Superhard materials such as metal borides are in demand as structural and engineering compounds and for next-generation cutting tools. Researchers have now synthesized a “solid solution” of two different metal borides, demonstrating the accuracy of theoretical predictions and opening the door to more targeted tuning of desirable characteristics. Read more »
ALS Work Using X-Ray Microdiffraction
Laser 3D printing is a promising way to repair machine parts (such as jet-engine turbine blades) made of single-crystal superalloys. But microstructural inhomogeneities created by the high-power laser are a major reliability concern, so researchers employed x-ray Laue microdiffraction to probe the microstructure. Read more »
Researchers have observed, for the first time, an exotic 3-D racetrack for electrons in ultrathin slices of a tiny crystal they made at Berkeley Lab. Read more »
Shape memory alloys can “remember” their original form and return to it repeatedly when heated. To gain structural insight into a new alloy capable of sustaining millions of cycles without failure, researchers performed x-ray Laue microdiffraction at ALS Beamline 12.3.2. Read more »
Scientists have provided the first direct evidence of a controversial phenomenon: the boundaries between magnetic regions in an electrical insulator can become electrically conductive. This discovery can potentially lead to improvements in future memory storage devices. Read more »
Ancient terra sigillata ceramics were the most famous and ubiquitous Roman tableware, yet when their manufacturing spread to other locations, some of the ceramics’ characteristics changed. Researchers from France and the ALS traced the changes.
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New insights into the ancient Romans’ ingenious concrete harbor structures emerging from ALS beamline research could move the modern concrete industry toward its goal of a reduced carbon footprint.
Analyses of ancient concrete samples pinpointed why the best Roman concrete was superior to most modern concrete in durability, why its manufacture was less environmentally damaging, and how these improvements could be adopted in the modern world. Read more »
In the chemical environments common in energy production plants, steel pipes and equipment can accumulate layers of iron sulfide, some of which are corrosion resistant and provide protection to the steel surface. Understanding how operating conditions affect steel surface layers can improve corrosion rate estimates, decreasing building and maintenance costs, and increasing the safety and reliability of operating plants. Chevron Energy Technology Company (Chevron ETC) is currently studying the link between operating conditions and corrosion properties at ALS to determine which corrosion layers form and in what order.
The effort to shift U.S. energy reliance from fossil fuels to renewable sources has spurred companies to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of their solar photovoltaics (SPVs). But thinner silicon is more susceptible to stress and cracking, leading one researcher from SunPower Corporation to mount a fundamental approach to systematically find stress and enable solutions for next-generation crystalline silicon SPV systems. Read more »