It turns out your skin is crawling with single-celled microorganisms—and they’re not just bacteria. A study by Berkeley Lab and the Medical University of Graz has found that the skin microbiome also contains archaea, a type of extreme-loving microbe, and that the amount of it varies with age. ... 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 »
Scientists have sequenced the genome of a green alga that has drawn commercial interest as a strong producer of quality lipids for biofuel production. The chromosome-assembly genome of Chromochloris zofingiensis provides a blueprint for new discoveries in sustainable biofuels, antioxidants, and other valuable bioproducts. ... Read more »
On Wednesday, March 29, the COherent Scattering and MICroscopy (COSMIC) Beamline (7.0.1) achieved first light, a significant milestone in the ALS’s plans to capitalize on recent gains in soft x-ray coherence provided by modern storage-ring light sources. ... 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 »
A new study confirms that structural defects and jagged surfaces at the edges of platinum and gold nanoparticles are key hot spots for chemical reactivity. The experiments should help researchers customize the structural properties of catalysts to make them more effective in fostering chemical reactions.
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Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) synthesize chains of magnetic nanocrystals (magnetosomes) that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field like an inner compass needle, simplifying their search for optimum environments. Ptychographic spectra of magnetosomes from a marine MTB provides insight into how these inner compasses form. ... Read more »
A powerful soft x-ray microscope captures tomographic images of the genetic material in the nuclei of nerve cells at different stages of maturity. The detailed 3D visualizations show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material and provide a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture.
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Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and NASA are using x-rays to explore, via 3D visualizations, how the microscopic structures of spacecraft heat shield and parachute materials survive extreme temperatures and pressures, including simulated atmospheric entry conditions on Mars. ... Read more »