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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.



Electron Correlation in Iron-Based Superconductors Print
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 00:00

With a maximum superconducting transition temperature (so far) of 55 K, it is natural to wonder if studying new materials will help uncover one of the deepest mysteries in modern physics—the mechanism of superconductivity in the copper-based "high-temperature superconductors."

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Imaging Antifungal Drug Molecules in Action using Soft X-Ray Tomography Print
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 00:00

There is a pressing need to develop new types of drugs capable of circumventing yeast drug-resistance mechanisms. To this end Stanford, University of California, San Francisco and LBNL researchers have used soft x-ray tomography to image the 3-D structure of both benign and infectious C. albicans yeast.

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A New Route to Nano Self-Assembly Print
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 00:00

Researchers have found a way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays. By adding specific types of small molecules to mixtures of nanoparticles and polymers, they were able to direct the self-assembly of nanoparticles into arrays of one, two, and even three dimensions with no chemical modification.

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Structures for Three Membrane Transport Proteins Yield Functional Insights Print
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:00

Membrane transport proteins are the gatekeepers that control contact with the world outside the cell by catalyzing the flow of ions and molecules across cell membranes. Malfunctioning transport proteins can lead to cancer, inflammatory, and neurological diseases.

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Proton Channel Orientation in Block-Copolymer Electrolyte Membranes Print
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:00

Fuel cells have the potential to provide power for a wide variety of applications ranging from electronic devices to transportation vehicles. Cells operating with H2 and air as inputs and electric power and water as the only outputs are of particular interest because of their ability to produce power without degrading the environment.

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Using Light to Control How X Rays Interact with Matter Print
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:00

A Berkeley Lab–Argonne National Laboratory group has now used powerful visible-light lasers to render a nominally opaque material transparent to x rays. While x-ray transparency will have immediate applications at x-ray light sources, the important result is that the findings lay a foundation for a broader spectrum of applications.

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Proofreading RNA: Structure of RNA Polymerase II's Backtracked State Print
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00

For genes to be expressed, a complementary strand of RNA must be produced from a DNA template. During this process of transcription, a special class of enzyme called RNA polymerase moves along the DNA template, reading the DNA and producing an RNA complement.

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X-Ray Imaging of the Dynamic Magnetic Vortex Core Deformation Print
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00

Magnetic thin-film nanostructures can exhibit a magnetic vortex state in which the magnetization vectors lie in the film plane and curl around in a closed loop. At the very center of the vortex, a small, stable core exists where the magnetization points either up or down out of the plane.

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Protein Bridges DNA Base and Nucleotide Excision Repair Pathways Print
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00

Alkyltransferase proteins (AGT) protect cells from the biological effects of DNA damage caused by the addition of alkyl groups (alkylation). Alkyltransferase-like proteins (ATLs) can do the same, but they lack the reactive cysteine residue that allows the alkyltransferase function, and the mechanism for cell protection has remained unknown.

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Robust, High-Throughput Analysis of Protein Structures Print
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00

Scientists have developed a fast and efficient way to determine the structure of proteins, shortening a process that often takes years into a matter of days.

 

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Harnessing the Bacterial Power of Nanomagnets Print
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 00:00

Nanometer-size magnets have wide-ranging uses, from directed cancer therapy and drug delivery systems to magnetic recording media and transducers. Such applications require the production of nanoparticles with well-controlled size and tunable magnetic properties.

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Bilayer Graphene Gets a Bandgap Print
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

Graphene is the two-dimensional crystalline form of carbon whose extraordinary electron mobility and other unique features hold great promise for nanoscale electronics and photonics. But without a bandgap, graphene's promise can't be realized.

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Hybrid Rotaxanes: Interlocked Structures for Quantum Computing? Print
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

Rotaxanes are mechanically interlocked molecular architectures consisting of a dumbbell-shaped molecule, the “axle,” that threads through a ring called a macrocycle. Because the rings can spin around and slide along the axle, rotaxanes are promising components of molecular machines.

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Stochastic Domain-Wall Depinning in Magnetic Nanowires Print
Wednesday, 29 July 2009 00:00

Reliably controlling the motion of magnetic domain walls along magnetic nanowires is a key requirement for current technological development of novel classes of logic and storage devices, but understanding the nature of non-deterministic domain-wall motion remains a scientific challenge.

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Towards Heavy Fermions in Europium Intermetallic Compounds Print
Wednesday, 29 July 2009 00:00

A new study of a europium-based compound hints that this compound could join well-known compounds of cerium, ytterbium, and uranium as a new material suitable for research on quantum critical transitions.

 

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