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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.



Vacancy-Induced Nanoscale Wire Structure in Gallium Selenide Layers Print
Wednesday, 21 December 2005 00:00

One approach for creating low-dimensional structures is to exploit the nanoscale or atomic-scale features that exist naturally in the three-dimensional form of materials. By this means, researchers have demonstrated a new way of creating one-dimensional nanoscale structures (nanowires) in the compound gallium selenide.

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Structural Basis for Activation of Cholera Toxin Print
Wednesday, 30 November 2005 00:00

Cholera is a serious disease that claims thousands of victims each year in third-world, war-torn, and disaster-stricken nations. The culprit is the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which can be ingested through contaminated food or water and colonizes the mucous membrane of the human small intestine.

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Biological Imaging by Soft X-Ray Diffraction Microscopy Print
Wednesday, 30 November 2005 00:00

Coherent x-ray diffraction imaging takes advantage of the penetrating power of x rays while simultaneously removing limitations imposed by lens-based optical systems. Researchers have used a lensless x-ray diffraction microscope to image a freeze-dried yeast cell to better than 30-nm resolution.

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Engineering Metal Impurities in Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells Print
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 00:00

The size, spatial distribution, and chemical binding of metals within clusters is just as important as the total metal concentration in limiting the performance of multicrystalline silicon solar cells. This led to the concept of defect engineering by optimizing growth and processing sequences to trap metals in their least harmful state.

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Protein Flips Lipids Across Membranes Print
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 00:00

Found ubiquitously in both bacteria and humans, membrane proteins of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)–binding cassette (ABC) transporter family have been implicated in both antibiotic and cancer-drug resistance.

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Crystal Structure of a Protein Kinase A Complex Print
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 00:00

Protein kinase A (PKA) is an enzyme that regulates processes as diverse as growth, memory, and metabolism. In its unactivated state, PKA exists as a tetrameric complex of two catalytic subunits and a regulatory subunit dimer...

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Disorder-Induced Microscopic Magnetic Memory Print
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 00:00

The magnetic-recording industry deliberately introduces carefully controlled disorder into its materials to obtain the desired magnetic properties. But as the density of magnetic disks climbs, the size of the magnetic domains responsible for storage must decrease, posing new challenges.

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Femtosecond NEXAFS of Photoinduced Insulator-Metal Transition in VO2 Print
Wednesday, 28 September 2005 00:00

Researchers have taken a big step in femtosecond studies by adding femtosecond x-ray spectroscopy to the experimental toolkit with their first use of the laser-slicing technique to study the photoinduced metal–insulator phase transition in vanadium dioxide (VO2).

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Time-Resolved Study of Bonding in Liquid Carbon Print
Wednesday, 28 September 2005 00:00

We are accustomed to observing carbon in its elemental form as a solid, ranging from the soft "lead" in pencils to the precious gemstone in diamond rings. While considerable attention has been focused on solid forms of carbon, the properties of liquid carbon are much more difficult to measure accurately.

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Direct Imaging of Asymmetric Magnetization Reversal Print
Wednesday, 28 September 2005 00:00

By using x-ray photoemission electron microscopy at the ALS to directly image the magnetic structure of an exchange-biased film, a team from the University of Washington and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory has identified separate magnetic-reversal mechanisms in the two branches of a hysteresis loop.

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New Zone Plate for Soft X-Ray Microscopy at 15-nm Spatial Resolution Print
Wednesday, 31 August 2005 00:00

The XM-1 soft x-ray microscope at the ALS produces images that not only reveal structures but can identify their chemical elements and measure magnetic and other properties as well.

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Photoexcitation of a Volume Plasmon in Buckyballs Print
Wednesday, 31 August 2005 00:00

The latest results from a U.S.–German collaboration on the electronic structure of photoexcited buckyball ions show an additional resonance near 40 eV, characterized as a volume plasmon made possible by the special fullerene geometry.

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Enol Intermediates Unexpectedly Found in Flames Print
Wednesday, 27 July 2005 00:00

An international team of researchers has identified chemical compounds known as enols as apparently ubiquitous intermediates in flames burning a variety of fuels. This surprising observation will require combustion modelers to revise their models to account for the presence of these compounds.

Handout

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A Hollow-Ion Resonance of Unprecedented Strength Print
Wednesday, 29 June 2005 00:00

At the Ion-Photon Beamline at the ALS, researchers have detected in negative helium ions a resonant simultaneous double-Auger decay of unprecedented strength, evidence of a triply excited hollow-ion state that has eluded observation for 25 years.

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Composition and Reactions of Atmospheric Aerosol Particles Print
Wednesday, 29 June 2005 00:00

Microscopic aerosol particles in the atmosphere contain carbonaceous components from mineral dust and combustion emissions released from around the world. How long these tiny particles remain in the atmosphere can have a huge impact on the global climate.

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