Mars may have been a wetter place than previously thought, according to experiments on lab-synthesized mineral samples serving as proxies for Martian meteorites. Shock experiments followed by x-ray diffraction studies showed how changes in the minerals could indicate a more water-rich history for the Red Planet. ... Read more »
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 »
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 »
Researchers have shown that the thickness of the nacre, or mother-of-pearl, that lines the insides of mollusk shells can be used to estimate ocean temperatures as far back as the early Jurassic period. X-ray studies of modern and ancient shells help establish the method’s feasibility. ... Read more »
Tiny, glowing crystals designed to detect and capture heavy-metal toxins such as lead and mercury could prove to be a powerful new tool in locating and cleaning up contaminated water sources. The crystals function like miniature, reusable sensors and traps, and are known as luminescent metal-organic frameworks, or LMOFs. ... Read more »
Rain’s reputation for cleansing the air may come with a caveat after new findings, including STXM and NEXAFS data, show that raindrops play a role in generating airborne organic particles. The findings could influence how scientists model our planet’s climate and future. ... Read more »
In grapevines, “root pressure” was assumed to play a role in recovering from embolisms (blockages) in a plant’s water-transport systems during drought conditions. To clarify this, researchers used ALS Beamline 8.3.2 to obtain 3D microtomographic images of grapevine stem segments detached from roots and leaves. ... Read more »
ALS research has shown that manganese reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions are an important factor in controlling the rate of plant debris decomposition. Understanding the role of manganese will help build better models to predict how litter decomposition rates—and thus nutrient cycling and the ecosystem carbon balance—may behave in future climate scenarios.
... Read more »
Researchers have made significant headway in the quest to convert CO2 into valuable chemical products such as fuels, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Recent work at the ALS has shown MOFs and COFs as a valuable new class of CO2 reduction catalysts.
... Read more »
To better understand the effects of organic aerosols on climate, pollution, and health, researchers measured aerosol reaction rates at ALS Beamline 9.0.2. They discovered an unexpectedly large acceleration in aerosol oxidation in the presence of anthropogenic pollutants commonly found in smoggy air, a result that could help bring models closer in line with observations.
... Read more »