Today at Berkeley Lab

Opening a New Route to Photonics

MSD Director Xiang Zhang has developed a new technique for effectively controlling pulses of light in closely packed nanoscale waveguides, an essential requirement for ultrahigh density, ultracompact integrated photonic circuitry. Photonics is highly promising for high-performance optical communications and chip-scale quantum computing. More>

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Marvin Cohen Uses Quantum Mechanics, Computers to Conjure Future

Cohen’s computer programs deploy the exquisite equations of quantum theory to explain the form and function of known materials, and are used to forecast the performance of newly envisioned ones. “Quantum mechanics,” he says, “fed my family.” More>

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Moving Towards a Body-on-a-Chip

Scientists around the world — including materials scientist Anurag Mathur — are creating new drug-testing devices that put cells from human organs onto chips. The medical breakthroughs could greatly speed drug testing, reduce the use of laboratory animals, and allow for experiments that would be too risky for human volunteers. More>

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The Perils of Platinum

Because of its outstanding performance as a catalyst, platinum plays a major role in fuel cells. Inside a fuel cell, tiny platinum particles break apart hydrogen fuel to create electricity. Peidong Yang helped create hollow platinum and nickel nanoparticles, which split oxygen molecules into charged oxygen ions, a reaction that’s needed in fuel cells. More>

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A Bright Light for Ultrafast Snapshots of Materials

Robert Kaindl and He Wang have developed a bright, high-repetition-rate laser source that can generate XUV light for ultrafast materials dynamics and electronic structure studies, providing new insights into the physics of correlated materials by tracking their rapid, fundamental interactions across large swaths of energy and momentum space. More>

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Lab Scientists Receive Lawrence Awards

David Schlegel, Peidong Yang, Carolyn Bertozzi and Jizhong Zhou, who are all affiliated with Berkeley Lab, were among nine scientists named by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as recipients of the 2015 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, DOE’s highest scientific honor. Awardees will receive a medal and a $20,000 honorarium. More>

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Defects Can ‘Hulk-Up’ Materials

A study led by materials scientist Junqiao Wu shows that just as exposure to gamma radiation transforms Bruce Banner into the Hulk, exposure to alpha-particle radiation can transform thermoelectric materials into far more powerful versions of themselves. More>

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CLAIRE Brings Electron Microscopy to Soft Materials

Naomi Ginsberg of Materials Sciences, Physical Biosciences, aand Kavli-ENSI led the development of a technique called “CLAIRE,” that extends the incredible resolution of electron microscopy to the non-invasive nanoscale imaging of soft matter. More>

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Channeling Valleytronics in Graphene

Materials scientist Feng Wang led a study at the ALS in which topologically protected 1D electron conducting channels at the domain walls of bilayer graphene were discovered. This could aid valleytronics, a new approach to quantum computing based on the coding of data in the motion of electrons as they speed through a conductor. More>

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Cal-BRAIN Selects 16 Projects for Seed Grants

The Cal-BRAIN program, which aims to revolutionize our understanding of the brain, has awarded $120,000 to 16 projects. Cal-BRAIN is led jointly by UC San Diego and Berkeley Lab. Among the recipients is Bruce Cohen of the Materials Sciences Division, whose project will look at nano-optogenetic control of neuronal firing with targeted nanocrystals. More>

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