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 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 »
Two-dimensional materials represent a promising new frontier in the field of optoelectronics. Most progress so far, however, has been in the visible-light range. Now, at the ALS, researchers have measured the infrared transmission spectra of ultrathin samples of black phosphorus under an applied electric field.
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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 »
Electrochemical (battery) cells with aqueous electrolytes can be safe, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly, but they are limited by a narrow voltage window. X-ray absorption spectroscopy helps explain why an aqueous Na-ion system with Mn5O8 electrodes has a large voltage window and performs comparably to Li-ion batteries. ... Read more »
ARPES directly reveals for the first time how electronic states are altered when epitaxial graphene is deposited on a substrate of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). The interaction between the materials in this heterostructure greatly improves its suitability for advanced, ultralow-power device applications.
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Researchers have found a new way to control magnetism at the atomic level that will serve as a model for studying emergent phenomena in other systems. The ability to engineer and tune properties on such small length scales can (eventually) enable us to design exciting new magnetic devices. ... Read more »
Experiments confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function. The SINS study is an important step in chronicling how the atomic structure of nanoparticles impacts their function as catalysts in chemical reactions. ... Read more »
Researchers have published a series of papers that open up the possibility of probing hydrogen bonds in aqueous solutions by combining x-ray emission spectroscopy and resonant inelastic soft x-ray scattering, using the specialized Solid and Liquid Spectroscopic Analysis (SALSA) endstation at Beamline 8.0.1. ... Read more »
A team of researchers has employed a combination of measurements, including x-ray experiments at the ALS, to gather the most detailed information yet on problematic carbon-based deposits called “coke,” and to find ways to prevent its formation or reduce its effects. ... Read more »