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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.



Inhibiting Individual Notch Receptors Improves Treatment Print
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00

Aberrant activation of Notch receptors has been linked to many diseases, making the Notch pathway a compelling target for new drug studies. Researchers have synthesized highly specialized antibody inhibitors that act only on Notch1 or Notch2 through a potent and novel mechanism of inhibition.

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Regarding Confinement Resonances Print
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 00:00

When an x-ray photon boosts an electron from an unreactive gas atom trapped in a carbon cage, the electron waves might be transmitted through or reflected off the cage. In the first experimental test of this "confinement resonance" theory, an international team produced and isolated xenon endofullerenes and observed confinement resonances.

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Direct-Write of Silicon and Germanium Nanostructures Print
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 00:00

A new strategy to "write" electronic silicon and germanium nanostructures could simplify nanomaterial electronic circuit fabrication by circumventing the difficult assembly step. PEEM-2 and PEEM-3 confirm the quality of the written nanostructures.

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Two Novel Ultra-Incompressible Materials Print
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 00:00

Materials that are mechanically, thermally, and chemically stable at extreme conditions are valuable for applications in aerospace engineering and fission/fusion research. A research team has now synthesized and characterized two novel materials that fit the bill: Rhenium nitrides Re2N and Re3N are both extremely incompressible.

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Cool Magnetic Molecules Print
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 00:00

Recently, the search for special molecules with a surprisingly large capacity to keep cool has heated up, driven by environmental and cost considerations as well as by recent improvements in our ability to design, assemble, and probe the structure and chemistry of small molecules.

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AP-XPS Measures MIEC Oxides in Action Print
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 00:00

Using ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, researchers provide the first in situ measurements of local surface oxidation states and electric potential in active MIEC electrodes (oxide materials that can conduct both electrons and oxygen ions), potentially valuable for high-temperature electrolysis and synthetic fuel production.

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New Morphological Paradigm Uncovered in Organic Solar Cells Print
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 00:00

Organic solar cell models traditionally assume a morphology with discrete interfaces between pure electron donor and acceptor materials, but recent studies found a substantial amount of molecular mixing between model materials. To uncover organic solar cells' maximum potential, the paradigm of device operation may need to be refined.

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A New Light on Disordered Ensembles Print
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 00:00

Researchers have demonstrated a lensless imaging method that amplifies the information in the x rays that scatter from disordered biomolecules, allowing the reconstruction of an image of a single molecule from minute fluctuations in the scattering from an ensemble of randomly oriented copies.

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Probing Strain-Induced Changes in Electronic Structure with XMCD Print
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 00:00

Soft x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) techniques are uniquely suited to provide detailed information about the impact of strain on the electronic properties of magnetic oxide nanoarchitectures, a result that is of great practical interest for strain engineering—i.e. tuning and controlling material properties through lattice distortions.

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Paving the Way to Nanoelectronics 16 nm and Smaller Print
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 00:00

High-quality 16-nm lines and spaces have been printed using the SEMATECH Berkeley Microfield Exposure Tool (MET)—the highest resolution ever achieved from a single-exposure projection optical lithography tool—advancing the development of a high-sensitivity photoresist with low line-edge roughness and sub-22-nm resolution.

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Giant Protease TPP II’s Structure, Mechanism Uncovered Print
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 00:00

Tripeptidyl peptidase II, the largest known eukaryotic protease, is implicated in numerous cellular processes including the degradation of endogenous satiety agent cholecystokinin–8, making it a target in the treatment of obesity. Understanding this molecular machine’s mechanisms of activation and proteolysis could expedite research.

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Superconducting Topological Insulators Print
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:00

ARPES studies show that it's possible to introduce superconductivity into a topological insulator. The resulting novel properties, such as relativistic electrons and quantum memory, may in the future provide the basis for a whole new type of computer.

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Topoisomerase II Structure Suggests Novel DNA Cleavage Mechanism Print
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 00:00

Type II topoisomerases regulate DNA supercoiling and separate interlocked chromosomes. These enzymes are also exploited clinically as targets of antibiotics and anticancer therapeutics. A new molecular model of type II topoisomerase linked to DNA provides evidence for the chemical mechanism of DNA cleavage and rejoining.

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The Surprising Appearance of Nanotubular Fullerene D5h(1)-C90 Print
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:00

The previously undetected fullerene D5h(1)-C90 has been isolated and structurally identified by single- crystal x-ray diffraction. The discovery of nanotubular D5h(1)-C90, a fullerene that shares some physical and electrical properties with nanotubes, provides a unique opportunity for cyllindrical fullerenes to serve as molecular models of nanotubes.

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Molecular Measurements of the Deep-Sea Oil Plume in the Gulf of Mexico Print
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:00

To study the effects of oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, researchers collected deep-water samples from across the Gulf of Mexico and analyzied their physical, chemical, and microbiological properties using a variety of techniques, including SR-FTIR.

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