Berkeley Lab has a well-storied expertise in exploring samples of extraterrestrial origin. This research—which has helped us to understand the makeup and origins of objects within and beyond our solar system—stems from long-standing core capabilities in structural and chemical analyses and measurement at the microscale and nanoscale. Read more »
Experiments conducted at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) helped to confirm that samples of interplanetary particles—collected from Earth’s upper atmosphere and believed to originate from comets—contain dust left over from the initial formation of the solar system. 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 »
Researchers discovered an innovative way to independently control two optical responses in a single-material system by utilizing the material’s phase diagram. This unique combination of material, methods, and results could lead to a paradigm shift in the design of metamaterial devices that manipulate light.
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A new study suggests that water may be more common than expected at extreme depths approaching 400 miles and possibly beyond—within Earth’s lower mantle. The study explored microscopic pockets of a trapped form of crystallized water molecules in a sampling of diamonds from around the world. Read more »
Scientists have put the x-ray spotlight on composite materials in respirators used by the military, police, and first responders. The results provide reassuring news about the effectiveness of current filters and provide fundamental information that could lead to more advanced gas masks as well as protective gear for civilian applications. Read more »
Genetic analyses and infrared studies have found that archaea, a type of microbe commonly found in extreme environments, are also found on human skin. The results suggest that an increase in archaea is linked to reduced skin moisture and that they are most abundant in subjects younger than 12 and older than 60. Read more »
Two-dimensional materials represent a promising new frontier in the field of optoelectronics. Most progress so far, however, has been in the visible-light range. Now, at the ALS, researchers have measured the infrared transmission spectra of ultrathin samples of black phosphorus under an applied electric field.
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Experiments confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function. The SINS study is an important step in chronicling how the atomic structure of nanoparticles impacts their function as catalysts in chemical reactions. Read more »
Using synchrotron infrared nanospectroscopy (SINS) at the ALS, researchers have for the first time probed infrared plasmonic excitations in single nanocrystals. This allowed the pinpointing of dopant effects on an emerging class of materials with potential for molecular-sensing and energy-harvesting applications. Read more »