When Rachel Haurwitz joined UC Berkeley biology professor Jennifer Doudna’s lab in 2007 as a graduate student, little did the two women know that the interesting bacterial immune system they were studying would be the subject of news headlines and the basis for a biotech startup just a few years later.
Toyota has been working at the ALS for a few years now to gain deeper insight into the chemistry of electrolytes for use in magnesium-ion batteries. The hope is that the research eventually leads to a fully developed magnesium-based battery technology that would replace lithium-ion batteries with essentially twice the energy in the same volume. Toyota hopes to move toward this goal more quickly through a new collaborative research project at the ALS and the Molecular Foundry. Read more »
Lithium-ion batteries, popular in today’s electronic devices, could gain significant energy density if their graphite anodes were replaced with lithium metal anodes. But there’s a major concern with substituting lithium—when the battery cycles, microscopic fibers of the lithium anodes (“dendrites”) form on the surface of the lithium electrode and spread across the electrolyte until they reach the other electrode, possibly leading to short circuiting. Researchers have recently discovered that the x-ray microtomography capabilities at ALS Beamline 8.3.2 can give them a novel view of dendrite growth that’s likely to provide the insight needed to stop it. Read more »
Vanadium dioxide, one of the few known materials that acts like an insulator at low temperatures but like a metal at warmer temperatures, is a somewhat futuristic material that could yield faster and much more energy-efficient electronic devices. Researchers from IBM’s forward-thinking Spintronic Science and Applications Center (SpinAps) recently used the ALS to gain greater insight into vanadium dioxide’s unusual phase transition. Read more »
Genentech has developed a unique one-armed antibody, onartuzumab, which is now in late-stage clinical trials in multiple cancer types. The company used crystal structures obtained at ALS Beamline 5.0.2 to demonstrate the mechanism of action of this unique potentially therapeutic antibody. Read more »
New insights into the ancient Romans’ ingenious concrete harbor structures emerging from ALS beamline research could move the modern concrete industry toward its goal of a reduced carbon footprint.
Using ALS tomography capabilities, the EPA is currently investigating how biochar, a promising biofuel byproduct, sorbs environmental toxins and which kinds of biochar are the most effective. The possibilities for widespread use have already launched entrepreneurial commercial ventures.
TE Connectivity designs and manufactures more than 500,000 different electronic connectivity products for the automotive, energy, industrial, broadband communications, consumer device, healthcare, aerospace, and defense industries. TE has been investigating how ALS tomography capabilities can help the company develop more efficient connectors.
In the chemical environments common in energy production plants, steel pipes and equipment can accumulate layers of iron sulfide, some of which are corrosion resistant and provide protection to the steel surface. Understanding how operating conditions affect steel surface layers can improve corrosion rate estimates, decreasing building and maintenance costs, and increasing the safety and reliability of operating plants. Chevron Energy Technology Company (Chevron ETC) is currently studying the link between operating conditions and corrosion properties at ALS to determine which corrosion layers form and in what order.
The effort to shift U.S. energy reliance from fossil fuels to renewable sources has spurred companies to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of their solar photovoltaics (SPVs). But thinner silicon is more susceptible to stress and cracking, leading one researcher from SunPower Corporation to mount a fundamental approach to systematically find stress and enable solutions for next-generation crystalline silicon SPV systems. Read more »