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Recent Science Highlights

Quantitative Microstructural Imaging by Scanning Laue X-ray Micro- and Nanodiffraction

Synchrotron Laue x-ray microdiffraction turns 20 this year. The June 2016 issue of MRS Bulletin is dedicated to synchrotron radiation research in materials science and features a review article on the current capabilities, latest technical developments, and emerging applications of Laue x-ray micro- and nanodiffraction co-authored by ALS beamline scientist Nobumichi Tamura. The cover image shows a Laue x-ray microdiffraction pattern from a sea urchin tooth taken on Beamline 12.3.2.

A Novel Quasi-1D Topological Insulator

The tantalizing prospect of energy-saving, ultralow-power electronics has led to a vigorous search for optimal topological insulator materials. Now, an international team of scientists has discovered the first of a new class of topological insulators with unique properties: quasi-1D bismuth iodide.

Understanding the Key to Henipavirus Infection

The Hendra virus was the first member of the genus Henipavirus, an emergent group of viruses with a high mortality rate. Knowledge of the protein structure that mediates Hendra entry into host cells could enable the design of antigens with improved immunogenic response.

New Fuel Cell Design Powered by Graphene-Wrapped Nanoparticles

Interest in hydrogen fuel for automotive applications has been growing steadily in the scientific and automotive community over the last decade. Hydrogen is the lightest and most plentiful element on Earth and could serve as a clean, carbon-free, virtually limitless energy source. However, safe hydrogen storage remains a formidable scientific challenge. Recently, researchers working at the ALS and the Molecular Foundry developed a promising new materials recipe based on magnesium nanocrystals and graphene for a battery-like hydrogen fuel cell with improved performance in key areas.

Power-Amplified Predatory Strikes in Trap-Jaw Spiders

Using a combination of high-speed video, molecular phylogenetic analysis, and x-ray microtomography of a family of tiny trap-jaw spiders, researchers discovered that power-amplified predatory strikes evolved four times independently, once the basic trap-jaw body plan was in place.


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