Scientists are seeking ways to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere by improving the processes that convert CO2 gas into ethanol (a liquid fuel). But copper, the best catalyst for this, is not very efficient. Now, ambient-pressure x-ray experiments have revealed how subsurface oxygen boosts copper’s catalytic activity. ... Read more »
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In situ electrical conductivity and x-ray tomography experiments were conducted on a conductive polymer composite containing polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) copolymer, copper (Cu), and tin (Sn) during thermal annealing. This study provides detailed insight into the morphological origins of the beneficial effect of thermal annealing on the electrical properties of conductive composites containing low melting metal fillers. ... Read more »
Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are hollow protein shells that encapsulate enzymes involved in bacterial metabolism. Crystallography studies have provided atomic-resolution views of a fully assembled BMC, revealing basic principles of shell construction for fighting pathogens or bioengineering applications.
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Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) last a long time and are very energy efficient. However, white LEDs currently rely on phosphor materials doped with rare-earth elements (REEs) that are increasingly costly and in short supply. A new class of hybrid phosphor materials shows promise as REE-free alternatives. ... Read more »
Marie Jackson (pictured center, with ALS scientists Nobumichi Tamura and Camelia Stan), an ALS User from the University of Utah, was recently featured on Science Friday. She discussed her work on understanding crystal growth in Roman concrete (featured in this month’s science brief) with host Ira Flatow. Listen to the segment. ... Read more »
The deadline for nominations for the 2017 ALS User Meeting awards has been extended to July 31. Consider putting forward an individual (or team) who has made a significant contribution to the scientific and/or user support programs at the ALS. The online nomination forms are on the UEC website together with a description of each award. ... Read more »
“After more than 10 years as ALS Director, I will be stepping down later this year to return to teaching and research on campus. Berkeley Lab will soon begin the process of searching for a new ALS Director, and my plan is to be here until new leadership is identified.” ... Read more »
Jinghua Guo has been a part of the ALS since the early days. His original research focus is still one of his top interests now—studies of in situ capabilities of catalysts in gases and liquids and chemical processes. Guo also studies nanostructured materials, energy materials, and water and environmental sciences at Beamline 8.0.1 and also at 184.108.40.206. ... Read more »
Researchers used x-ray microdiffraction to trace the complex sequences of crystal growth in concrete from ancient Roman pier and breakwater sites. The results indicate that minerals continue to form over millennia as seawater percolates through, reinforcing the cementing matrix in a kind of regenerative process. ... Read more »
The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen recently linked to birth defects in infants. At the ALS, researchers have resolved the structure of a key ZIKV protein to 3.0 Å, an important step toward the rational design of drugs capable of disrupting viral functions and halting the spread of the disease.
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