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September 18, 2019
In metallic glasses, atoms are arranged randomly, leading to unique properties. These glasses are brittle. A map of calculated “strength” in the structure shows “hard” and “soft” spots. The team predicts the soft spots are the sites that initiate failure.
Even Hard Materials Have Soft Spots
Scientists find the weak points to facilitate industrial applications of metallic glasses.
September 18, 2019
Waves of heat, called phonons, cause atoms to rotate in a certain direction. Selenium atoms (yellow) collectively go through a clockwise circular atomic motion while the tungsten atoms (blue) don’t move.
2-D Atoms Do the Twist
Scientists discover a completely new atomic motion in a 2-D material.
September 10, 2019
The position of a charged monomer (blue dots) along a polymer chain impacts the final structures (structures 1, 3, and 5 from the sequence library) following assembly into micelles (bottom).
Location, Location, Location… How charge placement can control a self-assembled structure.
Location, Location, Location… How charge placement can control a self-assembled structure.
September 10, 2019
Electron microscopy of crack injection. Corrosion creates a nanoporous layer in the material (left) that propagates almost twice as far into the grain boundary as it does away from the boundary. The right image shows an injected crack.
Cracking in Harsh Environments Needs Stress and Corrosion, But Not at the Same Time
Redefining the mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking for materials in energy generation and industrial systems.
September 10, 2019
In a novel simultaneous clean-and-repair mechanism, flowing oil-in-water droplets move nanoparticle (NP) debris, shown as green spheres, into the cracks. The droplets pick up the NPs, then deposit them in the cracked regions.
Simultaneous Clean and Repair
Simple fluid-driven nanoparticle catch-and-release process directs repair of cracks with debris from the damage.
August 23, 2019
A faceted metal island of the rare-earth element dysprosium formed under a layer of graphite. The team deposited the metal at 577 degrees Celsius after they bombarded graphite with argon ions.
Getting Metal Under Graphite’s Skin
A new route to make metal beneath a layer of graphite opens potentially new applications in solar cells and quantum computing.
August 23, 2019
A molecular model of the team’s designer nanosheet shows loop structures of sugars that bind to the Shiga toxin, which causes dysentery. Artificial peptides, named peptoids by the inventing team, assemble themselves into ordered nanosheets.
Tiny, Sugar-Coated Sheets Selectively Target Pathogens
Researchers design self-assembling nanosheets that mimic the surface of cells.
August 23, 2019
A team used kinetic and mechanistic data from model studies to create an approach that could predict the selectivity of a catalyst. They tested it on a nanoporous gold catalyst under a large range of experimentally relevant conditions.
Crossing the Great Divide Between Model Studies and Applied Reactors in Catalysis
Controlled pulses of chemicals over a wide pressure range can link fundamental studies to practical performance, informing catalyst design.
August 23, 2019
FIONA is a new system at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron that enables direct mass number measurements of superheavy elements.
Building a Scale to Weigh Superheavy Elements
Expanding our understanding of the structure and decay properties of some of the most exotic elements.
August 16, 2019
The electrical conductivity of a single atomic layer of iron selenium (FeSe) deposited on an electrically insulating crystal (strontium titanate, SrTiO3) can be strongly modified when exposed to light.
This Superconductor Does Not Take Light Lightly
Low-power ultraviolet light manipulation of superconductivity may lead to next-generation quantum devices.
August 16, 2019
A representation of the shift of atoms after the electrons are excited by an ultrafast pulse of light. Before and after positions are superimposed, showing transitions. Scattering data taken at a tenth (top) and one picosecond (bottom).
Excited Atoms Rush Independently to New Positions
Ultrafast X-rays track how associated pairs of atoms find new locations when triggered by light.
August 15, 2019
Combined X-ray diffraction and tomographic image of a crack deflection event at the boundary between two metal grains (labeled G1 and G2). The crack deflects toward the vertical.
Atomically Packed Boundaries Resist Cracking
Penetrating X-ray mapping technique measures atomic character of crack propagation, which could lead to tougher metals.
August 15, 2019
(left) Surface diffusion of lithium ions across battery nanoparticles changes an electrode. (right) A molecular dynamics simulation of liquid-assisted surface diffusion of lithium ions.
End-run Spreads Lithium Throughout Battery Electrodes
A new path is identified to keep lithium in its place during battery discharge, benefitting efforts to design better energy storage options.
August 6, 2019
The reorganization of nearby water molecules caused a pore in a material built from proteins to open (left) and close (right). Pore closing leads to expulsion of ordered water molecules close to the protein surface.
Cultivating the Assembly Landscape
Knowing how to assemble a porous architecture from proteins able to morph from one shape to another could benefit filtration, other applications.
August 6, 2019
Time series of a machine-learning–based coarse-grained simulation, ML-BOPdih, provides snapshots spanning ~1 microsecond (t=time) showing evolution of grain boundaries (green) between regions of hexagonal (blue) and cubic (orange) ice.
Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water
Models use a fraction of the computational cost of today’s best atom-based water models.
June 19, 2019
Hybrids expand and contract. Light micrographs (top) show the expansion and contraction of a crystal-gel hybrid. In the top, i-vi correspond to the red circles (time points) in the bottom. The separation between the ruler’s major ticks is 100 micrometers.
Highly Elastic and Self-Healing Protein Crystals
Infusion of a specialized gel throughout a protein structure produces highly expandable crystals that could find use in energy conversion & filtration
June 19, 2019
Scientists demonstrate the polymer healing process and recovery of extreme stretchability.
Super-stretchy, Self-healing, Tunable Polymers
Discovery of novel polymers with extreme stretching, vibration suppression, and self-healing.
June 19, 2019
Schematic illustration of the selenium (Se) impregnation process (top images), photograph of the resulting Se-impregnated carbon cathode material (bottom left), and scanning electron microscope analysis cross-section showing uniform distribution of Se.
Novel Electrodes Enhance Battery Capacity
New self-supporting composite metal material doubles the volumetric energy and achieves fast charging rates in batteries.
June 13, 2019
Topologically directed design of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for separating mixtures. By using linker molecules with different aspect ratios (thanks to structures bptc and abtc), scientists obtained two robust MOFs with different structures.
Designer Frameworks for Refining Higher Octane Fuels
Metal-organic frameworks designed with a topology-guided approach show higher efficiency than commercial benchmarks.
June 11, 2019
A team identified RE3Bi7 (RE = neodymium or samarium), which has a framework of bismuth–bismuth bonds (purple). The fragment of the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) heating curve (red) shows an anomaly that may have inhibited discovery.
Found: New Bismuth Compounds in Well-Known Systems of Two Elements
Scientists discover an unexpected source of new materials, with potential for energy applications.
June 11, 2019
Shifting the magnetic field relative to the textured surface (left) reconfigures the fluid surface (graded orange indicates relative height; darkest areas are macroscale features).
Flowing for Function
A flowing magnetically responsive liquid seamlessly regulates the shape and properties of solids, letting them perform an array of jobs.
May 30, 2019
A boron-containing phase (borophene) (dark blue) is shown on a copper substrate. The inset (top right) illustrates a diffraction pattern (of the area marked by the white square inside the borophene domain) that confirms it’s a new phase.
Raised on Copper: A New Material for Tougher Devices
Discovery of new boron-containing phase opens the door for resilient flexible electronics.
May 30, 2019
This image shows a rendering (gray and pink) of the molecular structure of a peptoid polymer that was studied by a team led by Berkeley Lab and University of California, Berkeley.
Bringing Plastic’s Building Blocks into Atomic-Scale Focus
Researchers capture detailed images of polymers, using electron-based imaging and computer simulations.
May 30, 2019
Neutron diffuse scattering of relaxor ferroelectrics helped scientists see that the well-known “butterfly” diffuse scattering isn’t symmetrical; the scattering intensity doesn’t correlate with the material’s ability to return to its equilibrium state.
New Insights into a Long-Standing Debate About Materials that Turn Motion into Electricity
Detailed view of atoms opens doors for new designs to convert atomic displacements to electrical energy.
May 30, 2019
Optical images of sodium deposited from an electrolyte as electrical current of 1 mA/cm2 (seeded with blue particles for visualizing the associated flow of electrolyte).
Weighty Polymers Impact Battery Stability and Safety
Materials prevent battery failure by inhibiting tree-like growths.