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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.



Breakthrough Research on Platinum–Nickel Alloys Print
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 00:00

Two out of three of the kinetic barriers to the practical use of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells in automobiles have been breached: the impractically high amount of extra energy needed for the oxidation reduction reaction (ORR) on the catalyst and the loss of catalytic surface areas available for ORR.

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Beyond the Lone-Pair Model for Structurally Distorted Metal Oxides Print
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 00:00

"Ferroelectricity," by analogy to ferromagnetism, is defined as the presence of spontaneous electrical polarization in a material, often arising from distortions in the material's crystal structure. ... At the ALS, researchers from the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S. have now obtained definitive experimental evidence that the lone-pair model must be revised.

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The Initiation of Bacterial DNA Replication Print
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 00:00

For the first time, scientists have determined the structure of the initiator of bacterial DNA replication. What has now been discovered is that the core of the initiator is not the closed-ring structure expected for this system. Instead, DnaA forms an open right-handed helix.

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Electronic Structure and Magnetism in Diluted Magnetic Semiconductors Print
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

The possibility of using electrons' spins in addition to their charge in information technology has created much enthusiasm for a new field of electronics popularly known as "spintronics."

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Tailored Terahertz Pulses from a Laser-Modulated Electron Beam Print
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

Researchers at the ALS have demonstrated a new method to generate tunable, coherent, broadband terahertz radiation from a relativistic electron beam modulated by a femtosecond laser.

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Mapping the Nanoscale Landscape Print
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

For the first time, researchers have successfully mapped the chemical structure of conjugated polymer blend films with a spatial resolution of better than 50 nm using scanning transmission x-ray microscopy (STXM).

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Electron-State Hybridization in Heavy-Fermion Systems Print
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 00:00

An international team of researchers has performed angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) studies of the heavy-fermion system YbIr2Si2. The results show a strong momentum (directional) dependence of the hybridization that clearly rules out the single-impurity model in favor of the lattice model.

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First Direct Observation of Spinons and Holons Print
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

A team of researchers has now observed electron spin–charge separation in a one-dimensional solid. These results hold implications for future developments in several key areas of advanced technology, including high-temperature superconductors, nanowires, and spintronics.

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Parallel and Antiparallel Interfacial Coupling in AF-FM Bilayers Print
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

Cooling an antiferromagnetic–ferromagnetic bilayer in a magnetic field typically results in a remanent (zero-field) magnetization in the ferromagnet (FM) that is always in the direction of the field during cooling (positive Mrem).

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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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