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 »
High-pressure experiments at Beamline 12.2.2 on ferropericlase—the presumed weakest mineral found in the Earth’s lower mantle—help explain why subducted slabs of Earth’s crust stall at a depth of around 1000 km (~625 miles). Read more »
Ancient plankton shells can record the physical and chemical state of the ocean in which they grew. Decoding these signals can reveal changes in global climate, atmospheric CO2, and the acidity of the oceans in deep geologic time.
New studies of space dust captured by NASA’s Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector have shown that interstellar particles may be much more complex in structure and composition than previously thought. Read more »
“Criegee intermediates” are elusive molecules that play a pivotal role in atmospheric chemistry and are also byproducts of key combustion reactions. At the Chemical Dynamics Beamline, the reaction rates of one form of Criegee intermediate was directly measured for the first time, with some surprising results. Read more »
To study the effects of oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, researchers collected deep-water samples from across the Gulf of Mexico and analyzied their physical, chemical, and microbiological properties using a variety of techniques, including SR-FTIR. Read more »
Researchers from the ALS, Berkeley Lab’s National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory analyzed biofilm samples rich in zinc sulfide and dominated by sulfate-reducing bacteria, which were collected from lead–zinc mine waters.
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NASA’s $200-million, seven-year-long Stardust mission returned to Earth thousands of tiny particles snagged from the coma of comet 81P/Wild 2. Four ALS beamlines and the researchers using them were among the hundreds of scientists and dozens of experimental techniques in facilities around the world that contributed to the preliminary examination of the first samples.
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