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Science Briefs


ALS Science Briefs are short (200 words maximum) descriptions of recently published ALS-related work. These “brief” highlights also include one image, a caption (50 words), and the publication citation. All ALS users and beamline scientists are invited to fill out the short submission form here and send a hi-res image to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Driving Skyrmions Along a Racetrack Print
Thursday, 14 April 2016 13:41

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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Missing Oxygen Atoms Are Key to Robust Spintronic Material Print
Friday, 01 April 2016 11:44

Researchers studied In2O3:Fe, a promising spintronic material, to determine what leads to its surprisingly robust magnetic properties, how to optimize it, and what to look for in other candidate spintronic materials.

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Superlattices Patterned by Polymers Print
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:31

Scientists have shown that self-assembled superlattices, made up of nanoparticles with polymer chains grafted onto their surfaces (“hairy nanoparticles,” or polymer “brushes”), can be tailored to exhibit desired characteristics for applications ranging from nano- to biotechnology.

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On the Way to Unlimited Energy Print
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 11:22

With the help of four different ALS beamlines, scientists were able to understand and improve the morphology of the main device structure in organic photovoltaic cells.

Summary Slide

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Improving Anti-Influenza Medications Print
Monday, 07 March 2016 16:16

Protein crystallography at ALS Beamline 8.3.1 helped scientists understand the M2 proton-channel structure from the influenza A virus, an understanding that is needed to design better anti-influenza medications.

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Improving Meningococcal Vaccines Print
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 12:50

Scientists have found a way to improve the stability of an essential antigenic protein to develop vaccines with higher efficacy for prevention of bacterial meningitis.

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New Hope for Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients Print
Thursday, 04 February 2016 16:26

Using FTIR microspectroscopy at the NSLS in Brookhaven and at ALS Beamline 1.4.3, scientists got a first glimpse into the structural changes that result from point mutations in opsin, one of the causes of retinitis pigmentosa.

Summary Slide

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Luminescent MOFs for Mycotoxin Detection Print
Thursday, 04 February 2016 16:26

Crystal diffractometry at ALS Beamline 11.3.1 helped scientists develop and understand a new, highly sensitive luminescent metal­­–organic framework for mycotoxin detection.

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Conduction Along Magnetic Interfaces Could Improve Memory Devices Print
Thursday, 04 February 2016 15:54

Scientists have provided the first direct evidence of a controversial phenomenon: the boundaries between magnetic regions in an electrical insulator can become electrically conductive. This discovery can potentially lead to improvements in future memory storage devices.

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Foreign DNA Capture during CRISPR–CAS Adaptive Immunity Print
Thursday, 21 January 2016 16:45

Using macromolecular crystallography at Beamline 8.3.1 at the ALS, Berkeley researchers discovered how CRISPR/Cas captures foreign DNA for the bacterial immune system.

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On the Road to ANG Vehicles with Increased Driving Ranges Print
Thursday, 21 January 2016 16:08

An international team of researchers, using gas adsorption studies, in situ powder x-ray diffraction, and single-crystal x-ray diffraction, showed that there is a way to develop a new flexible metal–organic framework (MOF) material for enhanced natural gas storage on vehicles.

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Discovery of Weyl Semimetals May Lead to Novel Future Spintronic Applications Print
Wednesday, 09 December 2015 00:00

A team of researchers using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) at ALS Beamline 10.0.1 found intriguing particles in a new phase of quantum matter: topological Weyl semimetals (TWSs).

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Custom Organic Electronics Out of the Printer Print
Thursday, 03 December 2015 12:14

Using in situ x-ray characterization and a custom-made slot-die coater at Beamline 7.3.3, the cross-linking of polymer molecules in the active layer of an organic solar cell during the printing process could be observed.

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What Goes Up, Must Come Down (and Sometimes Gets Stuck) Print
Friday, 24 April 2015 15:14

High-pressure experiments at Beamline 12.2.2 on ferropericlase—the presumed weakest mineral found in the Earth's lower mantle—help explain why subducted slabs of Earth's crust stall at a depth of around 1000 km (~625 miles).

Summary Slide

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A Milky Mystery: The Case of the Casein Micelles Print
Monday, 30 March 2015 00:00

We all know that milk contains important nutrients such as calcium and protein that help build bones and muscle. But how much do we really know about these ingredients at the molecular level? To learn more, scientists from New Zealand and Australia came to the ALS to x-ray some milk.

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