Today at Berkeley Lab

Graphene is Strong, But Is It Tough?

Graphene, a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, has been touted as the strongest material known to exist, 200 times stronger than steel. But can it live up to its promise? Materials scientists Rob Ritchie and Ashivni Shekhawat have found that its toughness — or resistance to fracture — is quite low. More>

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Polar Vortices Observed in Ferroelectric

Berkeley Lab’s Ramamoorthy Ramesh and Lane Martin led a study in which polar vortices were observed in a ferroelectric material. These polar vertices appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions and hold intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices. The discovery could also rewrite our basic understanding of ferroelectrics. More>

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What New Wearable Sensors Can Reveal About Perspiration

When Berkeley engineers say they are going to make you sweat, it is all in the name of science. Specifically, it is for a flexible sensor system that can measure metabolites and electrolytes in sweat, calibrate the data based upon skin temperature and sync the results in real time to a smartphone. The Lab’s Ali Javey is principal investigator for this research. More>

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MSD’s Michael Connolly ‘Safes the Day’ Every Day

Hero Card raffle winner Michael Connolly, Principal Scientific Engineering Associate in the Materials Sciences Division, is a superhero when it comes to sharing safety culture with the diverse users conducting work at The Molecular Foundry. This is the latest in an ongoing Safety Culture series. More>

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Simplifying Solar Cells with a New Mix of Materials

An international team led by Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. More>

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Weaving a New Story for COFS and MOFs

Omar Yaghi led research that created the first three-dimensional covalent organic frameworks (COFs) from helical organic threads. The COFs have significant advantages in structural flexibility, resiliency, and reversibility over previous COFs prized for their potential to capture and store carbon dioxide and then convert it into valuable chemical products. More>

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Materials Scientist Omar Yaghi Wins Mustafa Scientific Prize

The prize was awarded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states. Yaghi was recognized for his extensive research in the field of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFs have a wide range of applications in clean energy technologies, carbon dioxide capture and hydrogen and methane storage. Yaghi received $500,000. More>

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Will Promise of Quantum Dots’ Supreme Digital Resolution Matter?

Studies find smartphone users are willing to trade superior-quality images for simpler interfaces. But quantum dots are likely to succeed where other quality-increasing technology has failed, because they are inexpensive and simple. Nanosys, a start-up co-founded by Paul Alivisatos, creates QD film that can replace parts in existing devices with little fuss. More>

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A Nanoscale Look at Why a New Alloy is Amazingly Tough

New research has identified several mechanisms that make a new material one of the toughest metallic alloys ever. A Berkeley Lab-led team studied the alloy, called CrMnFeCoNi, with transmission electron microscopy as it was subjected to strain. The images revealed several nanoscale mechanisms that activate in the alloy, one after another, which together resist the spread of damage. More>

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Lab Scientists Teach Bacterium a New Trick for Artificial Photosynthesis

Peidong Yang of the Materials Sciences Division led a study in which the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica was used to perform photosynthesis despite being non-photosynthetic, and also to synthesize semiconductor nanoparticles in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight into valuable chemical products. More>

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