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Science Briefs

ALS Science Briefs are short (250 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 .

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

Terra Sigillata: Evolution of Roman Ceramics Reflect Changes in Technology, Life Print
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:38

terra Ancient terra sigillata ceramics were the most famous and ubiquitous Roman tableware, yet when their manufacturing spread to other locations, some of the ceramics' characteristics changed. Researchers from France and the ALS trace the changes.

Decoding Ancient Ocean Acidification Signals from Plankton Shells Print
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 16:42

Ancient plankton shells can record the physical and chemical state of the ocean in which they grew. Decoding these signals can reveal changes in global climate, atmospheric CO2, and the acidity of the oceans in deep geologic time.

Antiferromagnetic Spins Do The Twist Print
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 11:36

At ALS Beamline 4.0.2, researchers have found that the spins in an antiferromagnetic nanolayer perform a version of "The Twist," turning one way and then the other, challenging a model that has been a cornerstone of exchange-bias theory for 27 years.

The Butterfly Effect on Magnetic Vortices Print
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 12:12

A recent x-ray microscopy study at ALS Beamline 6.1.2 provided evidence that the ultrafast dynamics preceding magnetic vortex formation exhibits the characteristic chaotic behavior known as the butterfly effect, where minute changes can significantly determine the final outcome of a process.

An Evolutionary Arms Race for Sulfur Print
Friday, 07 November 2014 10:49

Recent work at the ALS shows that the viruses infecting sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in the deep sea carry bacterial genes for the oxidation of elemental sulfur. Although the viruses themselves cannot use the sulfur, they likely supplement bacterial sulfur oxidation and then exploit the generated energy for viral replication.

The Electronic Structure of a Two-Dimensional Pure Copper Oxide Lattice Print
Monday, 27 October 2014 09:44

All superconducting cuprates share a common crystal structure, consisting of charge reservoirs stacked between layers of CuO2. An undoped version of these materials, including only copper and oxygen, is not available in nature. By growing epitaxial films with a pulsed-laser deposition facility, researchers stabilized a 2D version of CuO, which can be thought as composed by two CuO2 planes staggered and superposed.

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