Three distinct crystalline phases with different electronic, magnetic, and optical properties were reversibly induced in a material through the insertion and extraction of ions by an electric field at room temperature. Such multifunctional materials are desirable for many applications, from smart windows to spintronics. ... Read more »
Researchers have structurally and chemically “visualized” the surface of a silver–gold alloy as it reorganizes itself during catalytic activation. The insights gained from this methodology can lead to improved catalysts for energy-intensive industrial applications, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing waste.
... Read more »
Working at the ALS, researchers have found another family of materials where they can both explore the physics of 2D topological insulators and do experiments that may lead to future applications. The material—known as 1T’-WTe2—bridges two flourishing fields of research: that of so-called 2D materials and topological materials. ... Read more »
Researchers have demonstrated a novel way to systematically strain-engineer oxygen vacancies in complex transition-metal oxide thin films. The work advances our ability to tailor such defects, small changes in which can lead to dramatic changes in material properties such as conductivity and magnetism. ... Read more »
Lithium-sulfur batteries have great potential as a low-cost, high-energy, energy source for both vehicle and grid applications. However, they suffer from significant capacity fading. Now, scientists have found that carrageenan, a seaweed derivative, acts as a stabilizer, allowing for more cycling and an extended lifetime. ... Read more »
X-ray experiments, coupled with theoretical work, revealed how oxygen atoms embedded near the surface of a copper sample had a more dramatic effect on the early stages of a reaction with CO2 than accounted for in earlier theories. This work could prove useful in designing new catalysts for converting CO2 into liquid fuels and other products. ... Read more »
Researchers used x-ray fluorescence, spectroscopy, and diffraction to study how populations of symbiotic bacteria can act as a detox organ in a host with no organs. The bacteria, members of the species Entotheonella, accumulate and mineralize large quantities of arsenic and barium in sponges. ... Read more »
Aqueous carbonate systems are central to many processes essential to life, from the blood buffer system to the global carbon cycle. Using APXPS, researchers probed the concentration of carbonates near an interface, finding a surprising reversal in the expected abundances as a function of depth.
... Read more »
Ambient-pressure studies of the interface between a platinum electrode and an alkaline electrolyte revealed the molecular-level chemistry, structure, and dynamics of the platinum surface as a function of applied potential, highlighting differences between thermodynamic predictions and the actual surface composition. ... Read more »
A small amount of compressive strain turns a nonmetallic form of tin into a 3D topological Dirac semimetal—a kind of “supermetal” with very high electron mobility. With its rich topological phase diagram, the material shows promise for both novel physics and eventual device applications.
... Read more »