A recent x-ray microscopy study at ALS Beamline 6.1.2 provided evidence that the ultrafast dynamics preceding magnetic vortex formation exhibits the characteristic chaotic behavior known as the butterfly effect, where minute changes can significantly determine the final outcome of a process.
ALS Work Using Microscopy/Imaging
These techniques use the light-source beam to obtain pictures with fine spatial resolution of the samples under study and are used in diverse research areas such as cell biology, lithography, infrared microscopy, radiology, and x-ray tomography.
Recent work at the ALS shows that the viruses infecting sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in the deep sea carry bacterial genes for the oxidation of elemental sulfur. Although the viruses themselves cannot use the sulfur, they likely supplement bacterial sulfur oxidation and then exploit the generated energy for viral replication. Read more »
Two research groups have recently published separate studies in which soft x-rays reveal how skyrmions—quasiparticles made up of spin vortices—react to external fields. Their work lays the foundation for understanding these fascinating constructs and eventually utilizing them in spintronic applications. Read more »
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 »
Researchers studying organic material from dinosaur bones have been able to show that the samples contained original soft tissue material from Mesozoic dinosaurs. The x-ray techniques at the ALS were key to showing a possible mechanism for this unexpected preservation.
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Lithium-ion batteries, popular in today’s electronic devices, could gain significant energy density if their graphite anodes were replaced with lithium metal anodes. But there’s a major concern with substituting lithium—when the battery cycles, microscopic fibers of the lithium anodes (“dendrites”) form on the surface of the lithium electrode and spread across the electrolyte until they reach the other electrode, possibly leading to short circuiting. Researchers have recently discovered that the x-ray microtomography capabilities at ALS Beamline 8.3.2 can give them a novel view of dendrite growth that’s likely to provide the insight needed to stop it. Read more »
Elemental and chemical imaging analyses showed that sea salt particles react with water-soluble organic acids in the atmosphere through a unique mechanism which had been overlooked in atmospheric chemistry. The reactions release volatile hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere and leave behind sea salt particles drained of chloride.
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Berkeley Lab and University of California researchers have developed a new technique for monitoring protein phosphorylation inside single living cells, enabling them to follow live cellular chemical changes without bias and without harming the cells. Read more »
Almost all bacteria can form biofilms—dynamic communities of cells enclosed in self-produced matrices of polymers. Researchers have developed a robust and label-free method to probe the chemical underpinnings of developing bacterial biofilms. Read more »
Researchers identified the chemical species present for an iron-based Fischer–Tropsch synthesis catalyst and to image their distribution on the nanoscale. When developed further, this new tool may give chemists the ability to design and tailor catalysts for maximum selectivity and efficiency in a wide range of chemical processes. Read more »