Today at Berkeley Lab

Twisted Structures Emerge From Achiral Molecules

How do chiral structures form spontaneously from achiral molecules? The answer could shed light on how certain biological molecules ended up being dominated by one type of chirality, a phenomenon known as “biological homochirality.” At the Advanced Light Source, researchers studied several chiral liquid-crystal phases made up of achiral, asymmetric molecules. More>

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Early Career LDRD Spotlight: Hanna Breunig on Turning Waste Into Fuel

With funding from an Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) award, Hanna Breunig of the Energy Technologies Area is looking for affordable ways to clean and store methane-containing emissions. She will use the funds to create a new research program that connects industry and policymakers. More>

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Major DESI Components Arrive at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona

Components for the Berkeley Lab-led Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) recently arrived at Kitt Peak National Observatory and were delivered inside the Mayall Telescope dome. The components will become part of the support structure for DESI’s sensitive fiber-optic positioners that will capture light from millions of distant galaxies. More>

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New Exascale Earth System Model Developed

Experts from the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area focused on developing improved representations of land processes as part of an effort to create DOE’s new high-resolution Exascale Earth System Model. The model was recently released to the scientific community. A team led by Bill Collins and Bill Riley participated in the project with other national labs. More>

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Breakthrough Could Capture Unseen Light for Solar Energy Conversion

An international team, led by Berkeley Lab scientists, has demonstrated a breakthrough in the design and function of nanoparticles that could make solar panels more efficient by converting light usually missed by solar cells into usable energy. More>

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Study Recommends Strong Role for National Labs in ‘Second Laser Revolution’

A new study calls for the U.S. to step up its laser R&D efforts to better compete with major overseas efforts to build large, high power laser systems, and notes progress and milestones at the BELLA Center at Berkeley Lab and other sites. More>

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Largest Ever Database of U.S. Wind Turbines Released

In collaboration with the American Wind Energy Association and the U.S. Geological Survey, Lab researchers led by Ben Hoen have released the most comprehensive publicly available database yet of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics. The United States Wind Turbine Database will allow unparalleled ability for government agencies and others to make planning decisions. More>

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In Pursuit of Perfect Chemistry: A Vision for Unifying Catalysis

Several fields of research have sprung up around the chemical drivers, called catalysts, at work in many industrial processes — including those that boost the production of fuels, fertilizers, and foods — and there is a growing interest in coordinating these research activities to create new, hybrid catalysts with enhanced performance. More>

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Modeling Energy Efficiency Block by Block in Cities

Evaluating buildings as a group, rather than individually, can help optimize energy savings in cities. To aid this effort, the Energy Technologies Area’s Tianzhen Hong has introduced CityBES, a data and computing platform that can assess energy efficient retrofits for sets of properties and visualize their performance. He recently assessed 940 buildings in San Francisco. More>

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Researchers Develop Platform for Hosting Science Data Analytics Competitions

The National Nuclear Security Administration is hosting a competition to find innovative algorithms to detect non-natural radiation sources in urban environments. They’ve teamed up with researchers in the Lab’s Computational Research, Nuclear Science, and Information Technology divisions to build a Kaggle-inspired data analytics competition platform to host it. More>

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