. 23.

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A New Way to Tune Emergent Magnetism

By stacking thin films in different ways, scientists can create novel materials that exhibit interesting and potentially useful emergent phenomena. At several U.S. light sources, including the Advanced Light Source, researchers studied such a material using a powerful combination of X-ray techniques, revealing the levers and knobs for tuning emergent magnetism. More>

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ALS’s Martin, Lucero Light the Way in Alameda During the Holidays

Michael Martin and Angelic Lucero live on a street in Alameda that becomes quite the destination during the holidays, with homes going full tilt with lighting and decorations. Their house features LEDs and a mechanical elf in Santa’s workshop. And on Dec. 22, a man in a red suit and white beard (who looks a lot like Martin!) will be greeting kids who come to visit (6:30 to 8 p.m.). More>

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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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