Some rocks can float on water for years at a time before eventually sinking. X-ray microtomography studies help explain how by scanning samples of lightweight, glassy, and porous volcanic rocks known as pumice stones. Their surprisingly long-lived buoyancy can help scientists discover underwater volcano eruptions. ... Read more »
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Scientists have sequenced the genome of a green alga that has drawn commercial interest as a strong producer of quality lipids for biofuel production. The chromosome-assembly genome of Chromochloris zofingiensis provides a blueprint for new discoveries in sustainable biofuels, antioxidants, and other valuable bioproducts. ... Read more »
A small amount of compressive strain turns a nonmetallic form of tin into a topological Dirac semimetal—a kind of “supermetal” with very high electron mobility. With its rich topological phase diagram, the material shows promise for both novel physics and eventual device applications. ... Read more »
The User Forum, also known as “Cookie Time,” has returned to the ALS. Every other Thursday at 3 p.m., ALS users and staff are invited to mix and mingle in the downstairs lobby over cookies and coffee. The ALS operating schedule lists specific dates for the events. ... Read more »
Two-dimensional materials represent a promising new frontier in the field of optoelectronics. Most progress so far, however, has been in the visible-light range. Now, at the ALS, researchers have measured the infrared transmission spectra of ultrathin samples of black phosphorus under an applied electric field.
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On April 13 the ALS convened a workshop entitled “Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy: Theory and Experiment, Hand-in-Hand.” The event brought together soft x-ray experimentalists and materials theorists to discuss potential collaborations and areas of soft x-ray spectroscopy that would benefit from more robust theory. ... Read more »
A group of scientists used Laue x-ray microdiffraction at the ALS to probe plastic deformation mechanisms at the nanoscale. Their findings may overturn conventional theory and reshape our understanding of the mechanical behavior of a host of nanocrystalline metals. ... Read more »
On Wednesday, March 29, the COherent Scattering and MICroscopy (COSMIC) Beamline (7.0.1) achieved first light, a significant milestone in the ALS’s plans to capitalize on recent gains in soft x-ray coherence provided by modern storage-ring light sources. ... Read more »
The veins of living leaves at increasing levels of drought stress were visualized using x-ray microtomography. The results expand our view of leaf drought responses, beyond the traditional embolism-centric view, to a broader focus on the role of the surrounding living tissues in water movement during drought. ... Read more »
Curved β sheets are basic building blocks of many protein cavities that, by serving as binding sites for other molecules, are essential to protein function. β-sheet curvature can now be controlled with atomic-level accuracy, opening the door to custom-designed sites capable of entirely new functions.
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