Xiang Zhang will step down as director of the Materials Sciences Division (MSD) on July 1 after serving two years in the position. He will continue his teaching and research efforts as a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab and a faculty member at UC Berkeley. Peter Fischer, the current deputy director of MSD, will serve as acting director of MSD effective July 1.
About two-thirds of all energy produced is lost as heat. If thermoelectrics could recover five-percent of that, it could save millions of dollars. Alphabet Energy is producing the most efficient thermoelectric devices ever made for waste-heat recovery, using abundant, cheap and scalable materials. The company was co-founded in 2009 by Lab materials scientist Peidong Yang. More>
Materials scientist Alessandra Lanzara is a Moore Foundation grantee working on a cutting-edge technique called angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, or ARPES. This experimental tool gives scientists a glimpse into the secret lives of electrons and atoms, and could one day allow us to alter their properties using just a flash of light. More>
Former Lab Director and materials scientist Paul Alivisatos attended a special White House ceremony on May 19 to receive the National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in science. More>
Former Lab Director Paul Alivisatos will be among the 17 National Medal recipients who will receive their award from President Obama on May 19 at 11:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. EST). The event will be live streamed here.
Zhang was recognized for his pioneering work on optical metamaterials and nanophotonics. His work has a major impact in optical physics and technology such as optical imaging, lithography, and photovoltaics. More>
A new class of semiconductor was discovered that is only three atoms thick and which extends in a two-dimensional plane, similar to graphene. These 2-D semiconductors, have exceptional optical characteristics, and could lead to improved semiconductors or new functionalities. More>
Scientists have devised a way to build a “quantum metamaterial” – an engineered material with exotic properties not found in nature – using ultracold atoms trapped in an artificial crystal composed of light. The theoretical work represents a step toward manipulating atoms to transmit information, perform complex simulations or function as powerful sensors. More>
To the surprise of chemists, a new technique for taking snapshots of molecules with atomic precision is turning up chemicals they shouldn’t be able to see. Researchers took snapshots of two molecules reacting on the surface of a catalyst, and found intermediate structures lasting for the 20 minutes or so it takes to snap a photo. More>
Instead of continuing to develop new materials the old-fashioned way — stumbling across them by luck, then painstakingly measuring their properties in the laboratory — researchers, including the Lab’s Gerbrand Ceder and Kristin Persson, are using computer modelling and machine-learning techniques to generate libraries of candidate materials by the tens of thousands. More>