“Safety is elemental” is the latest safety tagline for the ALS and Berkeley Lab, and it also pretty much sums up the mission of laser safety officers Greta Toncheva and Robert Fairchild. Toncheva and Fairchild share the responsibility of ensuring laser safety lab-wide, with Toncheva responsible for overseeing laser safety operations at the ALS. Read more »
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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.
Analyses of ancient concrete samples pinpointed why the best Roman concrete was superior to most modern concrete in durability, why its manufacture was less environmentally damaging, and how these improvements could be adopted in the modern world. Read more »
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.
Using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), researchers have shown that the number of conduction electrons in anatase, as well as their degree of correlation, can be patterned by exposure to UV light in a controllable and reversible way. Read more »
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 »
Pictured is an illustration of several nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) embedded in a cell nucleus. NPCs act as gatekeepers between a cell’s cytoplasm and its nucleus. Based on crystallographic analyses, Sozanne R. Solmaz et al. uncover the molecular mechanism that underlies the large changes in diameter of NPCs and suggest a “ring cycle” mechanism for dilating and constricting the central NPC channel. The model could explain the ability of NPCs to accommodate transport substrates of a large size range and rapidly adjust to cellular transport needs. Read more »
This schematic of x-ray scattering is from a spiral antiferromagnet with a spin structure that gives rise to domains with jamming behavior. Using resonant magnetic x-ray photon correlation spectroscopy, this research shows that the domains of a spiral antiferromagnet enter a jammed state at the onset of long-range order. Researchers found that slow thermal fluctuations of the domain walls exhibit a compressed exponential relaxation with an exponent of 1.5 found in a wide variety of solid-like jammed systems and can be qualitatively explained in terms of stress release in a stressed network. As the temperature decreases, the energy barrier for fluctuations becomes large enough to arrest further domain wall fluctuations, and the domains freeze into a spatial configuration within 10 K of the Néel temperature. The relaxation times can be fitted with the Vogel-Fulcher law as observed in polymers, glasses, and colloids, thereby indicating that the dynamics of domain walls in an ordered antiferromagnet exhibit some of the universal features associated with jamming behavior. Read more »