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ALS in the News
ALS Stars in New Video from California Academy of Sciences Print
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 13:51

cal academy of sciences

In August, videographers from the California Academy of Sciences came to the ALS to film scientists talking about their work and about how the ALS provides exciting opportunities for research in everything from bone strength to faster computer chips. The video, posted on the Science Today: Beyond the Headlines Web site and on screens through out the Academy, is part of the Academy's Science in Action effort "to make science accessible for everyone and discuss its relevance in our everyday lives."  See our ALS scientists at their best describing the goals and impacts of their research.

The California Academy of Sciences, located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, "is a multifaceted scientific institution committed to leading-edge research, to educational outreach, and to finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public."

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New Technique Reveals Lithium in Action Print
Friday, 19 October 2012 12:49

Exactly what goes inside advanced lithium-air batteries as they charge and discharge has always been impossible to observe directly. Now, a new technique developed by MIT researchers promises to change that, allowing study of this electrochemical activity as it happens. Using high-intensity x-ray illumination at the ALS made it possible to study the electrochemical reactions taking place at the surface of electrodes, and to show the reactions between lithium and oxygen as the voltage applied to the cell was changed.

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A solid-state lithium-air battery (highlighted in orange) is positioned inside a test chamber at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in preparation for its testing using X-ray photoelectron microscopy.

 
Another Advance on the Road to Spintronics Print
Monday, 15 October 2012 16:20

Spintronic technology, in which data is processed on the basis of electron “spin” rather than charge, promises to revolutionize the computing industry with smaller, faster and more energy efficient data storage and processing. Dilute magnetic semiconductors –normal semiconductors to which a small amount of magnetic atoms is added to make them ferromagnetic—are drawing a lot of attention for spintronic applications. Understanding the source of ferromagnetism in dilute magnetic semiconductors has impeded their further development and use in spintronics. Now, a multi-institutional collaboration of researchers led by Berkeley Lab scientists have used a new technique called Hard x-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy (HARPES) at ALS Beamline 9.3.1 to investigate the bulk electronic structure one dilute magnetic semiconductor. Their findings show that the material’s ferromagnetism arises from both of the two different mechanisms that have been proposed to explain it.

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With the HARPES technique, a beam of hard x-rays flashed on a sample causes photoelectrons from within the bulk to be emitted. Measuring the kinetic energy of these photoelectrons and the angles at which they are ejected reveals much about the sample’s electronic structure. Here the Mn atoms in GaMnAs are shown to be aligned ferromagnetically, with all their atomic magnets pointing the same way. (Image from Alex Gray)

 
Salt Seeds Clouds in the Amazon Rainforest Print
Monday, 10 September 2012 13:48

An international team of scientists analyzed samples of naturally formed aerosols collected above the forest floor, deep in the Amazon rainforest, finding that invisibly tiny grains of potassium salts, generated by natural plants and other living things at night and early in the morning, play a key role in the formation of aerosols in the rainforest.

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Water droplets in the morning mists of the Amazon jungle condense around aerosol particles. In turn, the aerosols condense around miniscule salt particles that are emitted by fungi and plants during the night.

 
A Surprising New Kind of Proton Transfer Print
Monday, 19 March 2012 09:48

Berkeley Lab scientists and their colleagues have discovered an unsuspected way that protons can move among molecules, revealing new opportunities for research in biology, environmental science, and green chemistry.

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Uracil is one of the four bases of RNA (carbon atoms are shown in brown, nitrogen purple, oxygen red, hydrogen white). Because methyl groups discourage hydrogen bonding, methylated uracil should be incapable of proton transfer. But after ionization of methylated uracil dimers, a proton moves by a different route, from one monomer to the other, avoiding the blocked hydrogen bonds.

 
Scientists Probe Mystery Molecule that Reduces Greenhouse Gases Print
Friday, 13 January 2012 00:00

An international research team has tracked down and measured an elusive molecule that rapidly breaks down pollution in the atmosphere, turning it into clouds that actually help cool the Earth.

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Sandia combustion researchers Craig Taatjes, left, and David Osborn discuss data found from the detection and measurement of Criegee intermediate reactions. The apparatus was used to make the measurements, which researchers believe will substantially impact existing atmospheric chemistry. Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

 
Diamonds and Dust for Better Cement Print
Monday, 12 December 2011 00:00

Structural studies at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source could point to reduced carbon emissions and stronger cements.

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At Calipso, the California High-Pressure Science Observatory at beamline 12.2.2 of the Advanced Light Source, materials can be squeezed to tremendous pressures in diamond anvil cells, where they are trapped between the two diamonds in a small central chamber. The x-rays from the beamline pass through the diamonds and the sample, throwing diffraction patterns on a CCD detector that reveal the material’s structure. (Signals from diamond and corundum in the anvil cell mechanism must be subtracted from the diffraction patterns.) (Beamline photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

 
Partnership for Progress in Electronics Strengthened by New Lab-Industry Investment Print
Monday, 05 December 2011 00:00

Berkeley Lab and industry co-invest in new high-tech facilities and tools at the Advanced Light Source.

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The MET5 microlithography tool at the Advanced Light Source’s beamline 12.0.1 will be housed in an enclosure inside a new clean room with wafer-processing facilities immediately adjacent, built by Berkeley Lab. The MET5 tool, funded by industry, incorporates a state-of-the-art, 8-nanometer optic.

 
Protein Structures Through use of Superbends at the Advance Light Source Print
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:00

Unique superconducting bend magnets or "superbends" were designed and installed in the Advanced Light Source at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory without compromise to performance within the existing photon storage ring.

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A SHARP New Microscope for the Next Generation of Microchips Print
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have partnered with colleagues at leading semiconductor manufacturers to create the world’s most advanced extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) microscope.

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Kenneth Goldberg is seen in the reflective coating of a photolithography mask, contained in the clear plastic box, which he’s about to measure at the Advanced Light Source’s beamline 11.3.2. Inset at lower right shows a mask’s extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) absorbing layer, printed on a six-inch square of glass coated with multiple layers of molybdenum and silicon only billionths of a meter thick to reflect unwanted EUV. The patterned layer represents one level of a working microprocessor or memory chip, which may have 20 or more such levels. Its structures are less than one ten-millionth of a meter across and diffract visible light in rainbow patterns.

 
The Brittleness of Aging Bones – More than a Loss of Bone Mass Print
Monday, 29 August 2011 00:00

Berkeley Lab Researchers Show How Loss of Bone Quality Also a Major Factor

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At each size scale, the hierarchical structure of human cortical bone influences its susceptibility to fracturing with smaller levels affecting intrinsic toughness and higher levelss impacting extrinsic toughness. (Image courtesy of Ritchie, et. al)

 
Berkeley Lab Scientists Unveil an X-ray Technique Called HARPES Print
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 00:00

Ability to Probe Deep Below Material Surfaces Should Be Boon for Nanoscale Devices.

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Alexander Gray (left) and Charles Fadley at Beamline 9.3.1 of Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source where they will soon be able to carry out their hard x-ray angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (HARPES) experiments. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab)

 
DOE Laboratories Help Develop Promising New Cancer Fighting Drug, Vemurafenib Print
Thursday, 18 August 2011 00:00

Powerful X-Rays Enable Development of Successful Treatment for Melanoma and Other Life-Threatening Diseases.

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The new anti-cancer drug, vemurafenib, is the green honeycomb structure at middle left. Four dotted red lines show where it attaches to a target area in the mutated enzyme, disabling it from promoting the growth of tumors. | Image courtesy of Plexxikon Inc.

 
Graphene Gives up More of its Secrets Print
Thursday, 14 July 2011 00:00

With the Advanced Light Source Berkeley Lab scientists explore the electronic structure of graphene in regions never before tested by experiment.

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Undoped graphene isn’t a metal, semiconductor, or insulator but a semimetal, whose unusual properties include electron-electron interactions between particles widely separated on graphene’s honeycomb lattice - here suggested by an artist’s impression of Feynman diagrams of such interactions. Long-range interactions, unlike those that occur only over very short distances in ordinary metals, alter the fundamental character of charge carriers in graphene. (Image by Caitlin Youngquist, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

 
Protein Structure of Key Molecule in DNA Transcription System Deciphered Print
Sunday, 03 July 2011 00:00

Scientists have deciphered the structure of an essential part of Mediator, a complex molecular machine that plays a vital role in regulating the transcription of DNA.

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Scientists have deciphered the structure of an essential part of Mediator, a complex molecular machine that plays a vital role in regulating the transcription of DNA. (Credit: Indiana University School of Medicine)

 
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