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Recent Science Highlights

In-situ Characterization of Highly Reversible Phase Transformation by Synchrotron X-ray Laue Microdiffraction

In-situ measurement of the orientation matrices for the austenite and martensite phases of the alloy Cu25Au30Zn45 across the interface was performed by synchrotron x-ray Laue microdiffraction at the ALS. Together with heoretical calculations, researchers verified directly and quantitatively the factors that contribute to the alloy's elastically compatible interface, which ultimately leads to the ultra-low fatigue property of phase transformation in martensitic materials. The approach can be generalized to characterize the evolution of microstructure when the transport properties are sensitive to the structural compatibility at the heterogenous phase boundaries. Article link.

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An Atomic-Level Understanding of Copper-Based Catalysts

Copper-based catalysts are widely used in chemical industries to convert water and carbon monoxide to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methanol. There are theoretical models used to explain this reaction, but a complete understanding of the process has been lacking. However, recent research at the ALS has shed light on the process, giving scientists key data about how copper-based catalysts function at the atomic level.

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Reducing Plant Lignin for Cheaper Biofuels

Scientists have identified and validated a novel approach to reducing lignin in plants by tweaking a key lignin enzyme. Their technique could help lower the cost of converting biomass into carbon-neutral fuels to power cars and other sustainably developed bio-products.

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Shutting Out Ebola and Other Viruses

Researchers have used protein crystallography at the ALS to understand how a drug molecule that has shown some efficacy against Ebola in mice inactivates a membrane protein, called TPC1, used by viruses to infect host cells.

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Driving Skyrmions Along a Racetrack

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to generate stable skyrmion lattices and to drive trains of individual skyrmions by short current pulses along a magnetic racetrack at speeds exceeding 100 m/s, as required for spintronic applications.

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