The flip of a light switch — a nano-scale light switch — may some day dramatically boost the speed of data transmission, from streaming movies to accelerating the most data-intense computation. Today, information flow in a computer is based on electrical pulses. But if an electrical signal could instead control a light switch, the “ones and zeros” that give data meaning could race through computer circuits at ten times the current speed. A ten-fold increase in speed would mean a similar spike in the volume of information that can be processed. Research on this nano-scale light switch is being conducted by Berkeley Lab materials scientist Feng Wang, as part of his UC Berkeley Bakar Fellowship. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Materials Sciences Division’
Peidong Yang, a chemist and nanomaterials authority who holds joint appointments with the Materials Sciences Division, UC Berkeley and the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, led the discovery of a highly promising new class of nanocatalysts for fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers. Consisting of hollow platinum/nickel dodecahedron nanoframes, these nanocatalysts already exceed the activity target DOE set for 2017 by an order of magnitude. Also contributing to this research, done in collaboration with Argonne National Lab, were Vojislav Stamenkovic, Chen Chen, Yijin Kang, Ziyang Huo, Zhongwei Zhu, Wenyu Huang, Huolin Xin, Joshua Snyder, Dongguo Li, Jeffrey Herron, Manos Mavrikakis, Miaofang Chi, Karren More, Yadong Li, Nenad Markovic and Gabor Somorjai. More>
Jian Liu of the Materials Sciences Division, and Yi-De Chuang and Jinghua Guo of the Advanced Light Source, were part of a team that discovered a key to controlling the electronic and magnetic properties of Mott materials — metal oxides that can be induced to transition between electrically conductive and insulating phases. Mott materials hold great promise for future transistors and memories that feature higher energy efficiencies and faster switching speeds than today’s devices, a prospect that has been dubbed “Mottronics.” Other members of the discovery team were Jak Chakhalian, a University of Arkansas physicist who led this research, plus Mehdi Kargarian, Mikhail Kareev, Ben Gray, Phil Ryan, Alejandro Cruz, Nadeem Tahir, James Rondinelli, John Freeland and Gregory Fiete. More>
Elad Gross (right), of the Chemical Sciences Division, working at the Advanced Light Source with Dean Toste (left) and Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute member Gabor Somorjai, demonstrated the first technique that allows the catalytic reactivity inside a microreactor to be mapped in high resolution from start-to-finish. Through a combination of in situ infrared micro-spectroscopy and in situ x-ray absorption microspectroscopy, the technique provides a better understanding of the chemistry behind the catalytic reactions and may reveal opportunities for optimizing catalytic performances. This holds promise for more effective and efficient synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs and other flow reactor products. Also working on this study were Xing-Zhong Shu, Selim Alayoglu, Hans Bechtel and Michael Martin. More>
“Ballistic transport” sounds like a blast into the future. And it is. By fabricating strips of carbon only one-atom thick and less than 15 atoms wide, researchers aim to create molecular-scale nanoribbons capable of carrying information thousands of times faster than is possible today. Materials scientist Felix Fischer — a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley — is using his support from UC Berkeley’s Bakar Fellows Program to develop a totally new and extraordinarily precise way to create nanoribbons. More>
In an effort to go beyond the CVs of some of the Materials Sciences Division’s most interesting personalities, Alice Muller will host live conversations with MSD researchers. She will talk with guests about their personal history, research, inspiration, mentors, motivations, and more. Her first guests will be Delia Milliron (left) and Anna Llordes, who have helped develop smart window technology. The event takes place Friday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m. in Building 67-3111.
A material that prevents marine life from sticking to the bottom of ships has been identified a surprising replacement for the only inherently flammable component of today’s lithium-ion batteries: the electrolyte. The work not only paves the way for developing a new generation lithium-ion battery that doesn’t spontaneously combust at high temperatures, but also has the potential to renew consumer confidence in a technology that has attracted significant concern. A Berkeley Lab team led by materials scientist Nitash Balsara is working with researchers at the University of North Carolina on this research. More>
Eli Yablonovitch of the Materials Sciences Division, and a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley, has received the 2014 Rank Prize in Optoelectronics. The award recognizes his “idea that strained semiconductor lasers would have superior performance owing to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass.” Almost all semiconductor lasers use this concept, including for DVD players, for the ubiquitous red laser pointers, and for the optical communication that occurs in almost all internet mouse clicks. Rank Prizes are awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to certain scientific fields, including optoelectronics, where an initial idea has been carried through to practical applications that have, or will, demonstrably benefit mankind.
Ramamoorthy Ramesh with the Materials Sciences Division and former Berkeley Lab ALD Arun Majumdar (now VP for Energy at Google) were co-leaders of an experiment that provided the first “unambiguous demonstration” of the coherent transport of the atomic-scale sound waves known as “phonons.” Working with superlattices of perovskite oxides, Ramesh and Majumdar with their collaborators showed that phonons can crossover from particle-like behavior to wave-like behavior just like photons. With phonon transport being a key to thermal conductivity, this demonstration opens the door to improved thermoelectric devices. It also raises the possibility of true phonon lasers. More>
Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Mark Rubio (R-Florida) recently introduced bipartisan legislation — the America INNOVATES Act — that promotes innovation by giving the National Labs more flexibility to partner with the private sector and streamlines DOE management structures via targeted reforms. During Coon’s floor speech, he highlighted the successful partnership between the Advanced Light Source, Materials Sciences Division’s Center for X-Ray Optics, and SEMATECH, a consortium of semiconductor companies and chipmakers. He learned of the partnership during a visit to the Lab in early December. Coons mentions the partnership at about 8:34 in the video.