As battery electrodes, layered transition-metal (TM) oxides demonstrate storage capacities far beyond what’s explained solely by TM redox activity. In this work, measurements of the lattice oxygen redox activity in two lithium-rich layered oxides showed strong oxygen redox when manganese was the TM, but not with ruthenium. Read more »
A new tool lets researchers pinpoint the locations of chemical reactions happening inside batteries in three dimensions at the nanoscale level. Combining ptychography, tomography, and spectroscopy, Nanosurveyor 1 is a multidimensional tool providing novel insight into the design of next-generation batteries and devices. Read more »
Machine-learning techniques have been used to integrate fine- and large-scale infrared characterizations of shale—sedimentary rocks composed of minerals and organic matter. Understanding shale chemistry at both the nano and mesoscale is relevant to energy production, climate-change mitigation, and sustainable water and land use. Read more »
Operando x-ray absorption spectroscopy experiments revealed the electrochemical reaction mechanism of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) electrodes in lithium-ion battery cells. The work unambiguously clarifies that the MoS2 conversion reaction is not reversible and that the Li2S formed is converted to sulfur in the first charge process. Read more »
A ferromagnetic thin film on a piezoelectric substrate offers a way to control magnetization in ultralow-power devices by relying on coupling between the piezoelectric and ferromagnetic components. At the ALS, researchers were able to image the electrically induced magnetic behavior and correlate it with the piezo-strain driving it. Read more »
The spontaneous formation of chiral structures from achiral molecules could shed light on the origin of biological homochirality—how one type of chirality dominated the other in certain biological molecules. Here, resonant soft x-ray scattering (RSoXS) has been used to explore helical phases that emerge from achiral asymmetric dimers. Read more »
Electronic vortex structures have been found to emerge from engineered samples of alternating complex-oxide layers. Resonant soft x-ray diffraction (RSXD) studies using circularly polarized x-rays revealed the vortices’ left- and right-handedness. The intriguing results open the door to electrically controllable chiral devices. Read more »
X-ray absorption spectroscopy and other techniques were used to measure the organic chemical components in a pair of meteorites that crashed to Earth in 1998. The study treads new ground in solar system history and asteroid geology, surfacing exciting possibilities for the existence of life elsewhere in Earth’s neighborhood.
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Parrotfish chew on coral, producing hundreds of pounds of sand each year. Mapping the microstructure of parrotfish teeth, scientists found bundles of crystals interwoven like chain mail. The results provide a blueprint for creating ultra-durable materials for mechanical components that undergo repetitive contact, movement, and abrasion. Read more »
If you add more lithium to the positive electrode of a lithium-ion battery, it can store much more charge in the same amount of space, theoretically powering an electric car 30 to 50 percent farther between charges. But these lithium-rich cathodes quickly lose voltage, and years of research have not been able to pin down why—until now.
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