Developing ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) to replace the metal alloys traditionally used in jet engines has been a goal for the aviation industry for decades. For more than a year, GE Aviation has used the tomography capabilities at ALS Beamline 8.3.2 to gain insight into their CMC materials, guiding their engineering and design efforts. ... Read more »
A powerful soft x-ray microscope captures tomographic images of the genetic material in the nuclei of nerve cells at different stages of maturity. The detailed 3D visualizations show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material and provide a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture.
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Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and NASA are using x-rays to explore, via 3D visualizations, how the microscopic structures of spacecraft heat shield and parachute materials survive extreme temperatures and pressures, including simulated atmospheric entry conditions on Mars. ... Read more »
Lubricants help keep civilization running smoothly, but is there room for improvement? With the goal of increasing the life span and lowering the costs of all kinds of mechanical and biological systems, researchers used x-ray microtomography to visualize the behavior of grease additives under working conditions. ... Read more »
Scientists have mapped the reorganization of genetic material that takes place when a stem cell matures into a nerve cell. Detailed 3-D visualizations show an unexpected connectivity in the genetic material in a cell’s nucleus, and provide a new understanding of a cell’s evolving architecture. ... Read more »
Using an array of high-powered x-ray imaging techniques at the ALS, scientists have revealed for the first time the molecular steps that turn on bacteria’s pathogenic genes. The study could open up new avenues in the development of drugs to prevent or treat bacterial infection.
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In grapevines, “root pressure” was assumed to play a role in recovering from embolisms (blockages) in a plant’s water-transport systems during drought conditions. To clarify this, researchers used ALS Beamline 8.3.2 to obtain 3D microtomographic images of grapevine stem segments detached from roots and leaves. ... Read more »
To determine how a gene will function, we need to know the spatial arrangement of the genome in the nucleus. Researchers have made a significant advance in determining this 3D organization by combining modeling and probabilistic calculations with minimally perturbing imaging techniques. ... Read more »
Using a combination of high-speed video, molecular phylogenetic analysis, and x-ray microtomography of a family of tiny trap-jaw spiders, researchers discovered that power-amplified predatory strikes evolved four times independently, once the basic trap-jaw body plan was in place. ... Read more »
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.
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