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Recent Science Highlights

Molecular Switch Triggers Bacterial Pathogenicity

Using an array of high-powered x-ray imaging techniques at the ALS, scientists have revealed for the first time the molecular steps that turn on bacteria's pathogenic genes. The study could open up new avenues in the development of drugs to prevent or treat bacterial infection.

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A Surface Treatment for Improving Fuel-Cell Cathodes

Solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a promising path toward the "clean" conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy with little or no carbon dioxide emission. With the help of the ALS, researchers from MIT recently found a way to treat SOFC cathode surfaces so that they perform better and last longer.

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Ambient pressure XPS and IRRAS investigation of ethanol steam reforming on nickel–ceria catalysts

Ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS) and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (AP-IRRAS) have been used to elucidate the active sites and mechanistic steps associated with the ethanol steam reforming reaction (ESR) over Ni–CeO2(111) model catalysts. Article link.

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New Catalyst Boosts Selective Formation of Olefins from Syngas

Experiments at the ALS have helped to explain how a new catalyst significantly boosts the selective formation of light olefin molecules—important building blocks in the petrochemical industry—from syngas. The new process could allow for the use of alternative syngas feedstocks that save water and energy.

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SINS Reveals Dopant Effects in Plasmonic Materials

Using synchrotron infrared nanospectroscopy (SINS) at the ALS, researchers have for the first time probed infrared plasmonic excitations in single nanocrystals. This allowed the pinpointing of dopant effects on an emerging class of materials with potential for molecular-sensing and energy-harvesting applications.

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