Today at Berkeley Lab

Defects Through the Looking Glass

Materials scientist Michael Crommie used scanning tunneling to study individual defects in hexagonal boron nitride, a widely used bulk electronic insulating material. Nanoscale defects are very important in shaping the properties of a material, and until now, observing defects in bulk insulators has remained elusive. More>

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CT Scan of Earth Links Volcanic Hot Spots

Berkeley seismologists have produced for the first time a sharp, three-dimensional scan of Earth’s interior that conclusively connects plumes of hot rock rising through the mantle with surface hotspots that generate volcanic island chains like Hawaii, Samoa and Iceland. Simulations for this research were conducted at NERSC. More>

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NERSC Accelerates Scientific Analysis With SciDB

Tackling extreme data challenges will require a system that is easy enough for any scientist to use, that can effectively harness the power of ever more powerful supercomputers, and that is unified and extendable. This is where the NERSC’s implementation of SciDB comes in. More>

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New Solar Cell Absorbs Light at Higher Level Than Conventional Cells

Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein created solar cells that can collect higher energy photons at 30 times the concentration of conventional solar cells, the highest luminescent concentration factor ever recorded. Matching designer quantum dots to special photonic mirrors resulted in an optical efficiency of 82-percent for blue photons. More>

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Time-Lapse Analysis Offers New Look at How Cells Repair DNA Damage

A computerized way has been developed to measure DNA repair in thousands of human mammary epithelial cells before and after they’re exposed to ionizing radiation. Microscopy images are acquired about every half hour over a span of up to two days, and the resulting sequence of images shows hotspots inside cells where DNA is under repair. More>

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NERSC’s ‘Shifter’ Makes Container-Based HPC a Breeze

To facilitate the use of container-based computing in HPC, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is enabling Docker-like container technology on its systems through its new, customized —and soon to be open source — software tool, Shifter. More>

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First Public Resource for Secondary Metabolites Searches

This public database allows researchers to more efficiently harness the genomic data generated by advanced sequencing technologies to identify novel small molecules relevant to DOE missions in bioenergy and environment. More>

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Gaming Computers Offer Huge, Untapped Energy Savings Potential

In the first study of its kind, the Lab’s Evan Mills co-authored an investigation of the aggregate global energy use of personal computers designed for gaming and found gamers can achieve energy savings of more than 75 percent by changing some settings and swapping out some components, while also improving reliability and performance. More>

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Soaking Up Carbon Dioxide and Turning it into Valuable Products

Chris Chang (Chemical Sciences) and Omar Yaghi (Materials Sciences) led a study in which covalent organic frameworks were embedded with cobalt porphyrins to produce a molecular system that that not only absorbs carbon dioxide, but also selectively reduces it to carbon monoxide, a primary building block for a wide range of chemical products. More>

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Cellular Contamination Pathway for Plutonium, Other Elements, Identified

A team led by Rebecca Abergel working at the ALS reports a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants. The results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More>

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