BES Highlights

You are here

April 8, 2019
Researchers created a 3D atomic map that offers a highly detailed view of how rust (shown here) forms.
Atomic Maps Reveal How Iron Rusts
Scientists discovered how iron atoms continually re-arrange on surfaces, offering insights into metal corrosion and soil remediation.
April 8, 2019
Three-dimensional maps of a single magnetite crystal show morphology (top) and cross-sectional views (bottom) of the internal strain fields, both before (left) and after (right) oxidative dissolution of the crystal in an acidic aqueous solution.
Strain and Defects Grow in Tiny Magnetite Crystals When Oxidized
Detailed 3D images show how nanoparticles change in reactions that purify contaminated water or power recyclable geochemical batteries.
April 8, 2019
Researchers compared the structures of four centers in photosynthesis electron transfer: the Heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC; green), the purple bacterial reaction center (PbRC, red), and Photosystem I (PSI, blue) and Photosystem II (PSII, yellow).
A New View on a Very Old Problem: Evolution of the Photochemical Reaction Centers
Researchers offer insights into how a key piece of photosynthetic machinery changed over 3 billion years.
March 21, 2019
The nitrogenase enzyme couples the energy-releasing formation of hydrogen (H2) (reductive elimination) to the energy-requiring cleavage of the triple bond in nitrogen (N2) (oxidative addition) (bottom, center).
How Does Mother Nature Tackle the Tough Triple Bond Found in Nitrogen?
Researchers demystify how the nitrogenase enzyme breaks bonds to learn a better way to make ammonia.
March 21, 2019
Scientists determined that the structure of the Heliobacterium photosystem is more symmetrical than more recently evolved photosystems. They used advanced X-ray crystallography to determine fine details of the proteins in the photosystem.
A Detailed View of the Ancestor of Photosynthesis
The symmetrical light-gathering, energy-producing complex offers insights into how modern photosystems evolved.
March 14, 2019
New geochemical research clearly shows how toxic material like uranium binds with iron-bearing minerals like hematite in the soil, allowing scientists to predict long-term behavior.
Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole: The Surprising Structure of Uranium Bound in Hematite
An atomic view of how toxic uranium binds to iron minerals in the environment enables better predictions of its behavior.
March 8, 2019
Scientists identified three different types of water molecules surrounding a heavy, anionic metal-chloride complex (bottom) using spectroscopy (top) at an air/water interface.
Unique Interface and Unexpected Behavior Help Explain How Heavy Metals Act
Three types of water molecules form around a platinum-based ion, offering insights for waste processing and metal refining.
March 4, 2019
Studies of a modified small flowering plant show that plants defending themselves against insect attack grow more slowly & produce fewer flowers (right). When not defending themselves, plants grow faster & produce more flowers (left)—and ultimately seeds.
To Grow or Not to Grow? That Is the Question for Plants
Scientists show metabolic tradeoffs result from a specific change to the grow-defend balance.
March 4, 2019
The trihydrogen cation, H3 , plays a major role in interstellar chemistry where it facilitates the formation of water and organic molecules. Researchers have discovered how the cation forms when organic molecules are excited by an intense laser pulse.
Forming the Ion that Made the Universe
Research offers details on the chemistry of the trihydrogen ion.
March 1, 2019
Cryo-soft X-ray tomography of an algal cell shows the large accumulation of fat (yellow). Nucleus, purple; chloroplast, green; mitochondria, red; lipid bodies, yellow.
Feeding Sugars to Algae Makes Them Fat
Adding glucose to a green microalga culture induces accumulation of fatty acids and other valuable bioproducts.
March 1, 2019
The separation of lithium fluoride (Li and F) ion pairs involves two stages: (1) an increase of the water coordination about the contact ion pairs, CIP to CIP* and (2) spatial separation of the CIP* to solvent-separated ion pairs, SSIP*.
Water: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way
Elegant theory shows how water helps separate ions involved in material synthesis and manufacturing.
March 1, 2019
Scientists study coherence in the ultrafast collective motions of atoms in molecules. Why? Research suggests function can be enhanced by coherence.
Seeing Coherent Patterns at the Microscopic Scale
Review highlights insights into coherence, which could help overcome roadblocks in next-generation energy systems.
March 1, 2019
Novel colloidal quantum dots are formed from an emitting cadmium selenium (CdSe) core (red) enclosed into a shell (green). The core is compressed (lines) more strongly perpendicular to the crystal axis than along it.
Squeezed Quantum Dots Produce More Stable Light
Exploiting a strain-engineering approach could provide nanoscale light sources with a nonfluctuating emission wavelength.
March 1, 2019
At the interface, water slows the dissociation of chloride and sodium ions.
Ions on the Edge
Ions at the edge of water, exposed to air, don’t separate like they do when surrounded by water, offering insights for desalination and corrosion.
February 26, 2019
Composite images of 16 radiographs of 11-week-old poplar seedling in sand (top). The intensity indicates water content (bottom).
Get to the Root: Tiny Poplar Roots Extract More Water than Their Larger Counterparts after Drought
Researchers link root water uptake to root traits and assess (poor) performance of common models.
February 19, 2019
Researchers used a novel transverse configuration to compress a silicon target with an optical laser (green). X-ray diffraction patterns are collected in transmission on Cornell–SLAC Pixel Array Detectors.
Silicon and a State of Shock
A novel experimental geometry at the Linac Coherent Light Source reveals how silicon responds to shocks similar to those in a planet's core.
February 11, 2019
X-ray beam induces photo-ejection of an electron from (left) hydrogen and (right) helium.
Measuring the Impossible: X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Hydrogen and Helium
Two most abundant elements in the universe, hydrogen & helium, were previously thought to be impossible to measure by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
February 11, 2019
Researchers collected X-ray images from rock samples (left) showing the element distribution. The chemical maps (right) reveal fine-scale chemical and mineralogical variations that weren’t captured in previously published analyses.
Early “Fossils” Formed by Tectonics, not Life
The 3.7-billion-year-old structures were considered the first evidence for life on the planet; new evidence suggests differently.
February 11, 2019
A scanning electron microscope image of a single-crystal diamond cantilever. This tiny device allows scientists to exert control over a quantum system (μm = micrometers).
Taking Diamond Qubits for a Spin
Scientists use implanted silicon ions & electricity to increase the spin time of quantum bits, moving closer to the tech needed for quantum networks.
February 11, 2019
The drawing shows the prospective activation of a nitrogen molecule (blue spheres) held in the middle of the catalyst. Light is harvested (red) and electrons migrate (blue arrows) to ultimately make the nitrogen receptive to bonding with hydrogen.
How Sunlight Energizes Electrons to Break Nitrogen and Form Ammonia
Molybdenum-based complex harvests light to make inert nitrogen gas reactive to potentially become part of fertilizer.
February 11, 2019
Researchers uncovered the secret behind designing better-performing electrode surfaces (electrocatalysts). The power density curves show the newly designed catalyst (red curve) outperforms a similar catalyst that is not optimized.
Newly Discovered Design Rules Lead to Better Fuel Cell Catalyst
Optimized oxides made from common metals use less energy and show the potential of new design approach.
February 11, 2019
New pictures of Photosystem II show different ways the protein complex shifts and stretches as it splits water. This image shows the water-oxidizing complex in the last stable state before the water splits.
Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis
Scientists catch details with atomic resolution, potentially helping design systems to use sunlight and water to produce fuels.
February 10, 2019
The surrounding tetrahydrofuran solvent deforms the bonding electron density around a sodium solute. The sodium cores are blue spheres; the valence electrons' density is represented as a transparent white surface.
Chemicals Can Change Their Identity, Thanks to the Liquids Where They Reside
Far from being a mere spectator, solvents can play a larger role in chemical reactions, likely including those used in energy storage and biology.
February 10, 2019
Scientists use high-level computational chemistry methods to predict reactions involved in purifying water. Researchers compared five computational methods to determine the benefits and limitations of each in studying purification-based reactions.
How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water
Scientists determine the accuracy of computational methods used to study the sulfate radical approach to purifying water.
February 9, 2019
Scientists are showing how energy moves (green) or doesn’t (red) along nanoparticle chains. The artwork appeared on the cover of the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.
Too Close for Comfort: Nanoparticles Need Some Space to Transfer Energy
Particle crowding interferes with moving energy efficiently along promising molecular chains.