Today at Berkeley Lab

Defects Through the Looking Glass

Materials scientist Michael Crommie used scanning tunneling to study individual defects in hexagonal boron nitride, a widely used bulk electronic insulating material. Nanoscale defects are very important in shaping the properties of a material, and until now, observing defects in bulk insulators has remained elusive. More>

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New Solar Cell Absorbs Light at Higher Level Than Conventional Cells

Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein created solar cells that can collect higher energy photons at 30 times the concentration of conventional solar cells, the highest luminescent concentration factor ever recorded. Matching designer quantum dots to special photonic mirrors resulted in an optical efficiency of 82-percent for blue photons. More>

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Soaking Up Carbon Dioxide and Turning it into Valuable Products

Chris Chang (Chemical Sciences) and Omar Yaghi (Materials Sciences) led a study in which covalent organic frameworks were embedded with cobalt porphyrins to produce a molecular system that that not only absorbs carbon dioxide, but also selectively reduces it to carbon monoxide, a primary building block for a wide range of chemical products. More>

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ARPA-E Grants for Solar Technologies Announced at Clean Energy Summit

Lab Director Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein (Materials Sciences) were part of a multi-institutional team that will receive a $3 million grant for the development of a micro-optical tandem luminescent solar concentrator. More>

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Another Milestone in Hybrid Artificial Photosynthesis

A team led by Peidong Yang, Michelle Chang and Chris Chang has combined semiconducting nanowires with select microbes to create an artificial photosynthesis system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane, the primary constituent of natural gas. More>

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At the ACS in Boston: Paul Alivisatos on Solar Energy and Nanoparticles

At the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston, Berkeley Lab director Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein, a member of Alivisatos’s research group, discussed the application of colloidal quantum dots to next generation luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). More>

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At the ACS in Boston: Omar Yaghi on Carbon Capture

At the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston, Omar Yaghi with the Materials Sciences Division and co-director of Kavli-ENSI described the design of IRMOF-74-III compounds that can selectively capture carbon dioxide in the presence of water. Yaghi is the inventor of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs). More>

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Surprising Discoveries about 2D Molybdenum Disulfide

Materials scientist Jim Schuck led a team that used the Molecular Foundry’s Campanile nano-optical probe for discoveries about molybdenum disulfide, a member of the “transition metal dichalcogenides semiconductor family whose optoelectronic properties hold promise for future nanoelectronic and photonic devices. More>

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World’s Quietest Gas Lets Physicists Hear Faint Quantum Effects

Berkeley physicists — including materials scientist Dan Stamper-Kurn — have cooled a gas to the quietest state ever achieved, hoping to detect faint quantum effects lost in the din of colder but noisier fluids. The technology will allow researchers to better understand difficult-to-study materials. More>

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Shortest Wavelength Plasmons Ever in Single Walled Nanotubes

Feng Wang, of the Materials Sciences Division and Kavli ENSI, lead a team of researchers at the Advanced Light Source that observed “Luttinger-liquid” plasmons in metallic single-walled nanotubes. This holds great promise for novel plasmonic and nanophotonic devices over a broad frequency range, including telecom wavelengths. More>

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