A parrotfish’s hardy teeth allow it to chomp on coral all day long, ultimately grinding it up through digestion into fine sand. Researchers wanting to see how the fine crystal structure of parrotfish teeth contribute to their incredible strength were able to visualize the orientation of individual crystals, which showed their intricately woven structure. ... Read more »
The bacterium, H. modesticaldum, is thought to have a photosynthetic reaction center resembling the earliest common ancestor of all photosynthesis complexes. Its molecular structure has now been solved, providing insight into the evolution of photosynthesis and how nature optimized light-driven energy collection. ... Read more »
CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins have revolutionized gene editing by vastly simplifying the insertion of short snippets of new (“donor”) DNA into very specific locations of target DNA. Now, researchers have discovered how the Cas proteins are able to recognize the target locations with such great specificity.
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Resonant soft x-ray scattering (RSoXS) at the carbon K-edge was used to probe periodic structures of phases with orientational molecular order but homogeneous electron density distribution. This approach can be applied to structures with periodicities below the optical wavelength, to which neither optical nor classical x-ray diffraction techniques are sensitive. ... Read more »
To celebrate DOE’s 40th anniversary (October 1, 2017), the Office of Science (SC) collected 40 scientific milestones from the previous 40 years, each one supported by SC. The ALS played a key role in two of the milestones: 2005 (ribosome) and 2009 (topological materials). ... Read more »
Sickle cell disease (SCD), which affects millions of people worldwide, has traditionally been treated with a cytotoxic drug that has a range of negative side effects and variable patient response. Bay Area biopharmaceutical company Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) is on a mission to develop a better treatment and is using the ALS to help.
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Lead halide perovskites have emerged as high-performance photovoltaic materials, demonstrating remarkably rapid improvements in efficiency. In situ printing and time-resolved x-ray characterization have provided new insights into the relationship between device efficiency, perovskite crystallinity, and film morphology. ... Read more »
Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are hollow protein shells that encapsulate enzymes involved in bacterial metabolism. Crystallography studies have provided atomic-resolution views of a fully assembled BMC, revealing basic principles of shell construction for fighting pathogens or bioengineering applications.
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Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) last a long time and are very energy efficient. However, white LEDs currently rely on phosphor materials doped with rare-earth elements (REEs) that are increasingly costly and in short supply. A new class of hybrid phosphor materials shows promise as REE-free alternatives. ... Read more »
Researchers used x-ray microdiffraction to trace the complex sequences of crystal growth in concrete from ancient Roman pier and breakwater sites. The results indicate that minerals continue to form over millennia as seawater percolates through, reinforcing the cementing matrix in a kind of regenerative process. ... Read more »