Today at Berkeley Lab

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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2D Islands in Graphene Hold Promise for Future Device Fabrication

Mike Crommie of the Materials Sciences Division led the discovery of a new mechanism for assembling two-dimensional molecular “islands” that could be used to modify graphene at the nanometer scale for use in electronic devices. These 2D islands are comprised of F4TCNQ molecules that trap electrical charge in potentially exploitable ways. More>

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Diamonds May Be the Key to Future NMR/MRI Technologies

Materials scientist Alex Pines led a study showing that diamonds may be key to the future of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies. Using microwaves, Pines and his group recorded the first bulk room temperature NMR hyperpolarization of carbon-13 nuclei in diamond in situ at arbitrary magnetic fields and crystal orientations. More>

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Some Like It Hot: Simulating Single Particle Excitations

Understanding and manipulating plasmons is important for their potential use in photovoltaics, solar cell water splitting, and sunlight-induced fuel production from CO2. Now, for the first time, the interplay between the plasmon mode and the single particle excitation within a small metal cluster has been simulated directly. More>

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The Artificial Materials That Came in From the Cold

Materials scientists Robert Ritchie and Tony Tomsia led the development of a bidirectional freeze-casting technique that provides an effective means of designing and manufacturing strong, tough and lightweight artificial materials comparable to bones, teeth, shells and wood. More>

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How Berkeley Lab Battery Spinoff Seeo Got Acquired

In 2003 Lab researchers Nitash Balsara and Hany Eitouni were developing an electroresponsive polymer that turned out to be not such a good artificial muscle, their original goal, but an excellent basis for a battery electrolyte—so good, in fact, that it was commercialized and recently acquired by Bosch. More>

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Coming to a Monitor Near You: A Defect-Free, Molecule-Thick Film

Monolayer semiconductors hold much promise for the development of nanoscale transistors, ultra-high efficiency solar cells, and transparent LED displays. But the films are notoriously riddled with defects. Now, a research team, including the Lab’s Ali Javey, has found a simple way to fix these defects through the use of an organic superacid. More>

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Nanocarriers May Bring New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy

Materials scientist Ting Xu led the development of a new family of nanocarriers, called “3HM,” that meets all the size and stability requirements for effectively delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain for the treatment of a deadly form of cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme. This cancer kills about 15,000 U.S. people annually. More>

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On the Way to Multiband Solar Cells

Materials scientist Wladek Walukiewicz led the development of the first intermediate band solar cell to demonstrate charge transfer across all three band transitions – valence/intermediate, intermediate/conducting, and conducting/valence. These results open the door to high-efficiency solar cells and multicolor light emitters. More>

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A New Way to Look at MOFs

An international collaboration led by materials scientist Omar Yaghi has developed a technique called “gas adsorption crystallography” that provides a new way to study the process by which metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are able to store immense volumes of gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. More>

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