Today at Berkeley Lab

New Technique Boosts Stability, Efficiency of Solar Cells

Scientists have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis. More>

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We Gather Here Today to Join Lasers and Anti-Lasers

Berkeley Lab scientists have, for the first time, achieved both lasing and anti-lasing in a single device. Their findings lay the groundwork for developing a new type of integrated device with the flexibility to operate as a laser, an amplifier, a modulator, and a detector. More>

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Marvin Cohen to Receive Franklin Medal in Physics

The Franklin Institute Awards — founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1824 — recognize science and technology accomplishments. Cohen was honored “for atomic-scale calculations of the properties of materials so detailed that new materials and their mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties can be predicted in agreement with experiments.” More>

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Lab Scientists Featured at Recent ‘Uncharted’ Conference

Postdocs Sinead Griffin (Materials Sciences) and Ruimin Qiao (Advanced Light Source) represented the Lab at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Griffen discussed exploring science from high-energy physics to condensed matter, while Qiao talked about researching materials for energy applications. The event features on-stage conversations, music, dance, and workshops.

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Lab’s Yang and Cave Participate in White House Clean Energy Conference

President Obama hosted the White House Frontiers Conference on Oct. 13, which brought together top innovators to discuss advances in science and technology. Lab researchers Etosha Cave and Peidong Yang participated in the panel on Global Frontiers to discuss climate change and the clean energy revolution.

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Smallest. Transistor. Ever.

A team led by Ali Javey of the Materials Sciences Division has created a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate. For comparison, a strand of human hair is about 50,000 nanometers thick. The key was to use carbon nanotubes and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), an engine lubricant commonly sold in auto parts shops. More>

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Twisting 3-D Raceway for Electrons in Nanoscale Crystal Slices Found

Researchers have observed, for the first time, an exotic 3-D racetrack for electrons in ultrathin slices of a tiny crystal they made at Berkeley Lab. The team witnessed a unique behavior in which electrons rotate around one surface, then through the bulk of the material to its opposite surface and back. More>

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A Conscious Coupling of Magnetic and Electric Materials

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Cornell University have successfully paired ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic materials so that their alignment can be controlled with a small electric field at near room temperatures. The achievement could open doors to ultra low-power microprocessors, storage devices and next-generation electronics. More>

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Nanoscale Tetrapods Could Provide Early Warning of a Material’s Failure

Light-emitting, four-armed nanocrystals could someday form the basis of an early warning system in structural materials by revealing microscopic cracks that portend failure. The approach could be a big step towards self-healing materials, and the tetrapods could potentially be used to detect the presence of cancer cells in tissue samples. More>

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Maker Movement Turns Scientists into Tinkerers

“Makers” is a word that evokes tinkerers and hobbyists, yet many scientists have begun to embrace the build-it-yourself ethos to advance their research in a variety of fields, including energy, transportation, neuroscience and consumer electronics. Scientists at national labs — such as Berkeley Lab’s Ron Zuckermann (left) — are also getting creative with maker technologies. More>

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