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 »
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 »
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 »
Vanadyl phosphate can theoretically accept twice the number of lithium ions as battery materials currently in use. In practice, however, it doesn’t live up to expectations. New research at Beamline 6.3.1 using a variety of hard and soft x-ray spectroscopies helps zero in on why. ... Read more »
Scientists working at the ALS have made the first unambiguous, direct measurements of ac spin currents flowing through nanostructured metal layers. The work represents a crucial step toward the development of future spintronic devices that are smaller, faster, and more energy efficient.
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Scientists have successfully paired ferroelectric and ferrimagnetic materials so that their alignment can be controlled with a small electric field at near room temperatures, an achievement that could open doors to ultralow-power microprocessors, storage devices and next-generation electronics. ... Read more »
Solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a promising path toward the “clean” conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy with little or no carbon dioxide emission. With the help of the ALS, researchers from MIT recently found a way to treat SOFC cathode surfaces so that they perform better and last longer.
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Rain’s reputation for cleansing the air may come with a caveat after new findings, including STXM and NEXAFS data, show that raindrops play a role in generating airborne organic particles. The findings could influence how scientists model our planet’s climate and future. ... Read more »