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Science Highlights


Science highlights feature research conducted by staff and users at the ALS.

If a Power Point summary slide or a PDF handout of the highlight is available, you will find it linked beneath the highlight listing and on the highlight's page. You may also print a version of a highlight by clicking the print icon associated with each highlight.



Intriguing DNA Editor Has a Structural Trigger Print
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 00:00

The molecular structures of two proteins from a family of genome-editing enzymes reveal how they target and cleave DNA. The results point the way to the rational design of new and improved versions of the enzymes for basic research and genetic engineering.

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Graphene’s 3D Counterpart Print
Monday, 21 July 2014 08:59

ALS researchers have discovered a material that is essentially a 3D version of graphene—the 2D sheets of carbon through which electrons race at many times the speed at which they move through silicon. The discovery promises exciting new things to come for the high-­tech industry, including much faster transistors and far more compact hard drives.

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An Inside Look at a MOF in Action Print
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

Researchers have recorded the first in situ electronic-structure observations of the adsorption of carbon dioxide inside Mg-MOF-74, an open-metal-site MOF that has emerged as one of the most promising materials for capturing and storing greenhouse gases.

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ALS Capabilities Reveal Multiple Functions of Ebola Virus Print
Friday, 13 June 2014 10:25

Researchers at the ALS have demonstrated that a protein of Ebola virus, termed VP40, undergoes dramatic refolding rearrangements to achieve three entirely different structures for three entirely separate functions in the virus life cycle.

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Covalent Bonding in Actinide Sandwich Molecules Print
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 00:00

STXM studies have revealed unexpected bonding interactions in two key organometallic actinide "sandwich" complexes. The results serve as a guide to show how metal–carbon bonding can profoundly affect the reactivity and physical properties of organometallic molecules, which are vital as industrial and bioinorganic catalysts.

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New ALS Technique Gives Nanoscale Views of Complex Systems Print
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 00:00

ALS researchers recently developed a broadband imaging technique that looks inside the mesoscale realm with unprecedented sensitivity and range. The new technique, called Synchrotron Infrared Nano-Spectroscopy (SINS), will enable in-depth study of complex molecular systems, including liquid batteries, living cells, novel electronic materials, and stardust.

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Evidence for a Weak Iron Core at Earth's Center Print
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

High-pressure x-ray spectroscopy and diffraction provide new evidence that the solid iron core at the center of the Earth is more malleable than previously thought. This weakness could explain how the crystal structure in the Earth's core has transformed over geological time scales.

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Research Finds Vitamin D Deficiency Affects Bone Quality Print
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

A team of researchers working at the ALS has found that vitamin D deficiency plays a significant role in the bone-aging process, reducing bone quality and increasing fracture susceptibility.

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ALS Capabilities Reveal How Like Can Attract Like Print
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Berkeley Lab researchers working at the ALS have observed an unusual pairing that seems to go against a universal scientific truth—that opposite charges attract and like charges repel. The researchers demonstrated that, when hydrated in water, positively charged ions (cations) can actually pair up with one another.

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Twist Solves Bilayer Graphene Mystery Print
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Researchers have discovered a new twist to the story of bilayer graphene, solving a mystery that has held back device development. In stacking graphene monolayers, subtle misalignments create an almost imperceptible twist between the layers that can have surprisingly strong effects on electronic properties.

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High-Pressure MOF Research Yields Structural Insights Print
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:00

Metal-organic frameworks have shown promise in a variety of applications ranging from gas storage to ion exchange. Accurate structural knowledge is key to the understanding of the applicability of these materials; to learn more, researchers used ALS Beamline 11.3.1 to perform in situ, high-pressure, single-crystal x-ray diffraction.

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Ultrafast Transformations in Superionic Nanocrystals Print
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 00:00

Ultrafast x-ray studies reveal how superionic nanocrystals transform into the conducting phase, with the transformation time set by the speed limit for ions hopping through the lattice. Such materials could be used as solid-state electrolytes for novel batteries or in resistive switching devices.

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New Spectroscopic Technique Reveals the Dynamics of Operating Battery Electrodes Print
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 00:00

Researchers at the ALS have developed a new technique based on soft x-­ray spectroscopy that could help scientists better understand and improve the materials required for high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

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The Molecular Ingenuity of a Unique Fish Scale Print
Monday, 25 November 2013 12:06

ALS research has shown how the scales of a freshwater fish found in the Amazon Basin can literally re-orient themselves in real time to resist force, in essence creating an adaptable body armor.

 

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New Research on Jamming Behavior Expands Understanding Print
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 00:00

Recent ALS research has revealed that even magnetic domains behave very much like other granular material systems, and their dynamical behavior mimics the universal characteristics of several jammed systems.

 

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