Rechargeable batteries based on magnesium, rather than lithium, have the potential to pack more energy into smaller batteries. However, researchers have discovered a surprising set of chemical reactions involving magnesium that degrade battery performance even before the battery can be charged up. ... Read more »
The first combined infrared spectroscopy and ambient-pressure XPS study was demonstrated at Beamline 11.0.2. The in situ vibrational and core-level spectroscopies in the Torr pressure range offer complementary information on the properties of surfaces and adsorbates while closing the pressure gap between laboratory measurements and applications. The multimodal spectroscopy also allowed the identification of the C 1s binding energy and quantification of an uncommon atop CO species on a Pd(100) surface. ... 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 »
Researchers have established that a particularly stable form of WTe2 is a two-dimensional topological insulator, confirming recent predictions. The findings should provide new opportunities for fundamental studies of topological phenomena and for next-generation spintronic applications.
... 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 »
Photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM) experiments have demonstrated that the circulation direction of a magnetic vortex can be switched by the application of an electric field, opening the door to digital devices with more streamlined system designs, improved performance, and greater energy efficiency.
... Read more »
A powdery mix of metal nanocrystals wrapped in single-layer sheets of carbon atoms shows promise for safely storing hydrogen for use with fuel cells for passenger vehicles and other uses. Now, a new study provides insight into the atomic details of the crystals’ ultrathin coating and how it serves as selective shielding while enhancing their performance in hydrogen storage. ... Read more »
Copper oxides are important for superconductivity applications but are difficult to understand due to complex charge, spin, and orbital interactions. Now, studies at the ALS have found such a system in which observations of effective electron mass are at odds with state-of-the-art electronic-structure calculations. ... Read more »
Skeletons of Stylophora pistillata corals form by the attachment of amorphous calcium carbonate precursor particles, formed within the coral tissue, to the coral skeleton surface. This mechanism is faster than the precipitation of ions from solution and may render the corals less susceptible to ocean acidification than previously assumed. ... Read more »
Scientists are seeking ways to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere by improving the processes that convert CO2 gas into ethanol (a liquid fuel). But copper, the best catalyst for this, is not very efficient. Now, ambient-pressure x-ray experiments have revealed how subsurface oxygen boosts copper’s catalytic activity.
... Read more »