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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.



Probing Organic Transistors with Infrared Beams Print
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

Silicon-based transistors are well-understood, basic components of contemporary electronic technology. In contrast, there is growing need for the development of electronic devices based on organic polymer materials.

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High-Order Membrane Complexes from Activated G-Protein Subunits Print
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

Researchers have determined the first structure of a particular G-protein–GRK2 complex. ... Nature has evolved the G-protein structure to not only propagate activation signals but at the same time also directly respond to regulatory proteins that control the duration of the signal.

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Hydrogen Storage in Carbon Nanotubes Through Formation of C-H Bonds Print
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

To realize hydrogen-powered transport, for example, it is necessary to find ways to store hydrogen onboard vehicles efficiently and safely. Nanotechnology in the form of single-walled carbon nanotubes provides a candidate storage medium.

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When DNA Needs to Stand Up and Be Counted Print
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

DNA microarrays are small metal, glass, or silicon chips covered with patterns of short single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). These "DNA chips" are revolutionizing biotechnology, allowing scientists to identify and count many DNA sequences simultaneously.

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Structure of the Kinase Domain of CaMKII and Modeling the Holoenzyme Print
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

The rate and intensity of calcium (Ca2+) currents that oscillate through the plasma membrane around a cell affect such diverse phenomena as fertilization, the cardiac rhythm, and even the formation of memories.

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Highest-Resolution Ribosome Structure Print
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Ribosomes contain a functional core of RNA that is enhanced by ribosomal proteins and accessory factors. Two structures of the intact ribosome from E. coli, determined by a Berkeley–Berlin collaboration to a resolution of 3.5 Å, the highest yet achieved, provide many new insights into how the ribosome factory works.

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Pseudogaps, Polarons, and the Mystery of High-Tc Superconductivity Print
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Working at the ALS, a multi-institutional collaboration led by researchers at ALS and Stanford University has identified a pseudogap phase with a nodal-antinodal dichotomy in ferromagnetic manganese oxide materials (manganites).

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Long-Range Validity of Threshold Laws in Inner-Shell Photodetachment Print
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

A threshold law describes the dependence of a reaction yield near a reaction threshold. It is also a signature of the physical forces involved in the reaction, so the agreement of an observed threshold behavior with a threshold law or a departure from it can be a sensitive probe into how well the reaction physics is understood.

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Tuning of the Metal–Insulator Transition via Alkali Adsorption Print
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

A team of researchers from the University of Kiel in Germany and the ALS has found a novel, surprising way to continuously transform a layered metallic transition-metal compound, TaS2, into an insulator.

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DNA-Binding Mechanism in Prokaryotic Partition Complex Formation Print
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

The faithful inheritance of genetic information, essential for all organisms, requires accurate movement and positioning of replicated DNA to daughter cells during cell division. In cells without distinct nuclei (prokaryotes), this process, called partition or segregation, is mediated by par systems.

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First Direct Imaging of Swollen Microgel Particles Print
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Microgels are soft-material particles consisting of cross-linked polymer networks, 100 nm to 1 μm in diameter, dispersed in a continuous medium such as water. A useful feature of certain types of microgel particles is that they can swell or shrink with changes in external triggers such as pH and temperature.

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Ultrafast Core-Hole Induced Dynamics in Water Print
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Using a combination of isotope substitution experiments and molecular dynamics simulations, researchers from Sweden, Germany, and the U.S. have shown that the ultrafast (0- to 10-fs) dissociation dynamics of liquid water can be successfully probed with x-ray emission spectroscopy.

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First Detailed Look at RNA Dicer Print
Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:00

Scientists have gotten their first detailed look at the molecular structure of an enzyme that Nature has been using for eons to help silence unwanted genetic messages: Dicer, an enzyme that plays a critical role in a process known as RNA interference.

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Depth Profile of Uncompensated Spins in an Exchange-Bias System Print
Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:00

The phenomenon known as exchange bias at the interface between a ferromagnet and an antiferromagnet is currently a subject of intense research because of its applications in the magnetic recording and read-head industries.

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Assembly of a Molecular Needle, from the Bottom Up Print
Wednesday, 21 December 2005 00:00

The type III secretion system (TTSS) is a sophisticated protein complex with an overall shape similar to a hypodermic needle. More than twenty unique types of proteins are required for its assembly, most of which are found among a wide variety of animal as well as plant pathogens.

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