Today at Berkeley Lab

ALS Aids in Mapping the Migration of Genetic Material

A powerful soft x-ray microscope captures tomographic images of the genetic material in the nuclei of nerve cells at different stages of maturity. The detailed 3D visualizations show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material and provide a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture. More>

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Study: Soil Could Release More Carbon Than Expected as Climate Warms

Researchers based their findings on a field experiment that, for the first time, explored what happens to organic carbon trapped in soil when all soil layers are warmed. Much of the CO2 originated from deeper layers, indicating that deeper stores of carbon are more sensitive to warming than previously thought. More>

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Attention Earthlings: Help Wanted in Finding a New Planet

Research for a Berkeley Lab-led dark energy experiment benefits a citizen science project that seeks the public’s help in the hunt for a hypothesized Neptune-like Planet Nine. More>

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Designing Protein Cavities from Curved Beta Sheets

Curved beta sheets are important for the architecture of protein cavities, such as enzyme active sites and ligand-binding pockets. Bioscientists in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology at the ALS, in collaboration with a team at the University of Washington, have helped to validate novel protein designs that could be customized to perform a reaction or facilitate a function of interest. More>

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New Materials Could Turn Water into the Fuel of the Future

In just two years, Berkeley Lab and Caltech scientists have nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels. They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of a commercially viable generation of solar fuels. The research involved NERSC, the Molecular Foundry, and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis. More>

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New Evidence for a Water-Rich History on Mars

Mars may have been a wetter place than previously thought, according to research on simulated Martian meteorites conducted, in part, at the Lab’s Advanced Light Source. A mineral found in Martian meteorites may have originally been a hydrogen-containing mineral that could indicate a more water-rich history for the Red Planet. More>

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ALS Studies Provide Insight into Performance of Sodium-Ion Batteries

Electrochemical (battery) cells with aqueous electrolytes can be safe, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly, but a narrow range of possible operating voltages limits their use. Now, researchers have shown this range is wider in a particular maybe sodium-ion-based aqueous system, and its overall performance is comparable to that of Li-ion batteries. More>

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Finding Our Way Around DNA

Biosciences researchers collaborated with a team at the Salk Institute to develop a computational algorithm that integrates two different data types to make locating key regions within the genome more precise and accurate, allowing more targeted searches for disease-causing genetic variants that promote cancer or other metabolic disorders. More>

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New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

The California Energy Commission has awarded $2.7 million to the Lab for two geothermal projects, led by Kurt Nihei and Jonny Rutqvist of the Energy Geosciences Division. The projects, which will take place at The Geysers, located north of Calistoga, aim to make geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate. More>

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ALS Tests the Limits of a Superhard ‘Solution’ of Metal Boride

Superhard materials such as metal borides are in demand as structural and engineering compounds and for next-generation cutting tools. Researchers have now synthesized and tested a mixture, or “solid solution,” of two different metal borides, demonstrating the accuracy of theoretical predictions and opening the door to targeted tuning of desirable material characteristics. More>

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