Posts Tagged ‘Materials Sciences Division’

Researchers Build a Nonflammable Lithium Ion Battery

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

A material that prevents marine life from sticking to the bottom of ships has been identified a surprising replacement for the only inherently flammable component of today’s lithium-ion batteries: the electrolyte. The work not only paves the way for developing a new generation lithium-ion battery that doesn’t spontaneously combust at high temperatures, but also has the potential to renew consumer confidence in a technology that has attracted significant concern. A Berkeley Lab team led by materials scientist Nitash Balsara is working with researchers at the University of North Carolina on this research. More>

Yablonovitch Receives 2014 Rank Prize in Optoelectronics

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Eli Yablonovitch of the Materials Sciences Division, and a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley, has received the 2014 Rank Prize in Optoelectronics. The award recognizes his “idea that strained semiconductor lasers would have superior performance owing to reduced valence band (hole) effective mass.” Almost all semiconductor lasers use this concept, including for DVD players, for the ubiquitous red laser pointers, and for the optical communication that occurs in almost all internet mouse clicks. Rank Prizes are awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to certain scientific fields, including optoelectronics, where an initial idea has been carried through to practical applications that have, or will, demonstrably benefit mankind.

Researchers Find Unambiguous Evidence for Coherent Phonons in Superlattices

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Ramamoorthy Ramesh with the Materials Sciences Division and former Berkeley Lab ALD Arun Majumdar (now VP for Energy at Google) were co-leaders of an experiment that provided the first “unambiguous demonstration” of the coherent transport of the atomic-scale sound waves known as “phonons.” Working with superlattices of perovskite oxides, Ramesh and Majumdar with their collaborators showed that phonons can crossover from particle-like behavior to wave-like behavior just like photons. With phonon transport being a key to thermal conductivity, this demonstration opens the door to improved thermoelectric devices. It also raises the possibility of true phonon lasers. More>

Senator Coons Praises Lab, SEMATECH Partnership During Floor Speech

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Mark Rubio (R-Florida) recently introduced bipartisan legislation — the America INNOVATES Act — that promotes innovation by giving the National Labs more flexibility to partner with the private sector and streamlines DOE management structures via targeted reforms. During Coon’s floor speech, he highlighted the successful partnership between the Advanced Light Source, Materials Sciences Division’s Center for X-Ray Optics, and SEMATECH, a consortium of semiconductor companies and chipmakers. He learned of the partnership during a visit to the Lab in early December. Coons mentions the partnership at about 8:34 in the video.

Autobiography of Lab’s Gabor Somorjai Released

Friday, January 31st, 2014

It might seem odd to describe a Hungarian Jewish refugee who survived the Nazi holocaust and Soviet tanks as having lived a “charmed” life, but Gabor Somorjai of the Materials Sciences Division expresses a relentlessly positive and up-beat attitude in his autobiography “An American Scientist: The Autobiography of Gabor A. Somorjai.” Widely recognized as the father of modern catalysis who revolutionized the scientific understanding of surface interactions, Somorjai tells of his escape from Hungary and his landing in Berkeley, “the right place and at the right time.” He then details a career that has spanned six decades and earned him just about every honor a scientist can receive, including the National Medal of Science.

Nano-High Talk Tomorrow on Building the New Bay Bridge

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Brian Maroney, the Caltrans toll bridge chief design engineer, is the featured speaker for the Nano-High lecture tomorrow, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. in 1 Pimentel Hall on campus. He will talk about careers in engineering and, in particular, the challenge of designing an aesthetically iconic structure with a 100-year lifetime in one of the most active earthquake zones in the world. (The subject of bolts may come up.) Lab employees are encouraged to invite their high-school age children or acquaintances to attend. Adults will be accommodated on a space-available basis.

High-Throughput Scintillator Discovery Project Receives DNDO IAA Award

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

A high-throughput scintillator discovery project lead by Stephen Derenzo (pictured) of Life Sciences and Edith Bourret-Courchesne of Material Sciences, in collaboration with Andrew Canning of Computational Research, has received an Inter-Agency Agreement (IAA) award of over $1.3M from the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) for 2014. The project uses empirical rules to select the most promising candidates from the vast number of possible compounds and then uses unique custom-built high-throughput systems for synthesis and characterization. The project has been very successful at identifying new high-luminosity scintillators: Of the 33 new scintillators that were published after 2005 with luminosities above 30,000 photons/MeV, 20 (61%) were discovered by this project.

Berkeley Lab Startup Featured at World Economic Forum

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Alphabet Energy was featured as a 2014 Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum (WEF) last week in Davos, Switzerland. Technology pioneers are selected by WEF for their potential to generate new opportunities and innovative solutions. Alphabet Energy, a startup based on advanced materials technologies developed at Berkeley Lab, has raised $30 million to date and is poised to introduce low-cost products that convert waste heat into electricity. More>

Materials Scientist Alex Zettl Wins Feynman Prize

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Alex Zettl of the Materials Sciences Division, and a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley, has won the 2013 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology Experiment. Named in honor of Nobel laureate Richard Feynman whose seminal essay, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” is widely credited with launching the field of nanoscience, the Feynman prizes — one for theoretical work and one for experimental research — annually recognize scientists whose work has advanced Feynman’s vision. Zettl was cited for his “exceptional work in the fabrication of nanoscale electromechanical systems, spanning multiple decades and including carbon nanotube-based bearings, actuators, and sensors brought to fruition with cutting-edge nanoscale engineering.” More>

E-Whiskers are the Cat’s Pajamas

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Ali Javey, a faculty scientist in the Materials Sciences Division, led the creation of electronic whiskers, highly sensitive tactile sensors made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles that respond to pressure as slight as a single Pascal, the pressure of a dollar bill on a tabletop. Among many possibilities, these e-whiskers could give robots new abilities to “see” and “feel” their environment, plus a better sense of balance. Other potential applications include the monitoring of airflow and wearable sensors for measuring heart beat and pulse rate. Also working on this project were Kuniharu Takei, Zhibin Yu, Maxwell Zheng, Hiroki Ota and Toshitake Takahashi. More>