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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.



Characterization of Selective Binding of Alkali Cations with Carboxylate Print
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 00:00

During its lifetime, a cell spends a considerable fraction of its energy pumping sodium and calcium out and potassium in. ... However, despite enormous effort, why certain interactions are preferred over others is not completely understood.

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Influence of Domain Wall Pinning on the Dynamic Behavior of Magnetic Vortices Print
Wednesday, 27 August 2008 00:00

Soft magnetic, micron-sized thin-film structures with magnetic vortices are intriguing systems that may one day be used in ultrafast computer memories. In such systems, the otherwise in-plane magnetization turns perpendicular to the plane at the center of the vortex, forming the vortex core.

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Polaron Coherence Condensation in Layered Colossal Resistive Manganites Print
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 00:00

Novel quantum phenomena, such as high-temperature superconductivity (HTSC) and colossal magnetoresistance (CMR), arise in certain materials where the interactions between electrons are very strong, but the mechanism driving their appearance remains a major puzzle.

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Electric Field Control of Local Ferromagnetism with a Magnetoelectric Multiferroic Print
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 00:00

Magnetoelectric multiferroics—materials that simultaneously show some form of magnetic and ferroelectric order—have excited condensed-matter researchers worldwide with the promise of coupling between magnetic and electric order parameters.

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Slow Dynamics of Orbital Domains in Manganite Print
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 00:00

At the ALS, an international team of researchers has used low-energy coherent x rays to extract new knowledge about the correlated motion of groups of self-assembled, outer-lying electrons in the extremely complex electronic system found in manganites.

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Looking at Transistor Gate Oxide Formation in Real Time Print
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 00:00

The oxide gate layer is critical to every transistor, and present-day layer thicknesses are in the 10–20 Å range (1–2 nm). However, little information exists on the oxidation process at this thickness.

 

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A Key Enzyme to the Potency of an Anticancer Agent Print
Wednesday, 28 May 2008 00:00

Incorporation of halogen atoms into drug molecules often increases biological activity. This is the case with salinosporamide A (sal A), a natural product from the marine bacterium Salinispora tropica.


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Solving the Unsovlable: The Nanostructure of Gold at 1.1 Å Resolution Print
Wednesday, 28 May 2008 00:00

For the first time, a team of scientists led by Roger Kornberg has synthesized thiol-covered gold nanoparticles and, using ALS Beamlines 5.0.2 and 8.2.2 and SSRL Beamlines 11-1 and 11-3, conclusively ascertained their atomic structure (at 1.1 Å resolution).

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Structure of Synaptic Connectors Solved Print
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 00:00

Establishment of neural connections at specialized intercellular junctions called synapses is critical for proper brain function, and errors in the process are thought to be associated with autism and other disorders.

 

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Electronic Structure of Cobalt Nanocrystals Suspended in Liquid Print
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 00:00

Advances in the synthesis of crystals of nanometer dimensions, narrow size distribution, and controlled shape have generated interest because of the potential to create novel materials with tailored physical and chemical properties.

 

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The Iron Spin Transition in the Earth's Lower Mantle Print
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 00:00

It is now known that the iron present in minerals of the lower mantle of the Earth undergoes a pressure-induced transition with pairing of the spins of its 3d electrons.

 

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Formation of Metallic Copper Nanoparticles at the Soil-Root Interface Print
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 00:00

The first commercial fungicide—the "Bordeaux mixture" of copper sulfate and lime—was used to fight downy mildew in French vineyards.

 

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Substrate-Induced Band-Gap Opening in Epitaxial Graphene Print
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 00:00

Prospective challengers to silicon... have to overcome silicon’s superb collection of materials properties as well as sophisticated fabrication technologies refined by six decades of effort by materials scientists and engineers.

 

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The ALS X-Ray Streak Camera: Bringing the Ultrafast and Ultrasmall into Focus Print
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 00:00

Studying the world of the ultrasmall and the ultrafast is at the frontier of scientific research. Two x-ray approaches can be used for ultrafast examinations.

 

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Topo II: An Enzyme Target for Antibacterial and Cancer Drugs Print
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 00:00

The veil has finally been lifted on an enzyme that is critical to the process of DNA transcription and replication and is a prime target of antibacterial and anticancer drugs. Researchers at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley, have produced the first three-dimensional structural images of a DNA-bound type II topoisomerase.

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