Today at Berkeley Lab

A Leap Toward a ‘Perfect’ Quantum Metamaterial

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>

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Atomic Force Microscope Reveals Chemical Ghosts

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>

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Can Artificial Intelligence Create the Next Wonder Material?

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>

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Glaeser, Niyogi, Marqusee, and Yang Named to National Academy of Sciences

The election recognizes their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. NAS membership is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Lab researchers include Robert Glaeser, Krishna Niyogi, and Susan Marqusee of of the Biosciences Area, and materials scientist Peidong Yang. More>

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Scientists Push Valleytronics One Step Closer to Reality

Scientists led by Xiang Zhang have taken a big step toward the practical application of
“valleytronics,” a new type of electronics that could lead to faster and more efficient computer
logic systems and data storage chips in next-generation devices. Researchers demonstrated the ability to electrically generate and control valley electrons in a two-dimensional semiconductor. More>

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Revealing the Fluctuations of Flexible DNA in 3-D

Scientists have captured the first high-resolution 3-D images from individual double-helix DNA segments attached to gold nanoparticles, which could aid in the use of DNA segments as building blocks for molecular devices that function as nanoscale drug-delivery systems, markers for biological research, and components for electronic devices. More>

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Irfan Siddiqi of Materials Sciences Wins Cal Teaching Award

Five UC Berkeley faculty have been selected as recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award, the campus’s most prestigious honor for teaching. The award recognizes teaching that incites intellectual curiosity in students, engages them thoroughly in the enterprise of learning, and has a lifelong impact. Siddiqi is a professor of physics. More>

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Nature-Inspired Nanotubes That Assemble Themselves With Precision

Lab scientists have discovered a family of nature-inspired polymers that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into hollow crystalline nanotubes with a uniform diameter. The research involved the Molecular Foundry’s Ron Zuckermann, Nitash Balsara of the Materials Sciences Division, and Ken Downing of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division. More>

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‘Disruptive Device’ Brings Xenon-NMR to Fragile Materials

Researchers have developed a device that enables NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy, coupled with a powerful molecular sensor, to analyze molecular interactions in viscous solutions and fragile materials such as liquid crystals. More>

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Magnetic Chips Could Dramatically Increase Computing’s Energy Efficiency

Berkeley engineers have shown for the first time that magnetic chips can actually operate at the lowest fundamental energy dissipation theoretically possible under the laws of thermodynamics. Jeffrey Bokor of the Materials Sciences Division is the senior author on this study. More>

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